Solvay Awards: a pool of scientific talents for innovation
Encouraging bright scientific minds
Solvay commits to open innovation to help address shared future challenges with the best of scientific advancement. Each year, Solvay Awards prizes PhD students and bright minds from the faculties of Sciences and Engineering of both the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium.
Organized together with the Solvay Institutes for Physics and Chemistry, the 2019 Solvay Awards ceremony took place on 20 October to celebrate students' talent and expertise, their specialties, and distinguished academic career for ground-breaking research in chemistry or physics. An inspiring program also offered guests with the opportunity to attend Nobel Prize Laureates' lectures.
Nurturing innovation excellence
Supporting education initiatives and encouraging talents is part of Solvay's DNA, relentlessly bridging academia and industry. Since its beginning in 1989, the Solvay Awards crowned more than 500 students, postdocs and scientists, nurturing their scientific journey and mentoring their way in the industry, as Joost Brancart, VUB student and Solvay Awards 2018 recipient or Vincent Ginis (Solvay Awards 2014), who is now an Assistant Professor at the VBU and Visiting Professor at Harvard University (USA).
The duality of the sustainability of synthetic materials such as polymers intrigues me very much. Their excellent properties and tunable functionalities with respect to their lightweight offer great potential in improving the sustainability of Society but their recycling is still a challenge. Sustainability and durability are key aspects I'm focusing on.
Selecting best-in-class research
The selection is done by the Solvay Awards Jury and takes into account the work submitted for evaluation both for basic or applied research focusing on one of the following fields:
- The investigation and understanding of matter (structure, properties, transformation, chemical reactivity and material science)
- The study of the mechanisms and chemistry of life
- New production technologies
- New resources, energy storage & generation
- Environmental sciences & sustainable development
The nominators also evaluate the ability to summarize and communicate to making main scientific messages intelligible by non-specialists. Furthermore, the candidates are invited to present their own view on the potential contribution of their work to society, contributing to the great advancement of humankind for a better future. It is a real challenge!
The Solvay Awards is well aligned with the major biennial, The Chemistry for the Future - Solvay Prize, another initiative created in 2013 by the Group major scientific discoveries that could shape tomorrow’s chemistry and help human progress. The Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize was awarded to Professor Peter G. Schultz (2013), Professor Ben Feringa (2015), who in 2016 won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and to Professor Susumu Kitagawa (2017).