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Solvay is proud to announce that Sylvaine Neveu is the winner of the Irène Joliot-Curie Prize in 2016 for her innovations in the field of energy saving tires

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Press release

Brussels, 14 September 2016 --- Solvay is proud to announce that Sylvaine Neveu, a researcher at the Research and Innovation entity in charge of the development of products and processes for the Group’s Global Business Unit Silica, won the Irène Joliot-Curie 2016 award. She was honored in the category "Woman, Research and Enterprise", granted by the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research and Airbus Group.

For more than twelve years, Sylvaine has managed key value projects for Solvay. The most emblematic is the one that led to the development of a new silica for low-energy pneumatic applications. In addition, she also operates a platform dedicated to the eco-friendly silica process, process created by Solvay. These projects are fully in line with the Group's sustainable development approach. Today, over 30% of the world’s tires are made with 'green' silica.

Another instrumental achievement of the winner of the Irène Joliot-Curie prize was that she achieved perfect gender parity in her team. When she was first appointed, her team comprised only 20% of women. 

"I am keen to share my knowledge and skills to promote the development of my team and of those who come to me for advice, without any discrimination. I hope to be a role model for other women in my career and also for men who still hesitate to promote women to management positions," said Sylvaine Neveu.


Sylvaine graduated from Chimie ParisTech and holds a PhD in Process Engineering from the Ecole des Mines de Paris. She joined Solvay in 1994. She authored 17 patent families and leads the department in charge of the development and industrialization of new silica products and processes. In this context, she is keen to promote diversity in line with the values of the Group. Since 2008, Sylvaine has been working on projects to reduce the energy footprint and water consumption in the production of Solvay silicas.

"We are very proud to have Sylvaine in our Silica business. Through her flawless professionalism and skills, she was able to bring innovation to a higher level with the help of her teams at Silica. This award is a true recognition of her scientific work and her outstanding leadership," said An Nuyttens, President of the Global Business Unit Silica Solvay.

The Irène Joliot-Curie award is intended to promote the role of women in research and technology in France. It highlights the exemplary careers of women scientists who combine excellence and dynamism.

The category "Woman, research and business” distinguishes a woman active in research and development, who developed scientific and/or technological innovations working in a company committed to promoting diversity.


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SOLVAY SILICA is the inventor of Highly Dispersible Silica (HDS) in the 1990's and a key player in energy-saving tires. Its innovative solutions provide tire manufacturers worldwide with the means to progress in sustainable mobility. With nine manufacturing sites and four R&I laboratories on as many continents, Silica also offers a range of applications in personal care, such as toothpastes and exfoliating beads, in animal nutrition, high-performance membranes and in rubber reinforcement.

An international chemical and advanced materials company, Solvay assists its customers in innovating, developing and delivering high-value, sustainable products and solutions which consume less energy and reduce CO2 emissions, optimize the use of resources and improve the quality of life. Solvay serves diversified global end markets, including automotive and aerospace, consumer goods and healthcare, energy and environment, electricity and electronics, building and construction as well as industrial applications. Solvay is headquartered in Brussels with about 30,900 employees spread across 53 countries. It generated pro forma net sales of € 12.4 bn in 2015, with 90% made from activities where it ranks among the world’s top 3 players. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on Euronext in Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB:BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR).