Plenary Speakers

We are pleased to introduce the following speakers
Steven P. Armes

Prof. Steve Armes obtained his BSc degree in Chemistry from the University of Bristol in 1983 and received his PhD degree from the same institution in 1987. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, he accepted a lectureship at Sussex University in 1989 and was promoted to a personal chair in 2000. He moved to Sheffield in 2004 to become Professor of Polymer & Colloid Chemistry.

He is currently Director of the Sheffield Polymer Centre and also serves on the board of Farapack Polymers, a University spin-out company. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014 and became the first UK scientist to receive the DSM Materials Science Award in 2016. Since then, he has been awarded the 2017 ECIS-Solvay Prize, the 2018 RSC Macro Group Prize for outstanding achievement, the 2018 Royal Society Armourers and Brasiers' Company Prize, the 2020 RSC Soft Matter and Biophysical Chemistry Award, the 2020 SCI ‘Innovation in Formulation Award’ and the 2021 Sir Eric Rideal Lectureship (a lifetime achievement award). 

The title of Prof. Armes presentation is "Polymerisation-induced self-assembly".

Susanna Holappa

Susanna Holappa is a Senior Scientist in Kemira R&D. She obtained her PhD degree in Polymer chemistry from University of Helsinki in 2005. She continued in academic research in the Aalto University in the field of colloid chemistry in papermaking applications. Since 2010 she has been working for Kemira. Her expertise area is polymer and polyelectrolyte development for several applications utilizing polymers and polyelectrolytes.  

Kemira is a global leader in sustainable chemical solutions for water intensive industries. Kemira has strong market positions in the two segments where it operates, Pulp & Paper and Industry & Water. Kemira’s global R&D team, industry knowledge, scientific expertise, and innovation strategy are focused on helping the pulp & paper, water treatment and energy industries operate more efficiently and sustainably. 

The title of Susanna Holappa presentation is “Renewability and sustainability in traditional polyacrylamide applications”


Kirsi S. Mikkonen

Kirsi S. Mikkonen is Professor in Food Sciences. She teaches Food Technology at the University of Helsinki and leads the Food Materials Science research group ( The multidisciplinary research group contributes to developing a more sustainable food system. The group’s research interests include valorization of industrial side streams for food and packaging materials, focusing on wood and grain hemicelluloses, lignin, and fungal biomass. The group also studies vegetable shelf-life and develops active packaging materials to prevent food waste.


The title of Kirsi Mikkonen’s presentation is “Wood to food: lignin-derived functionalities of wood hemicelluloses”

Jukka Niskanen

Jukka Niskanen is an assistant professor at the School of Chemical Engineering at Aalto University whose interests lie in polymer synthesis and properties. He leads the group Polymer Synthesis Technology, which focuses on polymer synthesis, the chemical recycling of polymers and plastics, and bio-based materials. 

The group now concentrates on preparing bio-based polyesters and polyamides, while also investigating their chemical recycling into materials with equivalent properties to virgin materials. These bio-based materials are intended for use in everyday applications, such as textile fibers, coatings, and packaging materials. 

The title of Prof. Niskanen's presentation is "Plastics, biobased polymers, and chemical recycling".

Jiayin Yuan

Jiayin Yuan studied Chemistry at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 1998-2002. He moved to Germany and completed his master’s degree in 2004 and PhD degree in 2009. Next he joined the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Germany and led a research group before he was appointed as Associate Professor at Clarkson University, USA in 2017. In 2018 he landed in Stockholm University as a Wallenberg Academy Fellow and since 2019 he has been a full professor in Materials Chemistry with research expertise in functional polymers and carbon materials, covering basic research and applications in sustainable development. Since 2021 he has served as the Director of the Stockholm Material Hub ( He received the ERC Starting Grant in 2014 and Consolidator Grant in 2022.

The title of Prof. Yuan's presentation is "Poly(ionic liquid) nanostructures via polymerization induced self-assembly"

Bjørn Stokke

Dr Stokke is currently professor within Biophysics and Medical Technology at the Department of Physics, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway. His research is within biopolymer structure-function relationships in solution, in interactions and for their ability to form higher order (mesoscale) structures, hydrogels of biopolymers such as alginates and complex polysaccharides, integrating microfluidic based approaches in biopolymer research, and mechanobiology. The applied techniques includes both classical approaches such a rheology, SAXS and AFM for imaging and single-molecule force spectroscopy, as well as development and application of fiber-optic based high resolution technique for hydrogel swelling (e.g. to be used in biosensing), and custom designing microfluidic devices to support fabrication of hydrogel beads with tunable size and mechanical properties.

The title of Prof. Stokke presentation is "Biopolymer interactions and their exploitations: from single molecules to microdevice assisted hydrogel molding".

Jaakko Tuomainen

Jaakko Tuomainen is the manager of Borealis’ SPIRIT programme. Borealis is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced and sustainable polyolefin solutions, and the second biggest polyolefin producer in Europe. The SPIRIT RDI programme, funded by Business Finland, is building an ecosystem, which focuses on sustainable plastic industry transformation: new ways of producing and using the plastics are responding to the existing plastic challenges. 

The title of Jaakko Tuomainen presentation is “Carbon has higher value in materials than in incineration”.