Wilma Dierkes studied chemistry at the Technical University in Hanover, Germany. She continued with a postgraduate study in environmental science at the Fondation Universitaire Luxembourgeoise, Arlon, Belgium. After finishing this study, she started working for the rubber recycling company Rubber Resources in Maastricht, the Netherlands, a former subsidiary of Vredestein. She was in charge of R&D and Technical Service, and she developed and introduced short recycling loops for production waste back into the original production process.
The next step in her career was the R&D department of Robert Bosch Produktie, Tienen, Belgium, where she developed windshield wipers. Additionally, she was the head of the chemical laboratory and part of the trouble shooting team in the production facility.
In 2001 she started to work for the University of Twente, Enschede, where she is still working as Associate Professor in the chair of Elastomer Technology and Engineering. From 2009 till 2013 she also held a part-time professorship at the Tampere Technical University, Finland.
Her key research areas are reinforcing filler technology, with emphasis on silica filler systems, and recycling and re-utilization of elastomers. Other research areas are polymer networks and fiber reinforcement.
Since she started her research work at the university, she has published more than 60 reviewed papers, 11 book chapters, and she holds 4 patents.
For about 10 years, she was a board member of the Dutch Association of Plastics and Rubber Technologists (VKRT), and from 2005 till 2014 she was the chairman of this association. Besides, she is a founding member of the Female Faculty Network at the University Twente (FFNT), of which she also was a board member and chairman for 3 years.