The ISGS PhD Thesis Award Prize for 2019 goes to…

The ISGS PhD Thesis Award, first launched in 2018, was created to distinguish PhD theses representing outstanding contribution to scientific and/or technological knowledge in the field of sol-gel chemistry and related fields.

The ISGS PhD Thesis Award Committee for the 2019 competition was composed of Professor Massimo Guglielmi (Chair), Professor Galo Soler-Illia, Professor Julien Jones, Professor Markus Niederberger, and Professor Rui Manuel Amaral de Almeida.

On this edition the Committee received seven regular applications and examined the documentation provided, on the basis of the following parameters: novelty of the science, impact on the sol-gel field, quality/sophistication of the experimentation, logical argumentation, contextual positioning of the subject, clarity and readability, and completeness/scope of the work.

The members of the Committee worked first independently. Then, in the second stage of the evaluation, they discussed the results and reached an overall decision. The Committee underlined the fact that all the applications were of extremely high quality. While the top three were very close, there was unanimous agreement on the first position.

The overall ranking obtained by the members of the Committee placed Valentin Smeets top of the list. Albane Birault and Junho Jang placed second and third, respectively.

The subject of the PhD thesis of Valentin Smeets, entitled “New synthetic approaches to efficient Ti–SiO2epoxidation catalysts”, is focused on the synthesis of mesoporous mixed oxides through soft routes, implying phase separation or templating, with applications in catalyzed synthesis via epoxidation of olefins.

The committee decided to award the prize to Valentin Smeets for the following reasons:

  • The work is of high novelty in the specific area, and the contextual positioning of the subject is very well described.
  • The sol-gel problem addressed in the work is very interesting, and sophisticated synthesis methods were used to obtain a broad range of structures.
  • The characterization techniques were advanced and well selected, and the approach was original and powerful.
  • The candidate demonstrated, in the Executive Summary and in the CV, also an excellent capability to describe his work and his overall activity in a very clear and effective way.
  • His ability in the dissemination of the results obtained by his PhD work is well demonstrated by the six papers published as first author in Q1 journals and the five oral presentations given, as speaker, in international conferences.

As winner of the PhD Thesis Award 2019, Valentin Smeets will receive a diploma, a 2-year ISGS membership, and a prize money. Moreover, you will be invited to contribute with a paper to the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology, the official journal of ISGS.

Because of the pandemia situation, the location and date of the Award ceremony are still under discussion.

The Board of Directors of the ISGS and the ISGS PhD Thesis Award Committee wish to warmly congratulate all the candidates, in particular the awardees Valentin Smeets, Albane Birault and Junho Jang.