International Day of Women & Girls in Science – 11th February 2020

In the context of this year’s International Day of Women & Girls in Science, SUSBIND partner Wood K plus portrays two dedicated researchers – Pia & Catherine.

© Wood K plus, DI Dr. Pia Solt-Rindler (left) and DI Catherine Thoma (right)


Pia Solt-Rindler is a senior researcher at the area Wood Material Technologies of SUSBIND partner Wood K plus, a leading research institute in the area wood and wood-related renewable resources. She is specialized in alternative adhesive systems used for wood-based materials. Her focus is on the development of formaldehyde-free adhesives but also on bio-based adhesive systems.

Catherine Thoma is a junior researcher, who has a background in technical chemistry and specializes in material science. Her research interests involve carbohydrate conversion and sustainable production of carbohydrate-based resins for wood-based panels.

What does an ordinary day as researcher look like?

Pia Solt-Rindler: The question of an ordinary day is quite difficult to answer. Depending on the project and its status, my working day can variate from developing a new binder in the laboratory, to testing and analyzing its properties to evaluating data behind the computer. Nevertheless, there are also calmer days when the time can be used to write reports or publications. However, exactly this versatility makes my job so diverse, that is why I like it so much.

Catherine Thoma: As a junior researcher in the SUSBIND project, I focus my research on the development of a bio-based binder and the subsequent material testing methods. This included an extensive literature research on the current state of the art at the beginning of the SUSBIND project. Right now, I mainly work in the lab, where I enjoy working with different testing and production methods.

What do you like best about you work?

Pia Solt-Rindler: Wood K plus is a research institution that is located at the interface between university research and industry. I enjoy it a lot to work as this kind of connection, to be able to do research on the one hand, but always with the economic aspect in the background. Everything we do has a deeper purpose, either economic or ecological.

Catherine Thoma: I like the meaningfulness and variation of the research work the most. In the development of a new bio-based binder a lot of different testing methods have to be applied and the results contribute to our overall understanding of this topic.

What do you like most about being part of the SUSBIND project?

SUSBIND as a collaborative European research and innovation project brings together partners from six different EU countries. Getting the chance of working in such an international project and contributing to a more sustainable world by developing a bio-based binder for wood-panel boards is what we like most.

How many women work in researcher positions nowadays and is there a need for improvement in the equal distribution of genders in this context?

At Wood K plus, over half of the employees are women. We do not have any special subsidies for our female employees, but instead we focus on absolute gender equality.


Authors: DI Dr. Pia Solt-Rindler, DI Catherine Thoma, BSc.

Senior Researcher/Junior Researcher, Area Wood Materials Technologies

Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH, Wood K plus


Related Blog Articles:

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Laboratory-scale Carbohydrate Conversion ReactionsProduction of carbohydrate-based binders for wood products