Careers

Anika Ritter - Expedition Prussic Acid Research 

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Although I originally had other plans, I have remained true to research to this day. It is a decision I have never regretted. My job gives me a fascinatingly wide range of projects and the potential for constant personal development.

Anika Ritter

Principal Scientist HCN Value Chain

Anika joined BASF in 2007 in the field of crop protection. Today, she is an expert in the hydrogen cyanide value chain and coordinates a 15-strong team of moderators for FOSTER workshops, for which she is also a moderator. 

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After completing my doctorate in chemical process engineering in Karlsruhe, I started working in crop protection at BASF in 2007. It was a tough introduction to the entire breadth of process engineering and it was challenging, but at the same time exciting. After taking two breaks for parental leave, the amount of projects relating to hydrogen cyanide grew continuously. From then on, I have always remained faithful to hydrogen cyanide as I am fascinated by the sheer variety of projects in this area. For example, we currently have projects in Ludwigshafen and the United States that involve both capacity increases and bringing a process devised in the laboratory into the existing plant. But there have also been research projects developed from scratch, starting in the laboratory and going all the way to planning a mini-plant. After all these years, I now have a very broad footing in the topic of hydrocyanic acid and have become an expert for the hydrogen cyanide value chain. In addition, I coordinate a 15-member moderator team for internal workshops and am also a moderator myself. The workshops are used to challenge procedures, to realize ideation processes, for troubleshooting and much more. Working as a moderator gives me a lot of insights into various projects, processes and operating divisions at our company. This is how I learn and practice my skills in management and structuring to achieve a good result. 

Originally, I assumed that I would start in research and step out again after 5–6 years. But I always got such interesting projects that I stayed. Also, the fact that my work is easy to plan and is not controlled externally, as would be the case in a production facility, fits very well with me and my family background, in contrast to my early years.

I have had good experiences with always addressing things directly and openly – even when I had to say that something doesn't work or that it would be too much. This is often particularly hard for new colleagues, but it’s very important. If you're overburdened, sooner or later you won’t get anything right. Having a good network is also very helpful. In addition to my work as a moderator, I have gained new contacts via the Women in Research initiative. Many men have different challenges when it comes to combining private life and their careers, so it is sometimes helpful to be able to exchange ideas with like-minded people.