Open Innovation

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Jean-Pierre Vors: Searching for the Gemstones of Chemistry

Active ingredients for crop protection products are like gemstones. Rare, hard to find and exceptionally precious. Dr. Jean-Pierre Vors is looking for new active ingredients for fungicides, acting as a prospector and researcher at the same time.

I often mediate between worlds: science and management, chemistry and biology, industrial and academic studies, research and the public.

Dr. Jean-Pierre Vors, principal scientist, communicates regularly with international

At first glance, the contraluz opal is unremarkable. It is transparent and colorless. But when held against the light, my favorite gemstone reveals a kaleidoscope of colors. I like to compare this to my work. Sometimes I find a rare result after loads of working hours, one that can appear simple but is complex if you take a closer look. My field of expertise is active ingredients for fungicides. My colleagues and I are searching for new chemical compounds that can be used to create crop protection products.

Finding new active agents is like playing with Legos®. Every chemical compound represents a different brick. We swap them out until we have built something that works. Also, the agent should not cause toxic side effects, nor be too complex and thus too expensive to produce. To find the ideal combination, we modify the original molecule again and again – brick by brick, compound by compound.

Ambassador of Science

I love the challenge of research. For the last 15 years, I also took on management tasks for my former research group. I dropped this recently, but I’m still a member of the management team in the department of chemical disease control. This means that I often mediate between different worlds. In addition, I coach lab, project and group leaders, and I’m in charge of collaborations with various institutions and universities. Both parties profit from this cooperation. We share our practical experiences and this provides insights into new techniques. It also gives students the chance to contribute their knowledge and talent. Worldwide, I supervise several PhD students in one running year. Although I am mainly in contact with the scientific public, I think that science is not just for experts – the general public is also interested. Unfortunately, with crop protection, they often view this with suspicion. I see myself as ambassador for science. I advocate explaining what we do and why we do it actively and in easy-to-understand terms. My work is like dancing on a razor's edge, and I’m always on the go.

Atomic Inspiration

Early on, I was fascinated by science. At the age of 12, I attended a science fair about nuclear power plants. Later I built my own chemical lab at home and experimented with different chemicals. My parents often complained about the smelly results. After my doctorate, I got a job as a chemist in Paris and haven't changed my research area and stayed in life science since. One highlight of my career was being part of the team that discovered Fluopyram, also known under its product name Luna. This active ingredient fights different kinds of fungi, for example grey and noble rot or powdery mildew in viticulture, olericulture and fruit cultivation.

CV Dr. Jean-Pierre Vors

1955 born in Sète (France)

1977 Master’s degree at the National School for Chemistry in Montpellier, France.

1981 Doctorate, Thesis about "Umpolung with organic Phosphoric compounds“ in Montpellier, France

1982 Junior Lab Head Rhône-Poulenc Company, Paris, France

1985-2002 Lab Head Bayer CropScience, Lyon, France (formerly Rhône-Poulenc Company and Aventis company)

2002-2017 Group Leader Bayer CropScience

2017- current Principal Scientist Bayer CropScience

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