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Annual report 2015

2015 was an exceptional year for HIMS, in which we welcomed new scientific staff, were able to acquire a record number of new projects and underpinned our international position with appealing publications in renowned scientific papers

New staff

In 2015 HIMS welcomed three professors of which two were new to HIMS and the third saw his longtime senior research position rewarded with a full professorate. Furthermore, two new young tenure track scientists were appointed who chose HIMS as the ideal place to perform research for which they acquired prestigious NWO and ERC grants.

New projects and valorisation

As a whole HIMS has been very successful in establishing new research. A record of 28 new projects were acquired with a total funding of 12 million euros granted by EU, NWO and Topsector Chemistry. 20 projects were inspired by future applications and 14 of these projects have already companies participating and cofinancing them. In 2015 two new patent applications were filed, in collaboration with research consortia or companies. For a total of 11 HIMS research projects promising valorisation opportunities were established. The spin-off company Plantics, that commercializes a new bio-plastic invented at HIMS, started production on ton scale at its new facility in the Amsterdam harbour area.

Publications, prizes and honors

The scientific level of HIMS research is very high, which is reflected in 221 peer reviewed scientific publications of which many in high impact journals, including two science papers. 19 PhD students successfully defended their thesis. The quality of HIMS scientists is also reflected in the prizes and honours awarded, and we are proud to have two new members installed at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Peter Schoenmakers received the Csaba Horváth Memorial award and the 20th annual CASSS award, both honourable distinctions in the field of separation science. Professor Bas de Bruin was elected Faculty Lecturer of the Year 2015 and subsequently UvA Lecturer of the Year 2015 by faculty and university student representatives. In recognition of our efforts in the field of art conservation and restoration, HIMS joined the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS), a nationwide initiative establishing a cohesive research program in close cooperation with and active involvement of the cultural heritage field.

Reserch priority area Sustainable Chemistry

The RPA Sustainable Chemistry is very active at many different levels. The valorisation possibilities have been discussed with the Industrial Advisory Board in October 2015, several scientific meetings have been organized on various topics, and the student exchange program has started. A NWO-TOP-PUNT grant has been submitted (and awarded), and the new TT staff members have started their research programs. Also the post-doc program has started, leading to joined research projects, connecting various research themes of HIMS. The research is of high level, with many scientific papers produced. A wonderful example of valorisation is that Germany’s oldest gold and silver refining company is evaluating a catalyst for waste effluent treatment that was developed and patented within the RPA Sustainable Chemistry.

To conclude, 2015 was successful scientifically, and also in terms of valorisation, organisation of several events for science and education. These and many highlights of the institute are described in the HIMS annual report 2015.