Careers

Keith Task - on technical pathways and new routes

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I wanted to remain in a technical field. My previous roles had given me the opportunity to consolidate various technical aspects while also taking on various responsibilities, leading projects and working together with a wide range of people.

Keith Task

Principal Scientist

Keith’s journey at BASF began in mathematical modeling for research and development. He has always remained true to the technical side of things. Today, as Principal Scientist, he advances data analytics in research and development through hybrid modeling by linking data-driven approaches and the natural sciences.

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I joined BASF a little over eight years ago and started in a research division in Tarrytown, hired in the mathematical modeling research group. During that time, I focused primarily on data-driven approaches – experimental design, machine learning, optimization – to support R&D. Specifically, we focused on ways to make experiments more efficient and to accelerate development. My current position aims to advance the science of a particular digitalization discipline, and leverage both internal and external expertise to use digitalization to the benefit of BASF. My discipline – Data Analytics for Physics – aims to integrate data-driven approaches and chemical/physical knowledge, as well as gain chemical insight from data-driven approaches. My position also allows me to teach, which I enjoy, while still doing computational work. 

I think from the beginning, I’ve wanted to stay technical, and that emphasis hasn’t changed over the past eight years. I always enjoyed doing technical deep dives into projects and wanted to improve my technical expertise. I have always communicated with my managers that I want to stay technical and get more in-depth in various technical aspects, and they have been very supportive. During this technical journey, I have also been presented with the opportunity to lead several teams, the most recent of which is the Global Scientific Discipline. These roles have allowed me to take on different responsibilities working with people and overseeing projects, while still staying on the technical side of things.  

The most important thing is to be open, honest and transparent with your managers. They are there to support you. They can help you with your goals. For me, I communicated that I wanted to stay technical, and my management guided me (and continues to guide me) on how I can fulfill my goals. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to ask for advice and support. I’ve always asked myself how I can bring value to the company with something I enjoy – this can help you in your path, no matter what the path is.