Germany's Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) has awarded two major honors, including one to Markus Steilemann, CEO of global materials firm Covestro AG.
Steilemann recently received the 2020 Georg Menges Prize. The award is presented every two years by the Sponsors' Association of IKV in Industry and Craft at RWTH Aachen University, the Plastics and Rubber section of Germany's Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) and PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V. It acknowledges the achievement of individuals or groups who have contributed to the transfer of research to industrial practice in plastics technology.
Steilemann has been a management board member for Covestro since 2015 and joined Covestro predecessor Bayer Group in 1999. From 2016, he also headed the firm's polyurethanes segment. In 2017, he took over responsibility for innovation, marketing and sales as chief commercial officer. In 2018, he succeeded Patrick Thomas as Covestro's CEO.
Christian Hopmann, head of IKV and managing director of the IKV Sponsors' Association, awarded the prize to Steilemann on Aug. 27. Hopmann emphasized the future-looking commitment shown by Steilemann and Covestro for the sustainability of plastic.
"In [Steilemann and Covestro], research can call on a strong partner that is interested in fundamental principles, thinks out of the box, is perseverant and prepared to accept setbacks and also encourages the transfer of research into processes and products," Hopmann said in a speech at the time.
Steilemann added that as a former student of RWTH Aachen University, the prize "is a particular honor."
"The award strengthens us in our intention to drive further forward the fertile interplay of application-oriented research and science-based industry," he said. "And it shows that plastic is the material of choice for a sustainable future."
The Georg Menges Prize was first awarded in March 1999 to mark the 75th birthday of Georg Menges, who was head of IKV for many years. The donors continued to pursue Menges' central idea that research and industry belong together and that a constant exchange of information between science and industry is essential to innovation.