Profile & expertise

Ghent university (UGent) is a leading European higher education institution for more than 200 years, and currently employs more than 8,000 people, offering state-of-the-art study programs that are grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields. The chemistry departments are the home of August Kekulé’s molecular structure of benzene, and currently encompass 20 dedicated research groups, forming an international community of more than 160 postdocs and PhD students. The department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry encompasses four dedicated polymer chemistry research groups, three synthesis research groups, and two analysis and structure determination research groups. The CSD on its side encompass research activities related to sustainability and circular economy and is used to collaborate with other academic research groups within and outside Ghent University.

As academic institution UGent has been involved in the discovery and implementation of dynamic covalent chemistries for use in organic polymer materials. UGent made breakthrough discoveries in this area that were published in high profile journals, and that have been the subject of patents for UGent. UGent is eager to push these enabling chemical technologies towards real industrial applications, and this project is a unique opportunity to achieve that. This will help valorize the fundamental research results but will also help to guide future research efforts of UGent towards more immediately industrially relevant applications.

Role in the Project

Ghent University (Belgium) is at the heart of the breakthrough in the development of new molecules for recyclable materials that must be adapted to polyurethane chemistries. Based on the in-house developed (and patented) dynamic covalent chemistry platforms and based on the experience with implementing different reactive building blocks in polymer materials, UG will scout and subsequently develop new covalent adaptable (CA) co-monomer structures that are compatible with PU chemistry enabling the development of recyclable PU-thermosets.

Additionally, UGent is involved in the project with its Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD), committed to interdisciplinary research on the social and political dimensions of environment and sustainability issues since 1995. For the CSD, the project is a unique opportunity to link technical outstanding outcomes with social and political dimensions, thus making the project anchored in the world.


Prof. Dr. Johan Winne

Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry

Tel. +32 9 264 44 61

Ghent University

Prof. Dr. Johan Winne

PhD Chemistry (organic chemistry), Assistant Professor at UGent since 2013, is heading the organic synthesis research group at the department of organic and macromolecular chemistry, today consisting of 7 PhD students active in small molecule synthesis and the design of new enabling organic reactions. He is co-author of more than 20 peer-reviewed papers in the last five years, published in reputed journals. He is inventor on two patents involving new chemistry platforms for use in dynamic macromolecular systems. He is/has been involved in multiple academic and industrial collaboration projects.

Prof. Dr. Filip Du Prez

PhD Chemistry (polymer chemistry and materials), Full Professor at UGent since 1999, is heading within the Centre of Macromolecular Chemistry (CMaC) the Polymer Chemistry Research group at the department of organic and macromolecular chemistry, today consisting of 12 PhD students and 7 Postdocs. The three main PCR research themes are: 1) ‘From polymer functionalization to absolute control’; 2) ‘Dynamic and self-healing polymeric materials’; 3) ‘Giving renewable polymers function(ality)’. His group is world-wide recognized to play a pioneering role in the development of novel chemical platforms in polymer science and to invent new generations of polymer-based materials. Recently, especially the development of triazolinedione chemistry platform in a polymer context and more recently also to vitrimer research, resulted not only in numerous international academic collaborations, but as well in a couple of bilateral industrial projects. This research resulted in 275 A1 publications (more than 7400 citations), more than 10 book chapters, 12 patent applications and more than 20 (inter)national awards for the PCR- co-workers in the last 5 years. He is promotor-coordinator of the UGent Chemtech valorisation consortium, including 2 business developers that takes care of the interface between chemistry research at UGent and the industry.

Dr. Bart Hommez

PhD Chemistry (polymer chemistry), IOF mandatory within the ChemTech valorization consortium at UGent since 2011. He worked for 10 years at Texaco/Chevron in R&D and marketing positions. He also worked for 2 years at the Innovation centre supporting SME’s to develop innovation strategies. Bart has acquired expertise in: business-to-business marketing: market introduction of new technologies, industrial market research; product development: planning and execution of product and application development projects. His expertise within the ChemTech team is mainly focused on the development of valorization strategies for polymer and materials chemistry.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Block

Dr. Thomas Block is professor ‘Sustainability & Governance’ at the Department of Political Sciences and director of the CSD (Centre for Sustainable Development), both part of Ghent University. His research focus is on transition governance, education on wicked issues, scenarios and future studies, sustainable cities and urban projects. CSD is an interdisciplinary research group founded in 1995 and committed to investigating the social and political dimensions of sustainability issues. The CSD team is used to collaborate with other academic research groups within and outside Ghent University. The last decade Thomas Block was promotor of several PhD students and more than 40 research projects and/or research networks. The CSD research lines ‘Sustainability transitions and system innovation’ and ‘Circular economy’ will prove highly relevant for WP5. Over the years, the idiom of socio-technical transitions has indeed proven to be a fruitful way for studying the entanglement of technologies, knowledge systems, social institutions, public policies, market structures and everyday practices and lifestyles. Within this research line, researchers bring in a sustainability transition approach and a STS perspective in interdisciplinary research on circular economy.

Dr. Lucas Stricker

PhD in Chemistry (Organic Chemistry), Postdoctoral Researcher in the Polymer Chemistry Research group of Prof. Filip Du Prez since 2019. He obtained his chemical education at the WWU Münster (Germany) under supervision of Prof. Dr. Bart Jan Ravoo including research stays at Trinity College Dublin (Prof. Thorfinnur Gunnlaugsson, Ireland) and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Prof. Itamar Willner, Israel). His doctoral research was focused on “Light-Responsive and Dynamic Supramolecular Systems and Materials”. Within the PUReSmart project his main objectives are the development/characterization of CAPU co-monomer structures and the corresponding polymer materials.

Kâmil Ünal

Kâmil Ünal started as PhD in Organic Synthesis research group under Prof. Johan Winne and joint PhD in Polymer Chemistry Research under Prof. Filip Du Prez in 2016 at Ghent University. He received his MSc in chemistry in 2014 at Boğaziçi University in Turkey. Within the PUReSmart project he is mainly active in the explorative synthesis of CAPU co-monomers on lab scale; based on dynamic chemistries