Dr. Heli Kangas studied Forest Products Chemistry in Helsinki University of Technology, nowadays known as Aalto University, in Espoo, Finland. She completed her Master of Science studies in 2000 and started her career in R&D working for a private research organisation, KCL, which was owned by the Finnish Pulp and Paper companies. While working as a Research Engineer at KCL, she also pursued her Doctoral studies and received her Doctoral degree in 2007. The topic of her thesis was “Surface chemical properties of mechanical pulps, fibers and fines”. During her career at KCL, she worked with various P&P related topics covering most of the value chain of wood processing, from pulping processes to printing and fiber-based products. She also had her first experiences in project management. Upon joining VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd., in 2010, she became involved in research on cellulose nanomaterials. Her research interest related to these materials have included their manufacturing, especially with chemo-enzymatic means, as well as characterisation, EHS considerations and various application, with focus on films and coatings for packaging purposes. She currently acts as an expert in ISO TC229 (Nanotechnologies) JWG2 and as a member in the “Safe application of nanotechnology” contact person network, coordinated by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland.
She currently holds a position of Technology Manager for research area Biomass processing and products at VTT. She is responsible for the research area’s technology platform and IPR management and her technology portfolio includes VTT technologies in the fields of biomass fractionation and treatment, biomass side-stream (e.g. lignin, bark) valorisation, cellulose nanomaterial manufacturing and products and additive manufacturing (3D printing) of bio-based materials. In addition to this role, she is also involved in project management and coordination; she currently coordinates EU H2020 SPIRE project NOVUM (Pilot line based on novel manufacturing technologies for cellulose-based electrical insulation components, 2017-2021) and acts as Technical Manager and VTT project manager of EU BBI project BIOSWITCH (Encouraging Brand Owners to Switch-to-Bio-Based in highly innovative ecosystems, 2020-2022).
She participated in her first TAPPI International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials in 2012 and has been an enthusiastic member of the Nano Community ever since. In 2015 she became a member of the NanoDivision Research Committee and has acted as the vice-chair of the EHS sub-committee since 2016. She participated in organising the 2019 TAPPI Nano Conference as Technical co-chair, the 2020 TAPPI Nano virtual conference and will be the Co-chair of the up-coming TAPPI Nano Conference in 2021 in Helsinki!
Her plans as the Chair of the NanoDivision include (but are not limited to) making sure that everyone feels at home within the Nano Community, increasing the student involvement and promoting their networking opportunities and growing the number of end users involved in the Community. You are most welcome to share your ideas and thoughts!