Marion Lenoir is a chemical engineer graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris. After a PhD in materials sciences performed at CEA, she worked for 4 years as a process engineer at AREVA (formerly ORANO) on various fuel and nuclear waste treatment processes. At ERAMET Ideas since 2013, she started as a hydrometallurgical research engineer with a major activity in niobium extraction in the Maboumine downstream process before being responsible in 2016 for the collaborative projects development within the ERAMET Group and its innovation centre. Since July 2019, she has been at the head of the Open Innovation Department at Eramet Ideas. She also participates in several groups or organisations to defend ERAMET’s interests in the raw materials sector and is the vis-President of the Prometia Association.
- The winner of the first Eramet Open Innovation Challenge was announced at the PROMETIA Scientific Seminar last week. What pushed Eramet Ideas to launch this type of challenge?
For several years now, Eramet has decided to change its way of work to remain competitive in a very evolving sector (energy transition, digital transformation, increasing international competition…). We have realised that we need to quickly innovate and find sometimes breakthrough solutions to be the best performers in our fields of activities. To reach this objective, we are convinced that we cannot innovate alone and that we will generate more innovative ideas thanks to external stakeholders.
For this reason, Eramet Ideas has in recent years developed its collaborative projects’ portfolio and has created different partnerships on specific topics. The launch of this open innovation challenge is in line with this open innovation strategy and is a new way for us to always innovate and create new collaborations. We consider that this first challenge was a great success for us as we received very interesting ideas and we are finally starting a new collaboration with a university we have never worked with!
- Alexander Keller and Mark Hlawitschka from the University of Kaiserslautern are the lucky winners. How was their proposal different and what made them win?
The solution proposed by Alexander and Mark fulfills all our main industrial requirements. It is a solution easy to industrialise and does not introduce new safety constraints. Moreover, this solution proposes the recycling of the main reagent used which is a really good point in terms of environmental impact and limits the operational costs.
- After the success of this first challenge, are you planning a second one soon?
We are indeed discussing internally to choose the subject of our next open innovation challenge which I hope will be launched at the beginning of 2020, so stay tuned!
Furthermore, as showed during the PROMETIA seminar, we have also launched a specific challenge dedicated to PhD students in order to award the best young scientist in extractive metallurgy. This challenge is an opportunity for Eramet to support the young generation and find new talents to employ, and also to discover new entities or laboratories to work with. Do not hesitate to inform PROMETIA PhD students about this initiative!