Pierre is a research and development intern in the Catalysis unit of our Smart Materials division – with his next step being a PhD! On-site in Hanau over the summer, he’s been #PartofSomethingSpecial – talking about the meaningful work he does, the team he’s been supported by, and, of course… the great canteen.
Could you tell us about your current role at Evonik and what brought you to this position?
I'm doing research in a potential growth area. It's exploratory and forward-looking. Specifically, I’m currently working on the development of a catalyst for biomass valorization. This is a very timely topic that’s important to me — I’m helping to promote new avenues for bio-resources.
I knew during my studies that I wanted to work in research and development. At Evonik Catalysts, I have the opportunity to work in research, development, and innovation. This is exactly what I had in mind.
In general, I can divide my work into three parts — reading literature and research; experimenting; downstream analysis and data processing.
I first became aware of Evonik through a guest lecture at my university. I heard Florence, a Catalysts employee, give a presentation on catalyst regeneration. That made me curious about the company. I started looking for contacts in the catalyst industry and eventually met my current supervisor.
What do you like most about your job?
What I like most is the atmosphere in the lab. I have an example of this. We couldn't do any analysis for a few days because our chromatograph was broken. So, we sat there for days trying to fix the chromatograph, and a couple of times we felt like we did it, until we actually did it.
That "we" feeling — the community of working on something, even if it doesn't work right away or there are setbacks — the mood is always good. I always like to come to work, and we are always in a good mood.
For me, it's more than just the work. It's the people I spend the day with. I get up every day happy because I know I'm going to have another good day — even if there are problems to overcome.
What does it mean to you to be part of the Evonik family?
I feel respected and supported by my colleagues and my supervisor. I've been working for Evonik for a few months, and from the very beginning I've always been able to contribute my ideas; I'm asked and listened to – that makes me proud.
What project or achievement during your time at Evonik are you particularly proud of?
I repaired the chromatograph myself. That fills me with pride. You don't learn that at university.
I also think it's great when I come up with ideas that save time, for example through a streamlined process or through Evonik's good equipment (parallel reactors, for example). That's really great. I'm also happy that my project is producing good results.
I would like to emphasize:
- Great introduction
- Nice colleagues
- Interesting and meaningful work
- Great canteen
- Room for initiative
Oh, and I can cycle to work. It’s 12-14 km (dependent on the route) and on my way to work I see deer, rabbits and storks – it’s great. Evonik promotes this green mobility by providing employees with bike access to the site, parking spaces, and showers.