Meet the Team
April 4, 2024

Nicole – Head of Technology Center in the Catalysts Team

Nicole officially joined the Catalysts team in 2018 as a Lab Manager, and is now Head of Technology Center, Microporous Materials. At Evonik she feels supported, seen and heard. 

What brought you to Evonik Catalysts?

Even as a child I was interested in natural science. My parents gave me a microscope when I was a kid and I looked at everything. I remember once putting my lunch box by the window to see how mould grew on it. Watching the mould grow and looking at it through the microscope was fascinating to me, much to my mother's delight.  

Coming from an area in which employment was largely in the chemical industry, the mitteldeutsches Chemiedreieck, chemistry has always been a part of my life – my grandfather, father and aunt all worked in the chemical industry. 

In school, we did fascinating experiments; in biology class, we learned that mitochondria - the powerhouse of the cell - are essential to life. There is a lot of chemistry going on inside these little powerhouses. For me, chemistry became even more tangible. 

During my Masters in Chemistry, I discovered my preference for application close chemistry, and I focused on chemical technology. After completing my PhD in heterogeneous catalysis, I became a group leader at the Institute of Chemical Technology, at the Universität Leipzig, focusing on the development of catalytic materials for sustainable processes – in particular, for the conversion of renewable resources.  

In 2014, I met one of my current colleagues at a conference. We got to talking and exchanged ideas about my research topics. That same year, I was able to present my research to Evonik and a few years later I was hired as a consultant. Thanks to this, I saw many new perspectives of industrial research. 

Then in 2018, I joined Evonik as a Lab Manager, moving from Leipzig to Hanau. If you’d told me that 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.  

Could you tell us about what your current role involves?

My team and I develop materials for new and already existing processes. We make an important contribution to catalysis in the field of sustainability and live the strategy for the future. Of course, there are also administrative activities, such as compliance and people management, which I really enjoy. My responsibilities also include production transfer, production support and quality management – but a lot of my time is spent in our innovation areas.

What do you like about your role as Head of Technology Center?

I love everything about it! It gives me great pleasure to be able to develop my employees and shape the team. Everyone counts! We are international and diverse; everyone has a voice. There’s a real sense of togetherness. For me, leadership also means that I'm on an equal footing with my employees and management, and that I help where I'm needed. 

I’m proud to be part of the Catalysts family. In my team, we often work very scientifically and develop complex topics. It’s important for me to do research towards sustainability. I see the sustainable transformation as a great opportunity for the chemical industry. 

I also appreciate the trust placed in me. I can develop freely and set my priorities in line with the strategy. As a manager and mother of a small son, I also appreciate the flexibility of working hours throughout the day and being able to work remotely. Especially as my job requires a lot of deep thinking, this flexibility is an added value. 

Job title Head of technology center 

Based Hanau-Wolfgang, Germany

Division/Function Smart Materials 

Joined Evonik 2018 

Education Master’s degree in chemistry