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DSM Science and Technology Award Europe 2013 for Stijn van de Vyver

Urmond, NL, 24 Apr 2013 11:15 CEST

Royal DSM, the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, has awarded the DSM Science and Technology Award, Europe 2013, to Dr. Stijn van de Vyver, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.
Front row, from left to right: Andreas Posch, Somnath Kadam, Jing Wu, Stijn van de Vyver & (standing) Marcel Wubbolts. Back row, from left to right: Andrzej Stankiewicz, Cor Koning, Christoph Herwig and Bert Sels

Stijn van de Vyver received the award for his PhD research titled ‘Rethinking the design of heterogeneous catalysts for the conversion of cellulose’, which he conducted at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven under the supervision of Professor Bert Sels. An international judging committee selected Stijn van de Vyver as winner out of four nominated PhD scientists.

The award was presented to van de Vyver by DSM's CTO Marcel Wubbolts during the combined 9th European Congress on Chemical Engineering and 2nd European Congress on Applied Biotechnology (“ECCE9/ECAB2”) on 23 April 2013.

In his PhD work Stijn van de Vyver has made important accomplishments in the catalytic conversion of cellulose. He drastically improved conversion rates by increasing the accessibility of the catalytic centers, using carbon nano-fibers and hyper-branched polymers amongst others as catalyst support.

The jury indicated that van de Vyver's research stood out through its scientific excellence, which was demonstrated by a large number of publications in high ranking journals and patents. The topic of his research is potentially of high economic impact. The jury especially expressed their admiration for the unorthodox and daring approach that van de Vyver has taken in a challenging field. They appreciated the great originality of his thesis.

Nominees and second prize winners were: 

  • Jing Wu, Eindhoven University of Technology. PhD Supervisor: Professor Cor Koning
    PhD thesis title: Novel isohexide-based building blocks and step-growth polymers
  • Andreas Posch, Vienna University of Technology. PhD Supervisor: Professor Christoph Herwig
    PhD thesis title: Shaping sustainable manufacturing for filamentous fungi – Novel tools for efficient morphological and physiological bioprocess characterization
  • Somnath Kadam, Delft University of Technology. PhD Supervisors: Professor Andrzej Stankiewicz/Dr. Herman Kramer
    PhD thesis title: Towards a sustainable crystallization process through in situ monitoring and system characterization

The theme of the award was ‘Shaping Sustainable Manufacturing’ and it was focused on applications in the fields of Chemical Engineering and Applied Biotechnology. From the total number of nominations received, four candidates were selected for the final judging round. These four candidates presented their research in a short lecture during a special DSM Symposium on Sustainable Manufacturing held at the congress in The Hague, the Netherlands on 22 April 2013. A judging committee of leading scientists selected the winner. Marcel Wubbolts presented the award following his keynote lecture ‘Sustainable innovations for a changing world’.

Marcel Wubbolts commented: “Sustainability is the core value of DSM. We believe we have to embrace a People-Planet-Profit based approach to doing business. This is why we have chosen the Shaping Sustainable Manufacturing theme for this edition of our Science and Technology Awards. The collaboration with the ECCE9/ECAB2 congress provided an excellent venue. This congress brings together people from the different fields of chemical engineering and applied biotechnology and therefore is an excellent place to discuss novel approaches.”

The DSM Science & Technology Awards are part of the DSM Bright Science Awards Program. They seek to recognize and reward outstanding young researchers (PhD students and those who have recently obtained their PhD) for innovative research with clear application potential. The award is granted in three different regions: Europe, the Americas and Asia. The award events are organized in cooperation with major scientific conferences in these regions. DSM has a long tradition of more than 25 years of granting awards for excellence in PhD research.