Maastricht University nominated twice for the Prins Friso Ingenieursprijs

Kim Ragaert, Professor of Circular Plastics at Maastricht University, is one of three candidates for the Prins Friso Ingenieursprijs 2024. The same goes for the SublimStone student team. As finalists, they have a serious chance of being awarded the title of Engineer or Student Team of the Year by the Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers.

Ragaert works in the Circular Chemical Engineering research group at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, where she seeks new and essential insights into polymer engineering and material science. Ragaert is a true pioneer in plastic recycling. She is co-developing the first factory that will convert plastics from post-household waste into high-quality new plastic films (from a technological standpoint, these plastics are the most difficult to recycle due to the mixed and dirty composition of post-household waste). Ragaert is also co-founder of Brightlands Circular Space, a unique institute in Europe that will bring together research and development on the entire chain of plastics recycling, from consumers who separate plastics from their waste to products made of these recycled plastics. Ragaert designed the majority of the machinery for the institute, which will determine the future of plastics in a circular society.


The SublimeStone team, which has previously received international honours, is made up of students from three different study programmes: Maastricht Science Programme, Systems Biology, and University College Maastricht. They taught microorganisms to fill gaps in limestone with calcium carbonate. In Maastricht, limestone was a prevalent construction material, particularly for monumental structures. Climate change and pollution both have an impact on the material with gaps as a result. In just eight months, the students sought and discovered a unique and sustainable solution to this challenge.


Both Ragaert and the student team ensure that their results make their way into our every-day practice. Consumers are already enjoying the results of Ragaert’s group’s scientific research when they purchase coffee machines or suitcases made of recycled plastic. SublimeStone will continue their research, so eventually their bacteria can indeed save limestone monuments. The quality of Ragaert’s and SublimeStone’s unique research led to their nomination for the Prins Friso Ingenieursprijs.

The Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers (KIVI) annually awards the Prins Friso Ingenieursprijs to an engineer and a student team who stand out in the areas of knowledge, innovative capability, societal effect, and entrepreneurship. The award is named after Prins Friso, the late mechanical and aeronautical engineer and brother of King Willem-Alexander. The winner will be announced at the Haagse Hogeschool on March 13th.

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