Keynote Speakers

Prof. Jörg Müssig - City University of Applied Sciences Bremen

Product development with natural fibres: from function in nature to technical applications


Since 2007 Jörg Müssig is Professor at the Bremen University of Applied Sciences. He obtained his degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Duisburg (1995) and his doctorate from Bremen University (2001). After graduating, he joined the Faserinstitut Bremen (FIBRE) in 1995. From 1996 until 1998 he was a member of the ‘New materials’ working group of the European Academy Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. In 1998 he joined the Bremen University (Material Sciences) and rejoined the FIBRE in 2001, where he was head of the department ‘Bio-based Materials’ till 2007. From 2004 till 2009 he was an appointed member of The Young Academy, Berlin. In 2020, he received an Erskine Fellowship from the University of Canterbury (UC), School of Product Design, Christchurch, NZ. In the same year, he and his research group were awarded second place in the Bremen University Prize 2020 for excellent teaching, worth 15,000 euros.

His current research focuses on developing concepts for sustainable materials, biomimetic composites, natural fibres & natural fibre-reinforced composites, and interfaces in composites.

List of publications:
Contact: -


Pr Aart Van Vuure - KULeuven

Strategies to improve the durability of bio-composites in moist or wet environments


Aart van Vuure is professor in the Department of Materials Engineering of KU Leuven, Belgium. He specializes in sustainable composites, particularly in natural fibres for polymer composites. In this domain he focuses on durability aspects of bio-composites and the study of fibre-matrix interfaces.

He obtained his Chemical Engineering degree at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and his PhD in Materials Engineering at KU Leuven in 1997, about sandwich-fabric composites. He subsequently worked at a small composites company in Philadelphia, USA and for 5.5 years at Unilever Research in Port Sunlight, UK as research scientist on materials for hair care products. From 2005 till 2012 he worked for both KU Leuven and for Sirris, a Belgian technology centre, as an advisor on composite materials. In 2012 he joined the new faculty of Engineering Technology of KU Leuven.

List of publications:
Contact: aartwillem.vanvuure@kuleuven.bet


Dr Jeanne Blanchard and Dr James IR Blake - University of Southampton

The challenges for marine biocomposites – a perspective


Jeanne Blanchard is a Research Fellow within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton. She graduated from the University of Southampton with an MEng (Hons) in Ship Science in 2013. After this she completed a PhD in the Maritime Engineering group at Southampton on the feasibility of natural fibre reinforced composites for structural applications, including multiscale experiments and design of a flax and E-glass structures of equivalent reliability. On completion of her PhD she was awarded the EPSRC doctoral prize which is “used to retain and recruit the best PhD students … to increase the impact of their PhD, and to improve retention of the very best students in research careers” which allowed her to develop independent research on sustainable composites, including the use of optimisation methods to determine which material combinations allow for sustainable sandwich structures that meet design rules. She is now using these skills to introduce sustainable composites into spacecraft and commercial vehicles while simultaneously improving their manufacturability.

List of publications:

James Blake is an Associate Professor in Ship Science and Maritime Engineering Science in High Performance Craft and Marine Safety & Environmental Engineering at the University of Southampton. He graduated in 1993 with a first class degree in Ship Science at the University of Southampton and received a scholarship to study for a Master of Science in Maritime Engineering Science before embarking on his doctoral research in the prediction of motions of high speed planing craft. In 2000, James was awarded his doctorate and became a research fellow at the University investigating composite structural performance and high speed craft performance. He has worked as a design engineer for Halyard Marine and Industrial (marine anti-noise and vibration equipment), as a naval architect for Vosper Thorneycroft (vessel intact and damaged stability) and for BMT Seatech (structural monitoring). James serves the International Ship & Offshore Structures Congress and has represented the Specialist Committee for Yacht Design and currently sits on the Specialist Committee for Structural Longevity. He also sits on the EU InCROPS Biopolymers and Biocomposites Working Group advising on the use of bio-derived materials for marine use. He is a Member of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

List of publications: 



Ms. Rachel Moreau, Ocean as Common - One Step Ahead

Models and paradigms to shape our oceans’ future: from eco-practices to eco-citizenship, through life cycle, circular economy and other challenges - what place for eco-innovation ?


Trained as an international lawyer, Rachel Moreau specialized twenty years ago in nautical and sustainable development issues. She has worked notably for the UN International Maritime Organization, the French Federation for Nautical Industries and Tara Oceans’ expedition. In 2018, she launched with the IMOCA Class and other personalities the "Ocean As Common" campaign for the recognition of the ocean as a common good of humanity. She currently manages the Program “Eco-sailing within a protected marine area” together with the Archipel Institute (UBS) et the French National Office for Biodiversity (OFB) and is Collections’ Director for Voiles et Voiliers publishing.


Last publication: “Naviguez écologique” - Editions Vagnon, 2019.

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