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|l. to r.: Jan Zuidam, Dorota Rozkiewicz, Rolf Koole and Maarten Roeffaers|
Belgian researcher Maarten Roeffaers of the Catholic University of Leuven has won the first prize in the DSM Science & Technology Awards (North) 2008. An international judging committee, chaired by DSM Chief Technology Officer Dr Jos Put, selected Dr Maarten Roeffaers, who received his doctorate from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), for his PhD thesis entitled ‘Heterogeneous Catalysis: a fluorescence microscopic study'. Maarten Roeffaers has pioneered the use of fluorescence microscopy in catalysis research. With his innovative approach he could unravel various steps of the complex catalytic cycle that were previously hidden for other techniques, thus enabling more efficient and ‘green' catalyst systems. His work will contribute to the development of efficient chemical processes and thus to a more sustainable economy. Maarten Roeffaers was presented with the award by Mr Jan Zuidam, deputy chairman of DSM's Managing Board. As the winner of the first prize he will also receive a cash prize of EUR 7,500.
The winner of the second prize, Rolf Koole of Utrecht University (Netherlands), will receive a cash prize of EUR 5,000, and the winner of the third prize, Dorota Rozkiewicz of the University of Twente (Netherlands), will receive a cash prize of EUR 2,500. The other six finalists will each receive a cash prize of EUR 1,250.
The DSM Science & Technology Awards (North) form part of the DSM Innovation Awards Program sponsored by the DSM Innovation Center. They are awarded for outstanding PhD research by doctoral students from the Netherlands, Belgium and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
This year's awards presentation event was held at Chateau St. Gerlach in Valkenburg (Netherlands) on 3 June. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Zuidam said: ‘ The impressive work these young scientists have already undertaken makes me feel more reassured about the future. Fundamental research and effective cooperation with universities are of essential importance for our innovations, and therefore also for our future.'
Report of the judging committee
In its report about the winner of the first prize, the judging committee said Dr Maarten Roeffaers has revolutionized the in-situ characterization of working catalysts at the nanometer level using single molecule fluorescence microscopy, thus opening up the possibility to study in great detail structure-reactivity relationships in catalysis at the level of a few catalytic sites: ‘The judging committee expects that the outcome of the research will prove useful not only in fundamental catalysis science, but also lead to new insights for improvement and development of next generation catalysts.' The judging committee commended the high quality of the work of all the other finalists.
The winners of the first, second and third prizes
Maarten Roeffaers conducted his research at the Centre of Surface Chemistry and Catalysis and the Laboratory for Nano and Molecular Materials at the Catholic University of Leuven under the supervision of Professor D. De Vos, Professor B. Sels and Professor J. Hofkens.
Rolf Koole conducted his research at the Debye Institute, Utrecht University (Netherlands) under the supervision of Professor A. Meijerink and Professor D. Vanmaekelbergh.
Dorota Rozkiewicz conducted her research at the Department of Supramolecular Chemistry and Technology, MESA+ Institute of NanoTechnology, University of Twente (Netherlands) under the supervision of Professor D.N. Reinhoudt.
The other six prize-winners are:
Luc Alaerts Centre of Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, University of Leuven (Belgium)
Carl Deutsch Department of Chemistry, Dortmund University of Technology (Germany)
Julia Frunzke-Wennerhold Institute of Biotechnology, Jülich Research Centre, Jülich (Germany)
Sabine Gabriel Department of Chemistry, University of Liège (Belgium)
Zoran Popovic Physics Institute, University of Münster (Germany)
René Rozendal Department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen University (Netherlands)
Two parallel awards schemes
The DSM Science & Technology Awards (North) were presented for the twenty-third time this year. Over the years the awards have gained a high reputation in academic circles and the contest is a major event on the international calendar. In view of this, DSM last year introduced a parallel contest with an identical awards scheme - DSM Science & Technology Awards (South) - for PhD researchers from universities in Switzerland, Austria, Northeastern France and Southern Germany.
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