Dr.-Ing. Janina Overbeck

Head of Corporate Research Process Development, 3M Deutschland GmbH

I never really intended to choose plastics technology as my specialist subject. For me, plastics were nothing more than those nasty plastic bags that were making jute bags redundant and making life very difficult for fish, or simply the cheap substitute whenever a high-grade material is too expensive. In 2004, after obtaining my intermediate diploma in Bochum, I therefore moved to RWTH Aachen University with the plan to specialise in energy technology for renewable types of energy. A friend then registered me for the IKV excursion to the K Plastics Fair in Düsseldorf and, after spending a very interesting day there, I became fascinated by this high-tech material and the wide variety of potential openings for plastics engineers. As a direct result of this, I switched to IKV, initially as a student worker, and later as a scientific assistant.

I am still benefitting today from the practical experience I gained there and what I learned about coordinating research projects. At the same time, I was able to build up a very valuable inter-industry network through the close exchange with industry that is encouraged at the Institute.

With the desire to drive innovation in plastics technology, I decided to take a job as a process developer in the Central Research department of 3M. What fascinates me about my job is the study of the unique properties of new products – for so many different applications, for example in the office, home, automotive industry, electronics, telecommunications, medical technology and space travel. As the head of Process Development in the laboratory, I am working on the strategic alignment of production technologies for the future and analysing short and long-term market trends to drive the right technologies forward.