2023 Journal of Materials Chemistry Lectureship runners-up: Kwabena Bediako and Laure Biniek

Congratulations to our 2023 Journal of Materials Chemistry Lectureship runners-up, Dr Kwabena Bediako and Dr Laure Biniek

This year, Dr Jovana Milić from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland was selected as the recipient of the 2023 Journal of Materials Chemistry Lectureship. While we can only award one winner, we wanted to recognise two runners-up for their impressive contributions to materials chemistry and as emerging leaders in the field.

Congratulations to Dr Kwabena Bediako (University of California, Berkeley, USA) and Dr Laure Biniek (Institut Charles Sadron, CNRS- Strasbourg, France) for being selected as the runners-up of the 2023 Journal of Materials Chemistry Lectureship.


 Kwabena Bediako was born in Ghana, West Africa. He moved to the US in 2004 for his undergraduate studies in Chemistry at Calvin College, MI, graduating with honours in 2008. After a year working at UOP Honeywell in IL where he researched new catalysts for the petrochemical and gas processing industries, he travelled from the Midwest to the East Coast to begin his graduate studies in Inorganic Chemistry with Prof. Daniel Nocera at MIT (and later Harvard University). His graduate research focused on structural and mechanistic studies of water splitting electrocatalysis at cobalt and nickel compounds. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2015 from Harvard University, Kwabena began postdoctoral work in Prof. Philip Kim’s group in the Department of Physics at Harvard, where he studied ion intercalation and quantum transport in 2D van der Waals heterostructures. In July 2018, Kwabena joined the faculty of the UC Berkeley Department of Chemistry.

Laure Biniek is a CNRS researcher at the Institut Charles Sadron (ICS, France). She studied chemistry and then polymer science at the University of Lyon. She earned her Ph.D in the chemistry of low band gap polymers from the University of Strasbourg in 2010. Her postdoctoral training, completed at Imperial College London in Iain McCulloch’s group, focused on the synthesis and characterization of semi-conducting polymers for organic photovoltaics and field effect transistors. After gaining experience in structural analysis under the guidance of Martin Brinkmann at the Institut Charles Sadron (as a second postdoc), she contributed to the development of the high-temperature rubbing technique for the alignment of conjugated polymers. Currently, she is focused on researching structure-property correlations and is actively involved in developing bulk porous conducting polymers for thermoelectric applications. Since 2020, she also leads the discussions on societal responsibilities and sustainable development at ICS. Her role is to evaluate the Institute’s environmental impact and to facilitate the implementation of trajectories aimed at reducing green-house gas emission.


Discover some of Kwabena and Laure’s RSC publications in this Lectureship runners- up web collection

Check out our interview with Kwabena and Laure below:

How did you feel when you were announced as a runner-up of the 2023 Journal of Materials Chemistry Lectureship?

KB: I was delighted to have been nominated, and so when I received news that I was one of the runners up, I was very honoured. It is a great honour to be counted among those who have received this commendation in the past.

LB: I had to read the announcement email several times, it was a wonderful surprise. There are many excellent young scientists who deserve to be recognized for their contribution to the field of materials science. It was a real honour to have been nominated, and even more to be selected among them.

Which of your Journal of Materials Chemistry publications are you most proud of and why?

LB: If I had to pick just one, it would be the most recent (Q. Weinbach et al., JMCC 2023). It was an exciting and challenging project to implement structural control of conjugated polymer on a few cm scale. Experimenting with ice crystallization (to create patterns on the material, but also to visualize its structure by cryo-electron microscopy) was really enjoyable. It was also a great human experience to guide super dynamic young scientists and work together with material characterization specialists.

 At which upcoming conferences may our community meet you?

KB: I will be attending the Fall Materials Research Society meeting in Boston in November 2023.

LB: I will be happy to meet you at E-MRS (Strasbourg May 2024), ICSM (Dresden, June 2024) or ECT/ICT (Krakow, July 2024).

What do you like to do in your free time?

KB: I enjoy watching soccer and playing with my kids.

LB: I am quite active, even in my spare time. It’s a balanced combination of recharging my batteries in nature (hiking, climbing, sightseeing,…) and working for a more inclusive, cooperative and sustainable society (within various non-profit organizations).

Do you have any advice for Early-Career researchers who wish to be nominated for the 2024 JMC Lectureship award?

KB: Don’t be shy about asking someone to nominate you (and this applies more generally to any awards/honours for which you are eligible). 

LB: Publishing your best works in JMC and communicating your research to your scientific community are certainly important. Do not forget to highlight your communication to the general public and your service to the community. Good luck with the 2024 award.

Related posts:

2023 Journal of Materials Chemistry Lectureship winner: Jovana Milić

2023 Journal of Materials Chemistry Lectureship shortlisted candidates

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