R&D Teamleader/Projectmanager ‘Adjacent Business Development’

Sappi Europe Maastricht 40 uur U kunt solliciteren


Sappi is a worldwide diversified wood fiber group, focused on dissolving wood pulp, paper based solutions and high quality functional biomaterials. Production facilities are located on 3 continents with sales activities in more than 150 countries. Sappi uses her global leading position and substantial investments in research and development (R&D) in coated graphical paper, special packaging material, dissolving wood pulp, and biorefinery-processes to anticipate growing global demand for functional high quality biomaterials.

Sustainability is not an add-on, but a deeply ingrained in the way Sappi manages its daily activities, mitigates risks, utilizes chances and plans for the future. Sappi has made itself responsible for its worldwide best practices in the field of sustainability by measuring, guarding and communicating its economical, social and environmental performance in a transparent way.

Sappi is continuously diversifying its product portfolio and is exploring new business opportunities in Packaging Specialties and in fields adjacent to its paper and paper pulp. One of the new business initiatives for example is ‘Symbio’ and it is the result of many years of continuous development of advanced technologies. The new bio-composite material combines high quality cellulose fibres from wood with polypropylene plastic.

Due to an internal promotion within Sappi, Equipe Direct Search is looking for a:

R&D Teamleader/Projectmanager ‘Adjacent Business Development’
A proactive R&D leader with a ‘can do’ mentality.


Leading developments of new breakthrough concepts in the adjacent fields of the paper industry is your main responsibility. You will operate in a fast paced and interdisciplinary environment, having to manage a broad range of responsibilities.

You will lead the ´adjacent business development´ R&D team consisting out of four direct reports (academics and laboratory technicians). The team has to be dynamic and focused on output, as the ongoing research contributes significantly to Sappi’s strategy and has to lead to new business opportunities. The complex development projects have to be tightly managed to make sure targets, planning and budget are met. You will also be partly involved in the operational activities of the research.

In this role, you work together with New Business Development, Manufacturing, Legal department, Suppliers and External Institutes. This role requires internal networking to secure effective transition of R&D projects into business operations. By establishing contacts with institutes (for example universities) and external companies, you are able to access information about new developments. Creating an extensive external network contributes to execute project work in an effective way. For example, when projects get into the pilot phase, you will have to select an external manufacturer and take care of the contract management in order to initiate pilot production runs. Also, in cooperation with the Legal department you will manage the intellectual property of the R&D projects.

Your team (4 fte) is part of the ‘New Development Competence Centre’ unit (18 fte) which in turn is part of the larger EU R&D department (55 fte). You report to the manager of the New Development Competence Centre. Likewise, you present the team’s research developments to higher management in a suitable way.


An academic degree in material science or (polymer/bio) chemistry is required. Experience with cellulose is a big pre. Furthermore, you have at least 5 years of experience in (Polymer/Packaging/Cellulose) Product Development and know how to set up and manage complex projects. Moreover, you have experience with leading a R&D team. As a person you are independent, flexible and proactive, resulting in the ability to identify and lead opportunities and responsibilities. You have an open and out of the box mindset, with an entrepreneurial ‘can do’ mentality. One would describe you as a problem solver and a team player.

In addition, you are a networker that builds relations with in- and external parties and you are able to effectively communicate technical ideas in (non) technical environments. The position requires to be proficient in English. Lastly, multi-day traveling on occasional basis is part of the job.


The culture of Sappi is open-minded and internationally oriented. It is a dynamic environment and you can make a difference in making this world more sustainable. The R&D breakthroughs of your team will be used to create new business initiatives such as the new Symbio product. The terms of employment correspond the level of this position, including 38 leave days.

Inlichtingen bij

Does this position spark your interest? We are inviting you to apply via the application button. For more information about this position you can contact Milo Gordijn (Consultant) on 06-82253832 or m.gordijn@equipe-bv.nl or Luc Theunissen (Sr. Consultant/Directeur) on 06-29085279 or l.theunissen@equipe-bv.nl.

You can also check the following websites for more information about Sappi: https://www.sappi.com/nl/symbio

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