The Solvay Prize recognizes major scientific discoveries with the potential to shape tomorrow’s chemistry and help human progress.

Created in 2013, the Solvay Prize perpetuates Ernest Solvay’s, lifelong support of and passion for scientific research. Our objective is to endorse basic research and highlight the essential role of chemistry, both as a science and an industry, in helping solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. Every two years, the most promising project is awarded a €300,000 prize. The Chemistry for the future Solvay Prize was first awarded to Professor Peter G. Schultz and later to Professor Ben Feringa in 2015, who went on to receive the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.


Selection process


Who better to nominate tomorrow’s brightest minds, than today’s most eminent scientists. They hail from prestigious science institutions, chemical associations and past and present Advisory Committees and Scientific Committees for Chemistry of International Solvay Institutes. They include previous laureates of the Rhodia Pierre Gilles de Gennes Prize, guests of Solvay Conferences in Chemistry and other distinguished individuals.

This illustrious nomination committee first proposes external candidates whose achievements in the field of chemistry – biochemistry, material sciences, soft matter, biophysics and chemical engineering – will shape the chemistry of the future.

From this list of candidates, the international jury then selects the winner of the Chemistry for the future Solvay Prize.


Meet the jury

Solvay Prize Jury (2017)
Left to right: Pr Christophe Dobson, Dr Patrick Maestro, Pr Anne de Wit, Dr Paul Baekelmans, Pr Jean-Marie Lehn, Pr Paul Chaiki

Håkan Wennerström, President of the jury, is Professor of theoretical and physical chemistry at the University of Lund, Sweden. He is a former chairman of the jury for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Paul Chaikin, Professor of Physics at the New York University, USA, specializes in solid state physics, in particular soft matter.

Christopher Dobson, John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology at the University of Cambridge, and Master of St John’s College, Cambridge, UK, is a specialist in protein folding and misfolding.

Gerhard Ertl, Professor emeritus at the Department of Physical Chemistry, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin, Germany, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of chemical processes on solid surface.

Jean-Marie Lehn, Professor at the Institut d’Etudes Avancées de l’Université de Strasbourg and Professor emeritus at the Collège de France in Paris. Lehn, an early innovator in the field of supramolecular chemistry, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his synthesis of cryptands.

Peter G. Schultz, Professor at the Scripps Research Institute in California USA and Director of the California Institute for Biomedical Research. He was awarded the first Chemistry for the future Solvay Prize.


Meet the contributing Solvay Science advisers:

Paul Baekelmans, Science Adviser to the Solvay Group, is Professor emeritus at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He chairs the Conseil National de Chimie of the Académie des Sciences de Belgique.

Patrick Maestro, Member of the Académie des Technologies in France, Scientific Director of Solvay, was at he origin of the creation of several joint teams between Solvay, CNRS and universities worldwide.


The 2017 Laureate

Pr Susumu Kitagawa - Solvay Prize 2017

Solvay awarded Professor Susumu Kitagawa with the Chemistry for the future Solvay Prize for his work in developing metal organic frameworks, a new class of materials with a range of potential future applications, including the capturing of polluting gases.   


The 2015 Laureate

Ben Feringa

Solvay awarded Professor Ben Feringa with the Chemistry for the future Solvay Prize for his groundbreaking research on molecular motors.


The 2013 Laureate

Laureate Solvay Prize 2013_Peter G. Schultz

Solvay awarded Professor Peter G. Schultz with the Chemistry for the future Solvay Prize for his work at the interface of chemistry and life sciences.