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Annual report 2009

The year 2009 was a succesful year for HIMS. External funding, staff numbers and scientific output rose to higher levels and HIMS members received distinguished awards.

The HIMS output was on a high level in 2009, comparable to 2008. HIMS published 3 papers in absolute top journals (impact factor > 15) and 10 papers in top journals (impact factor 10-15). The total number of refereed publications amounted to 169, while 16 PhD dissertations were produced.

To name a few highlights:

  • Professor Joost Reek (Catalysis) was highlighted in Angewandte Chemie because he published his 10th article since 2000 in this prestigious journal.
  • Professors Joost Reek (Catalysis) and Fred Brouwer (Molecular Photonics) and co-workers published a possible breakthrough article in the top journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on photocatalysis for the production of molecular hydrogen.
  • Professor Gadi Rothenberg cs. published an article on Chiral imprinting of palladium with cinchona alkaloid in Nature Chemistry.

Academic awards and events

The Eastern American Society (EAS) assigned professor Peter Schoenmakers its prestigious award for Excellence in Separation Science in November 2009.

Professor Piet van Leeuwen, emeritus professor of Homogenous Catalysis at the UvA, received a Doctor Honoris Causa degree from the Rovira i Virgili University (URV), University of Tarragona, Spain. Additionally he received an ERC Advanced Grant worth 3.5 M€ for research on nanocatalysts; currently he is working at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) in Tarragona.

On May 14, 2009 Peter Timmerman, professor in Protein mimetic chemistry (Bio-molecular Synthesis) gave his inaugural lecture entitled Therapeutisch vaccin mogelijk toepasbaar bij behandeling kanker.

Doctor Jan van Maarseveen (Bio-Molecular Synthesis), presented a lecture during the dinner of the University Board on the occasion of the opening of the academic year, attended by the Dutch Minister of Science and Education Guusje ter Horst.


The year 2009 again turned out to be very successful in terms of external fund raising; a total of 6,56 M€ was acquired from subsidiaries such as NRSC-C, NWO (including a personnel grant), EU, Senter Novem, CatchBio, etc. HIMS finished the year 2009 with a positive financial result, for the fourth year in a row.

However, the financial prospects are uncertain. In 2009 HIMS was confronted with a budget reduction of the structural university budgets of 10% (1 M€) for the years 2009-2012. In response to this HIMS formulated the plan Chemie Financieel Duurzaam. It comprises cost reductions through early retirements and discontinuation of the röntgen diffraction activities. On the other hand increased revenues are expected from the realization of more PhD theses and by funding through the Dutch Sectorplan Natuurkunde & Scheikunde (SNS).


As a direct consequence of the plan Chemie Financieel Duurzaam several important new scientific staff appointments could be realized. Through direct funding (1e geldstroom) four new professors (one associate, three assistant) were appointed. Also two NWO VENI laureates joined the HIMS staff as postdocs.

In total the scientific staff number increased with 20.2 fte. The number of externally funded PhD students and postdocs (122.9 fte) was also substantially higher (+20.3) than the foregoing year. A further increase in externally funded scientific staff members is expected in 2010.


The University of Amsterdam and the VU University started the Amsterdam Graduate School of Science (AGSS) in which they share all beta-master programmes, including all chemistry masters.

In 2009 HIMS/UvA became the first Dutch academic partner of the European centre for EChemTest, developed by the European Chemistry Thematic Netwerk Association (ECTNA). EChemTest is a database that can be used to test knowledge and capabilities according to the Eurocurriculum Chemistry.