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ISC group profile

Mission statement

To discover and develop new sustainable materials from biomass or CO2 with large-scale application potential - able to compete on cost and performance and with an improved “sustainability footprint”.


The main ISC team (monomer and polymer research) is located within one of the (industrial) research laboratories of Avantium. It is based on the second floor of building 408 (Matrix VI), next to the UvA buildings at Amsterdam Science Park. Other PhD students are working at Avantium’s Zekeringstraat labs (biorefining and textile recycling). The PhD students in these fields are working under the supervision of UvA and Avantium staff. Other research activities of the ISC group take place within the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences or in other UvA institutes such as the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics and the Psychology Research Institute.  

Principal investigators

ISC research is led by multiple UvA and Avantium PI’s:

  • Gert-Jan Gruter (industrial chemistry);
  • Robert-Jan van Putten (Avantium; organic chemistry, sugar chemistry, and polymer chemistry);
  • Bing Wang (Avantium; organic chemistry and polymer chemistry);
  • Gerard van Klink (Avantium; organic chemistry and catalysis; biorefining and textile recycling).

ISC PhD’s are also working in other groups and supervised by others such as

We work on processes for novel sustainable bulk chemicals from 'carbon above the ground', such as

  • chemicals from biomass, CO2; and
  • chemicals from chemically recycled waste polyesters (e.g., from textiles);

with a focus on

  • building blocks (monomers);
  • their polymer materials (synthesis); and
  • the development of applications in packaging (film, bottles), fibers and 3D printing (in-house).

We are developing several polyester polymer types (such as PLGA, PISOX, PEIT/PEIF, PISA, …) with a wide range of properties: high oxygen-, CO2- and moisture barrier, High Tg, soil- and marine degradability, slow ageing (developing ABS replacement for LEGO), mechanical properties, etc. 

Laboratory facilities

Our laboratories are located at the Science Park, building 408, and at Avantium headquarters at the Zekeringstraat in Amsterdam. In the Science Park building we have 400 m2 of state-of-the-art labs and offices for the Avantium electrochemistry group and the UvA/Avantium monomer-polymer research group. In this group we perform the synthesis, testing and characterisation of sustainable building blocks and polymer materials. In the Zekeringstraat labs we are working on biorefing, textile recycling and environmental plastics.


The ISC team is collaborating with several groups at the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, and at other science institutes within the faculty, such as the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics. In addition, ISC collaborates with other UvA faculties such as Social and Behavioural Sciences, other universities such as VU Amsterdam, and with national research institutes and NGO’s.

Industrial collaborations

We work closely with industry on several projects. Currently, we are collaborating with Avantium, LEGO, Wieland, Groenendijk, Modint, CuRe, van Oord and several consortia of European companies and research institutes, e.g. in Horizon 2020 projects on electrochemical conversion of CO2 to products (OCEAN) and lignocellulosic sugars to polyester monomers (IMPRESS).

Open-access publishing

All our research is published in international peer-reviewed journals. We publish our papers open-access. Group members are also encouraged to write semi-popular articles.

Vacancies and recruitment policy

We're always looking for outstanding scientific talent. All our PhD and postdoc vacancies are published online; if no vacancies are listed it means that no PhD or postdoc positions are available. MSc and BSc project students are welcome to apply by contacting one of the PIs.