Science, business and innovation

/ July 5, 2016/ IMAU

My name is Joseph Timkovsky; I did a two-month internship at IMAU in 2009 and then continued as a PhD student under the supervision of Rupert Holzinger. My PhD research was about volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the atmosphere and the chemical composition of organic aerosols. It involved a lot of lab work, in particular using a proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS). This is actually the instrument that brought me to IMAU in the first place; I was doing my master research in Russia with PTR-MS and to gain more experience with it I got a chance to work with Rupert.

Let me tell you what life has been for me after IMAU, from a career point of view. During my last years at IMAU I started realizing more and more that I would like connect my future career with business applications. To get a helicopter view of the different industries and types of jobs/projects one can have there, I decided to start working for the management consulting firm A.T.Kearney. There I got to work in projects on automotive, transportation, financial services and energy & processes industries. I worked on very different types of projects: internal cost benchmarking, organizational restructuring, sourcing, etc.

joseph_june2016_2All in all, my experience at A.T.Kearney gave me a good understanding of the various sides of business and industry. However, a very important thing I missed was the use
of my previous experience and knowledge. So, I started looking for something else. And life gave me a fantastic opportunity. In a very random way, namely when I was buying a house, I met a person working for the wine research company Vinoscent, which uses PTR-MS. This most certainly was an extreme coincidence since, to the best of my knowledge, there are less than 20 such machines in the whole of the Netherlands.

I could not miss this opportunity and, at first, started working there on Saturdays. Since February this year I am working full time at Vinoscent. “What are you doing there?”, you may ask yourself. Well, it is all about wine quality. We work with the large Benelux supermarkets and help them to purchase wines of a higher quality. On one hand, we perform basic chemical analysis of wines (sugar content, alcohol content, pH, etc.). On the other hand, and that is what I am doing, we are developing new products for the wine industry. For example, wine typicity determination: when a particular grape and origin are mentioned on the label, that is not always true. We determine that with the use of PTR-MS measurements and statistical analysis. For me, being able to combine my scientific and business experience, this is a very interesting job. And the wine industry in itself is also a very interesting community.

If you are curious to learn more about what I am doing, just shoot me an email: And if you have got some interesting wine samples to be tasted, sorry, I meant tested, let me know! 🙂

Joseph Timkovsky