Innovation and chemistry

Chemistry: Key to the future

Chemistry is one of the sectors highlighted for priority investment in the Dutch top sectors policy, and it is a sector that Sittard-Geleen is particularly strong in. That strength is focused in Chemelot, one of the Netherlands' biggest facilities for chemical research and the chemical industry. It is made up of the Brightlands Chemelot Campus and Chemelot Industrial Park.

Brightlands Chemelot Campus: an extraordinary place

Brightlands Chemelot Campus is the leading centre in the Euregio for enterprise, teaching, and research in chemistry & materials. It is a location that attracts both industry and leading researchers as a place to work, and a place where students in the field are eager to come for their first professional projects. Development of the Brightlands Chemelot Campus continues at an impressive pace thanks to ongoing significant investment in research facilities, a capital fund for industry parties, a teaching programme, and ample property on which to expand. All this is intended to make the Brightlands Chemelot Campus an internationally important campus with a world-class name in open innovation.

Playing to needs

Brightlands Chemelot Campus is where enterprises and research institutions are developing the products and applications of the future. The world needs new and sustainable 'green' solutions like raw materials derived from renewable resources. Thanks to advances in the medical sciences, we can all look forward to living longer, but this also means increasing demand for products like new biomedical materials. These are needs in our society that Brightlands Chemelot Campus can answer. Its dedication to the principles of open innovation generates spin-offs that can get new products to the market faster.

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Jobs, today and for the future

New companies will emerge on Brightlands Chemelot Campus, and with them the jobs of the future. And the campus is also the place where people are learning to do those jobs right now. It is a wellspring of innovation in biotechnology and all related science fields. In the coming decade, Brightlands Chemelot Campus will generate hundreds of new jobs for knowledge workers and thousands of additional job opportunities through indirect employment.

Open Innovation Campus

Brightlands Chemelot Campus is an open innovation campus, where companies do the research that they carry forward into the development of new products. A big part of that development is the relationship with DSM (production, research, and development) and its focus on Performance Materials. This has already resulted in showpieces like Dyneema (the strongest and lightest fibre in the world) and Kephricoat (super-transparent film for solar cells). The 21 enterprises on Brightlands Chemelot Campus are driving advancements and supporting research in high-quality materials, biomedical materials, biobased materials, and biotechnology and are active in education, research, development, and production. DSM, SABIC, LANXESS Elastomers, PharmaCell, Avantium, Isobionics, and Basic Pharma are just a few of the leading names to be found here.

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The fruits of cooperation

The campus is also the home base for several knowledge institutions. The importance of cooperation between industry parties and knowledge institutions in the development of new products and applications cannot be overstated. As Brightlands Chemelot Campus continues to develop, its partnerships with the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus also grow more fundamental and intense, and this is enhancing the cooperation between industry (on Chemelot) and research (Maastricht University/University Medical Center+).

A campus of national importance

The Dutch government has designated Brightlands Chemelot Campus as a campus of national importance that is currently in a growth phase. This is hardly surprising when you consider that it is home to a major knowledge generator, it is a leading proponent of the principles of open innovation, it is a beehive of commercial activity, and the campus is supported by the national top sector policy. As the south-east is being transformed into Brainport 2020, one of the economic drivers of the Netherlands, it already accounts for 55% of the patents, 45% of private R&D investment, and 35% of Dutch exports. Under the government's vision, the region must become one of the top three regions for innovation in Europe by 2020, and the development of the campus is an important part of achieving this vision.

Chemelot Industrial Park

Chemelot also includes the Industrial Park, a total of more than 800 hectares around the intersection of the A2 and A76 motorways in Geleen, and an area that also includes the port in Stein. Today Chemelot Industrial Park is home to some 70 companies. The big site users accounting for most of the capacity of the large chemical installations are SABIC, OCI Nitrogen, DSM, LANXESS Elastomers, LVM-INEOS Chlorvinyls, Sekisui S-Lec, Borealis, Polyscope Polymers, QCP, and EdeA. They rely in part on the support services of companies like Sitech Services, Intertek Polyscope, ProfCore, DB Schenker, Mammoet, Van Gansewinkel, AAFM Facility Management, Sodexo, Cofely, and Stork. A total of nearly five thousand people work at Chemelot Industrial Park, and the Chemelot site also receives some 1,500 visitors daily.


Brightlands Chemelot Campus: Facts & Figures

  • Consists of 21 companies and institutes active in education, research, development, and production
  • Ambitious development programme
  • 200 new patents per year
  • 1500 knowledge workers in 2015

Chemelot Industrial Park: Facts & Figures

  • 800 hectares Over 70 companies, many of them international
  • 4800 employees,
  • 1500 visitors daily
  • Connections by road, water, rail, and air

Brightlands Materials Center

The Brightlands Materials Center was founded in 2015 by TNO and the Province of Limburg. It’s an international research and development center, located at Brightlands Chemelot Campus. The partners invest 45 million euros in the center. The Brightlands Materials Center brings top scientists and industry professionals together to develop sustainable, breakthrough materials and application technologies that will change the market. Areas of research include additive manufacturing (3D printing), opto-electronics, lightweight automotive, recycling, energy storage and conversion, and sustainable packaging. For more information:  

Chemistry: key to the future

Chemistry is an important sector for Sittard-Geleen and one of the sectors highlighted for priority investment in the Dutch top sectors policy. Brightlands Chemelot Campus is the leading centre in the Euregio for enterprise, teaching, and research in chemistry and materials. Brightlands Chemelot Campus is home to a number of knowledge institutions for teaching and research in the sciences, chemistry, and biobased materials.

  • Chemelot Innovation and Learning Labs (CHILL)
  • Maastricht Science Programme
  • Aachen Maastricht Institute for biobased materials (AMIBM)

Click here for more information about teaching and research on Brightlands Chemelot Campus