Vanessa travelled from Italy to Twente to research thermoplastic composites for aircrafts

Vanessa Marinosci travelled from Italy to Twente to research thermoplastic composites at the ThermoPlastic composites Research Center (TPRC). This area of expertise appeals to Vanessa because her work can directly be applied to industry as well as it having an impact on society and the climate. It is also very challenging because it is such a novel field, but to Vanessa, this is all the more reason to go for it. Twente offered not only a challenge but also a home. Read the article below to find out why.

In short

  • Vanessa is Italian and was looking for the ideal place to further her academic research on thermoplastic composites
  • The TPRC in Enschede offered Vanessa the perfect environment to expand her knowledge, and it also provided her a home

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Italian roots

Vanessa Marinosci is Italian, but she currently lives in Twente. She is here on a mission to get her PhD. Vanessa is 28 years old and was born in a small town in the south-east of Italy, in the region of Puglia. Her hobbies are gymnastics and ballet, and recently she joined a pole fitness group at the University of Twente. “By chance, I tried it, and it is a mix of gymnastics, dance and strength, I really enjoyed it”. How did she end up in Twente? Vanessa got a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and a master’s degree in Materials Engineering in Italy. After that, Vanessa wanted a more challenging experience abroad. She began looking for the ideal place for her to specialise even further in the field of materials science.


Vanessa came to the Netherlands, and in particular Twente, as it is the place to be if you want to learn more about thermoplastic composites.

Thermoplastic composites

Vanessa came to the Netherlands, and in particular Twente, as it is the place to be if you want to learn more about thermoplastic composites. For her master’s thesis, she did research at the aerospace company GKN Fokker in Hoogeveen. After completing her master’s, she wanted to find a new challenge in the Netherlands, because she really enjoyed her experience at GKN Fokker. That's how Vanessa ended up in Twente. She wanted to learn even more about thermoplastic composites. The best place to do that? At the ThermoPlastic composites Research Center (TPRC) in Enschede.


"The University of Twente, together with the TPRC, gave me the opportunity to do a PhD in the field of thermoplastic composites.” It was a dream come true for Vanessa. The TPRC not only offers her the perfect place to further her knowledge, but it also provides her with a home, as many of her colleagues at the research centre are also international. “We are an international group. The team consists of Dutch employees, but there are also employees and students from Italy, France, Germany, Indonesia and India. We all live in and around Twente.” Together they built a community who do all sorts of activities and sports together. “The people we work with are quite open-minded, and we all hang out together. I feel at home, because of the positive atmosphere there”.

Great opportunity

Vanessa was excited she got the chance to work in Twente. “I was immediately enthusiastic because the TPRC is an institute where research focuses on thermoplastic composites, and on top of that, it is a good opportunity to do a PhD here because we can combine academic research with actual industrial application.” The University of Twente is unique in its capability to create a connection between academic research and industry. It provides a platform so that researchers can directly impact society. The TPRC as a research centre is much more than a typical academic institution as it was founded by Boeing, GKN Fokker, Toray Advanced Composites and the University of Twente. Moreover, they partner with other industrial companies from all over the world. Therefore, through the TPRC, Vanessa is in touch with important and relevant players in the field of thermoplastic composites.

Sustainability in the aerospace industry

Why is research in thermoplastic composites so important to Vanessa? Composites are lightweight materials and very attractive to the aerospace industry. Aircraft parts made of composites are lighter and, consequently, an appealing solution to reduce fuel consumption and harmful gas emissions. At this point, it is challenging to use only composites to fabricate aircraft components. They need to be combined with metals.


“I liked this subject because this is such a challenging field and there is much room for research on thermoplastic composites. Thermoplastic composites are also recyclable. Theoretically, there is no scrap after the production or at the end of the usage of a certain component.” If we also improve the way we use thermoplastic composites, through, for example, recycling, it will have positive effects on our environment. Apart from these advantages, Vanessa likes working in this field because her academic curiosity drives her to make new discoveries.

At home in Twente

Did Vanessa fall in love with Twente? “When I came here, I needed some time to adapt to a new environment. I come from the south of Italy. For me, the good weather, the nice temperature and the food were always important. But it turned out that it’s an excellent experience for me here in Twente. It is a nice place to stay”.


“Especially Twente offers great opportunities.”


The very green environment, the ability to practice sports outside, and cycling to work are what she enjoys the most. Apart from her work at the TPRC of course. Furthermore, the University of Twente also offers a welcoming environment. “The climate at the campus of the University of Twente is very nice, young, and dynamic. It has good sports facilities. I found a new equilibrium, so I am enjoying my experience here. I want to stay in this area, in the field of composites and the Netherlands. Especially Twente offers great opportunities.”

Date: 28 April 2020 |

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