Bright Science Awards
DSM's Bright Science Awards are open to PhD graduates; seasoned scientists worldwide, in everything from human & animal nutrition to materials science.
We team up with leading scientific associations in their respective fields for this award:
The award not only gives PhD graduates a financial reward for their achievements, but also a platform to make a name for themselves in their chosen field. They also help participants make the all-important connection between scientific achievement and commercial and industrial success.
DSM and the ACS division of Polymer Chemistry (POLY) invite nominations for the DSM Bright Science PhD Graduate Award 2020 in Material Sciences. The award carries a cash prize of $6,000. This prestigious award has been established to recognize and reward excellence in innovative PhD research related to polymer science and technology.
The theme for the 2020 award will be Polymers for a Sustainable Future. The theme spans Nutrition and Health, Climate and Energy, and Resources and Circularity. Submissions may include, and preferably connect: synthesis, characterization, engineering, material property assessment and application. Nominees will be judged based on both the connection to the theme and the quality of their scientific research.
From the total number of nominations received, four candidates will be selected for the final judging round that will take place during the American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting, from 16-20 August 2020, in San Francisco, California, USA. These four candidates will be invited to present their research results in a short lecture during a special DSM - ACS POLY Symposium. A judging committee comprising members from DSM and ACS POLY will select and announce the winner at a special award ceremony during the ACS national meeting.
The award accompanies a cash prize of $6,000. The three runners-up will each receive $2,000.
Candidates must be nominated by their PhD supervisors (one nominee per supervisor). Nominations must be made using this nomination form. Nominations need to be accompanied by the following documents:
Nomination packages must be compiled into a single PDF document and submitted by e-mail to Kathy Mitchem, who can also be contacted for more information regarding the award.
We look forward to receiving a great number of nominations.
Awarded annually and open to PhD students and those who had recently obtained their PhD in the Americas, this award was about recognizing and rewarding excellence in innovative PhD research in the field of animal sciences. The 2019 award was presented to the winner at the annual meeting of the ASAS Midwest Section, in Omaha (NE), US in March.
The winner of the 2019 awards was Chan Sol Park, from Purdue University. Chan Sol Park was recognized for his exceptional research on protein quality in experimental diets and amino acid digestibility in feed ingredients for pigs. Read Chan Sol Park’s story about how his interest in science started and what the next steps in his career will be.
The theme for the 2019 award was ‘’Animal Nutrition contributing to Sustainable Animal Farming’’. Nominees were judged based on both the connection to the theme and the quality of their scientific research.
The award carried a cash prize of $5,000. The three runners-up each received $1,000. On top of their prize, all four finalists received an additional $1,000 to cover associated travel and conference registration costs.
From the total number of nominations received, four candidates were selected for the final judging round that took place during the ASAS Midwest Section, in Omaha. These four candidates were invited to present their research results in a short lecture during a special DSM/ASAS Symposium. A judging committee comprising members from DSM and ASAS selected and announced the winner.
Awarded annually and open to PhD students and those who had recently obtained their PhD at a university in Europe, this award was about recognizing and rewarding excellence in innovative PhD research in Human Nutrition. The 2019 award was presented to the winner at the European Nutrition Conference held by the Federation of European Nutrition Societies (FENS) in October 2019 in Dublin, Ireland.
The winner of the 2019 award was Aoife Caffrey, from Ulster University. Aoife was recognized for her work on maternal folate nutrition and offspring brain health. Read Aoife's story about how her interest in science started and what the next steps in her career will be.
The theme for the 2019 award was ‘’personalized nutrition and novel technologies for health in the modern world’’. Nominees were judged based on both the connection to the theme and the quality of their scientific research.
The award carried a cash prize of €5,000. The three runners-up each received €1,000. On top of their prize, all four finalists received €1,000 to cover associated travel and conference registration costs.
From the total number of nominations received, four candidates were selected as finalist. These four finalists were invited to present their research results in a short lecture during a special DSM-FENS Symposium on 17 October at the European Nutrition Conference in Dublin. The judging committee comprised members from both DSM and FENS.
Over the years our past winners span a huge range of topics and nationalities. Since winning, their careers have moved in equally diverse directions - from the heights of academia to major commercial success. Here's a couple of interviews with recent winners and their hopes, dreams…and a little advice along the way.
On Thursday 17 October, Aoife Caffrey, from Ulster University, received the DSM Science & Technology Award 2019 during the Federation of European Nutrition Societies (FENS) conference held in Dublin, Ireland. Aoife was recognised for the exceptional contribution of her PhD research in the field of maternal folate nutrition and offspring brain health. The work completed within this thesis included the use of magnetoencephalography (MEG); a novel brain imaging technology and the application of epigenetic techniques to explore potential biological mechanisms explaining the effects of maternal folate nutrition on offspring brain.
“My interest in science started at a young age. I grew up (in London, Taipei and Dublin) in a family where ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics’ was at the forefront of my upbringing and I was lucky to have parents that were very supportive and encouraging of my growing scientific interests.
“Another positive influence on my interest in nutrition science was a family friend, Ursula O’Dwyer, a registered dietitian, who worked as a Health Promotion Policy Advisor for the Department of Health in Ireland. Her position meant that she worked with world leaders in public health and acknowledged excellent scientific research with impacts on policy, which interested me greatly.”
“Undoubtably, my PhD supervisors Prof Kristina Pentieva and Prof Helene McNulty! They were, and continue to be, inspirational mentors to me as an early career researcher, and their support and guidance has been endless. As world-leading scientists, they have shown me the importance of conducting excellent research and ensuring that the results are disseminated for a real-world impact. I hope to one day be able to match their unwavering enthusiasm for, and achievements in, nutrition science.
“Beyond my PhD supervisors, Prof Lucilla Poston CBE, King’s College London and Prof Keith Godfrey, University of Southampton, are two of my great scientific inspirations for their work in the area of maternal diet and body composition on offspring development and health throughout life, ‘Developmental Origins of Health and Disease’. Prof Poston was in fact the external examiner for my PhD viva and it was a real privilege to have the opportunity to discuss my research in depth with her earlier this year at the time of my oral examination for the award of PhD.”
“It was during my Master’s programme at Ulster University that I decided I wanted a career in science and research. Subsequently, I was fortunate to join the Folate Group under Prof Kristina Pentieva and Prof Helene McNulty who introduced me to the world of folic acid and the related B-vitamins. I worked on the FASSTT Offspring study investigating the effects of maternal folate nutrition and cognitive performance in the child at 3 and 7 years. My deep-rooted fascination in this area pushed me to investigate whether the effects on brain health in the child would persist beyond 7 years and to explore the potential biological mechanisms underpinning these effects, which formed the basis of my PhD research.”
“The research completed during my PhD project demonstrates potential health benefits of continuing folic acid (400 µg/d) supplementation during pregnancy, beyond the early period currently recommended to protect against neural tube defects, in terms of brain health of the offspring at 11 years. The impact of this work for society will primarily be in contributing scientific evidence to support future policy and practice in relation to folic acid recommendations for women during pregnancy. Such policy would in turn benefit pregnant mothers and their children.
“The results of this research show that there are benefits for the child of continuing maternal use of folic acid throughout pregnancy, whereas current recommendations in most countries worldwide advise mothers to take folic acid supplements from before conceiving until the end of the 12th gestational week only.”
“I was honoured to have been nominated by my PhD supervisors, and I am delighted to have won such a prestigious award. I am also hugely grateful to DSM to be given this wonderful opportunity to highlight our ‘maternal folate nutrition and offspring health’ research on such a global platform as the FENS conference. It was an absolute privilege for me.”
“I am currently working as a Postdoctoral Researcher on the EpiBrain project at NICHE, Ulster University, building on work that was completed during my PhD studies. The EpiBrain project, ‘Epigenetic effects of B-vitamins on brain health throughout life: scientific substantiation and translation of evidence for health improvement strategies’ was awarded under the JPI HDHL scheme and funded by the BBSRC and MRC UK Research Councils. It is an international multidisciplinary project that brings together researchers in Nutrition and Genetics at Ulster University, UK; University of British Columbia, Canada; and Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain.
“In the future, I hope to grow my career as an independent researcher and become an academic, working in collaboration with researchers from both industry and academia. I also aspire to follow the career paths of my supervisors and for my research to have impact.”
On Wednesday 28 August, Blaine McCarthy, from Colorado State University, received the DSM Bright Science Award 2019 during the American Chemical Society (ACS) Conference held in San Diego, California. Blaine was recognized for her work on the development of more sustainable methods to make plastics using bio-derived starting materials and sunlight to drive the process.
“Growing up, science was always my favorite subject at school, and I was fortunate to have parents who were very supportive of my interests across the different scientific disciplines. However, my interest truly came to life at university.
"When studying for my Bachelor’s degree at Clark University, I joined the lab of Professor Charles 'Chuck' Jakobsche, which turned out to be key to my decision to pursue chemistry at graduate school in Colorado. By allowing me to work on an independent project at an early stage of my undergraduate studies, Chuck introduced me to the excitement of scientific research and helped me develop the perseverance needed to overcome experimental challenges.”
“There are far too many to mention! In a broader sense, though, I’m inspired by 1) a handful of “famous” scientists, 2) my professors and mentors throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies, and 3) women in chemistry who have demonstrated success in both their careers and personal lives.”
“My interest stemmed from a deep-rooted fascination with the physical properties of polymeric materials and a respect for their ubiquity in our everyday lives. I continue to be fascinated by the range of macroscopic physical properties that arise from the macromolecular structures of polymers. Moreover, the utility of polymeric materials in all areas of our lives motivates me to continue working in the field of polymer science in the future.”
“We believe organocatalyzed atom transfer radical polymerization (O-ATRP), a light-driven method for the synthesis of well-defined polymers, can help in addressing multiple societal challenges, including climate change, by presenting a more economical and energy-efficient alternative to analogous, heat-driven polymerization methods.
“Specifically, we have demonstrated that bio-derived monomers can be polymerized efficiently via O-ATRP, thereby reducing society’s dependence on the petroleum-refining industry and reducing the carbon footprint of plastics production. More widely, the catalysts developed for O-ATRP methods have the potential to improve sustainability across a wide range of industries, including agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, and could even enable the advancement of materials produced via additive manufacturing/3D printing."
“I’m extremely grateful, as it has provided a platform for me to share my research with a broader audience of scientists. At the same time, I hope this award highlights the excellent work done by my advisor, Garret Miyake, and our research group at Colorado State University. Garret is an outstanding advisor who has given me considerable support in pursuing this award. I’m also fortunate to work with an incredible team of scientists within my research group and as part of multi-institution collaborations, many of whom have made critical contributions to the research that I presented during the award symposium.”
“I’m excited to be finishing my doctoral degree this year and to be moving to the next stage of my career. I’m motivated to continue pursuing interesting and impactful research toward developing materials for a sustainable future, and energized to find a position working with colleagues who are as supportive and inspiring as my current research group.”
On 13 March 2019, Chan Sol Park, from Purdue University, received the DSM Science & Technology Award Animal Nutrition (Americas) 2019 during the annual meeting of the ASAS Midwest Section in Omaha. Chan was recognised for his thesis on protein quality in experimental diets and amino acid digestibility in feed ingredients for pigs.
“As a child I was always interested in animals, but living in a city meant I had few opportunities see and spend time with them, so I watched a lot of nature documentaries on TV. My interest in science started around then.
"Watching these documentaries allowed me to learn many interesting facts about animals and stimulated my curiosity. When I realized that there are still a lot of unsolved questions in nature, I decided to become a person who finds the answers.”
“There are two people who always inspire me to step forward: Dr. Beob Gyun Kim and Dr. Layi Adeola. Dr. Kim, who was my supervisor during my Master’s degree, taught me the basics and introduced me to the broad spectrum of research in animal nutrition. Dr. Adeola is currently supervising my PhD program and supporting me in improving and expanding my ideas. They always give me the best advice on how to think further, and their endless passion for research strongly motivates me to work harder.”
“During my Master’s program, I realized that continuous research is necessary to deal with current issues and to improve the livestock industry. In addition, I was fascinated by designing and conducting research for animal nutrition, so I decided to continue my research through a PhD program to further study monogastric animal nutrition which can contribute to the livestock industry.”
“The livestock industry is currently facing many issues, including regulation of the use of antibiotics, environmental pollution caused by livestock manure, and the fluctuating price of feed ingredients. Therefore, precision nutrition is necessary to cope with current issues and achieve sustainable animal farming. My research mainly focuses on improvement of nutritional supply to monogastric animals and accurate evaluation of nutritional quality in feed ingredients, all of which can contribute to maximizing the livestock production, as well as minimizing the detrimental effects on the environment and product consumers.”
“It means a lot to me. I am very grateful for this award, and it will encourage me to move forward in my research. It will also always remind me of my colleagues – who give me selfless support. I could not have achieved this without their help.”
“My future goal is to be part of the faculty at a major research university and continue to conduct research in animal nutrition. I have studied animal nutrition under the supervision of great professors, who have helped me to develop creative and critical research competency. I would like to follow their career paths and contribute to the industry as well as education and science.”
DSM's Bright Science Awards are open to PhD graduates; seasoned scientists worldwide, in everything from human & animal nutrition to materials science.
The Experienced Scientist Award is part of DSM’s Bright Science Awards program and recognizes seasoned scientists for their pioneering research in nutrition and materials sciences.
The various ways to get in touch with DSM.