BASF Senior Vice President, Dr. Josef R. Wuensch elected new Chairman of the SusChem Board


Dr. Josef R. Wuensch, Senior Vice President R&D Performance Materials at BASF, will be the new Chairman of SusChem, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry. This was announced during the Board meeting in November 2020. As of January 1st, 2021, he succeeds Dr. Markus Steilemann, CEO of Covestro, who held the Chairman position since October 2017.

Dr. Wuensch will lead the Board in managing SusChem’s initiatives and strategies. It is a crucial moment for the EU, with the European Green Deal leading its policy priorities. This flagship initiative will challenge and change the EU’s economy and society to become more sustainable and inclusive. Research and innovation in sustainable technologies and future materials will play a leading role in turning this challenge into opportunities for Europe. Indeed, many of the key initiatives under the Green Deal can rely on Sustainable Chemistry and Industrial Biotechnology. This is reflected in SusChem’s Sustainable Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) launched in November 2019.

"We are all experiencing difficult and unprecedent times with the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health and economic impacts driven by this crisis. Meanwhile,  climate change and environmental pollution remain as critical issues. Innovation in sustainable solutions and game-changing technologies, have demonstrated – already in the past -that it is possible to transform our industry and society for better. To address today’s challenges, we need to combine the EU Green Deal with a highly ambitious innovation agenda toidentify further opportunities and boost innovation based on responsible and advanced research and partnerships. That’s what SusChem is about, a forum that brings together different stakeholders, being industry, academia, policy makers and the broader society, to contribute to initiatives that will offer sustainable solutions to our big challenges. I am honored to lead and pursue this SusChem mission jointly with my fellow board members”, said Josef R. Wuensch.

SusChem thanks Dr. Markus Steilemann for his outstanding work over the past three years. Under Steilemann’s leadership, SusChem worked together with key stakeholders and the European Commission towards shaping the new EU Framework Programme Horizon Europe. This ambitious research and innovation programme will succeed Horizon 2020. It aims to leverage national public and private investment to foster and deploy new technologies and sustainable solutions to global challenges across Europe and worldwide.

Under Dr. Steilemann’s direction, the number of National Technology Platforms (NTPs) has increased from 14 to 17, connecting more national and regional sustainable chemistry initiatives. He also supported the creation of the new Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) together with different stakeholders across the innovation ecosystem. The SIRA focuses on technology priorities towards 2030, including advanced materials, advanced processes and enabling digital technologies which play a crucial role for advancing the Circular Economy and Sustainability of Industry in Europe.

More about Josef R. Wuensch

Dr. Wuensch’s expertise at BASF covers global research and product development for performance materials  based on ‘thermoplastic’, ‘duroplastic’ and biobased / biodegradeable materials. Prior to his current Senior Vice President role, Dr. Wuensch held several leadership positions in research& innovation including responsibility as Managing Director of BASF Venture Capital. He is also experienced in business management, technical services, market development, and corporate functions where he held several positions during his career at BASF.