Breaking boundaries in biotechnology innovations

At Corbion, there are 200 scientists bringing what we hope will be significant breakthroughs to reality – across all fields of biotechnology. Our traditional innovation model meant these experts only had a responsibility to an individual business unit, either food, biochemicals, bioplastics, or our innovation platforms. Realignment had to happen, and here's how we did it.

Recently, we have discovered that by reassessing the way our teams work together, there is an opportunity to enhance our existing capabilities and break boundaries. We realized that isolating this knowledge within business units could mean we potentially miss out on opportunities or cause delays beneficial to innovations. For example, why couldn’t the fundamental technology we have pioneered for our meat preservation solutions unit be used to help manage the growth of microorganisms in biochemical products?

Multidisciplinary knowledge sharing

The start of 2017 ushered in a new way of working. After looking back at everything we have achieved to-date, we could clearly see where our scientific community includes world-leading experts. We identified 12 scientific and technological competencies: microbiology, enzymology and biochemistry, strain development, industrial microbiology, process development, process design, formulation technology, polymer technology, organic chemistry and catalysis, physical and colloid chemistry, analytical chemistry and data science.

By positioning our most senior scientific experts around these core strengths, we are encouraging the team to think beyond their individual responsibilities – unlocking ways in which our science could benefit other industries, too. This is also a way for us to help customers overcome their business challenges, by offering a fresh perspective.

Better together: a common vision

Now that we are clear where our strengths lie, we have been working to bolster our 12 scientific and technological competencies. Acquiring the assets of TerraVia, for example, has been instrumental in helping us achieve an even better understanding of algae ingredients. The model has also allowed us to improve our process and product development in tailored oils and fats production – and this is just the beginning.

By realigning our innovation approach, Corbion is in a better position to support customers and share knowledge more openly with other business units, as well as with the wider industry. It has also been instrumental in achieving company growth –helping to champion biotechnological advances worldwide.

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