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Gert De Cremer wins first prize in DSM Science & Technology Awards (North) 2010

Heerlen, NL, 02 Jun 2010 15:15 CEST

Belgian researcher Gert De Cremer has been awarded the first prize in the DSM Science & Technology Awards (North) 2010. 

An international judging committee, chaired by DSM Chief Technology Officer Dr Jos Put, selected Gert De Cremer, who received his doctorate from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven for his PhD thesis entitled “In situ monitoring of dynamics in redox chemistry by fluorescence micro- and nanoscopy”. Dr De Cremer has succeeded in developing a new category of environmentally friendly fluorescent materials which can be manufactured on a large scale at low cost. These new materials offer an attractive alternative to currently used – but more expensive – materials for a variety of applications such as lighting, solar cells, security labeling and medical diagnostics. The award was presented to Gert De Cremer by Dr Rob van Leen, Chief Innovation Officer of DSM. As the winner of the first prize he will also receive a cash prize of EUR 10,000.

The second prize (EUR 5,000) was awarded to Anke Detzer of the University of Lübeck (Germany) for her PhD research entitled “The intracellular bioavailability of siRNA and Argonaute 2 represents the major obstacle towards therapeutic application of RNAi-based drugs”. The third prize (EUR 2,500) was awarded to Siebe van Mensfoort of Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands) for his PhD research entitled “Effects of disorder on the charge transport and recombination in organic light-emitting diodes”. 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 Northern Germany.

This year’s awards event – celebrating the 25th anniversary of the awards – was held at Bilderberg Kasteel Vaalsbroek in Vaals (Netherlands). Commenting on the PhD research carried out by the awards candidates, Dr Van Leen said: ‘It is most encouraging to see so many young talents doing such excellent work. Through our awards program we want to recognize their achievements and stimulate them to take on new challenges. This program is an important element of our interaction with the academic world, which forms an integral part of our Open Innovation approach. At DSM we are very much aware that academic research and industrial research are both important and that they are mutually complementary. You need them both to achieve innovations.’

Report of the judging committee

In its report about the winner of the first prize, the judging committee said it was impressed by the way Dr De Cremer had managed to combine fundamental science in nanotechnology with potential practical applications in a multidisciplinary approach: ”The winner’s special achievement is that he managed to resolve the issue of stabilization of small noble metal clusters. The solution he developed is based on confinement of silver atoms in zeolite matrices, which is of high practical use since it enables the application of these silver clusters as wavelength converters and data carrier material.” The judging committee commended the high quality of the work of all the other finalists.

The winners of the first, second and third prizes

Gert De Cremer conducted his research at the Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) under the supervision of Prof. Bert Sels.

Anke Detzer conducted her research at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Lübeck (Germany) under the supervision of Prof. G. Sczakiel.

Siebe van Mensfoort conducted his research in the Molecular Materials and Nanosystems Group at Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands) under the supervision of Prof. R. Coehoorn and Prof. R.A.J. Janssen.

Other winners

The other six prize-winners are:

  • Christian Däschlein: Department of Chemistry, Dortmund University of Technology (Germany)
  • Richard van Hameren: Institute for Molecules and Materials, Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands)
  • Laura Heitman: Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Leiden (Netherlands)
  • Corinna Reisinger: Research Group Organo Catalysis, Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research Mülheim (Germany)
  • Philippe Tassin: Faculty of Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium)
  • Koen Vandewal: Institute of Materials Research, Hasselt University (Belgium)

Two parallel awards schemes

The DSM Science & Technology Awards (North) were presented for the twenty-fifth 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 2007, DSM 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.