2020 RCE Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award Winner: Carmine D’Agostino

It is our great pleasure to announce Dr Carmine D’Agostino (University of Manchester, UK) as the winner of the 2020 Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award.

This is in recognition of his leadership of the paper:

In situ high-pressure 13C/1H NMR reaction studies of benzyl alcohol oxidation over a Pd/Al2O3 catalyst
by Carmine D’Agostino, Mick D. Mantle and Lynn F. Gladden
React. Chem. Eng., 2020, 5, 1053-1057
DOI: 10.1039/c9re00489k

PDF Infographic

Please join us in congratulating Dr D’Agostino!

About the winner

Carmine D’Agostino received his BEng and MEng in Chemical Engineering at the Universita’ di Napoli “Federico II” and a PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Prof. Lynn Gladden. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at The University of Manchester. His research focuses on diffusion, dynamics and adsorption of complex fluids and fluids within porous structures, with applications in catalysis, sustainable process engineering and CO2 capture and conversion. He received several awards, including the Young Scientist Award at the International Congress on Catalysis, the Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Emerging Investigator, the Junior Moulton medal from the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and a prestigious Junior Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge.

 

An interview with Dr Carmine D’Agostino

Can you briefly summarise this paper?

This work investigates high-pressure aerobic catalytic oxidation reactions over heterogeneous catalyst surfaces using in-situ NMR spectroscopy for monitoring non-invasively reaction kinetics, diffusion and adsorption.

 

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

Traditional catalytic studies focus on the analysis of reaction products and kinetics carried out by sampling the bulk liquid surrounding the catalyst particles and using an off-line analytical tool, such as a GC for example. In addition, aspects such as diffusion and adsorption are often neglected, yet in practical terms are very important aspects to consider when engineering a catalytic process. Using our in-situ NMR approach, we are able to detect directly and in real-time what is happening inside the nanopores of the heterogeneous catalyst used to catalyse the oxidation reaction, hence we obtain intra-particle information on the reaction. In particular, we can probe the evolution of reaction products as they form inside the catalyst pores and, in addition to that, monitor mass transport by diffusion and adsorption phenomena, giving a comprehensive picture of the physico-chemical phenomena within the reaction system at a pore-scale level.

Among the main challenges encountered, one was certainly the design of a suitable high-pressure reactor for NMR studies, which had to be made without metals in order to be compatible with the magnetic fields involved in the experiments. In addition, we also needed to think about detection and quantification of NMR signal, which was not straightforward to do when having reactive fluids in porous catalysts.

This proof-of-concept demonstrates that it is possible to use NMR for monitoring high-pressure catalytic reactions and this can be very beneficial, for example it is non-invasive and we can potentially detect products or intermediates ‘trapped’ inside the catalyst pores and therefore not detected by analysis of bulk fluid.

Where do you see the future of your field of work in the next five years?

Our work was focused on a proof-of-concept using a relatively simple catalytic reaction, an oxidation of an alcohol. The application of the same concept to more complex reaction pathways could certainly be part of future work in this area. There are for example more complex oxidation processes, such as those involving glycerol as the feedstock, whereby product distribution is complex and many of these products can remain within the catalyst due to slow diffusion and desorption. Using in-situ NMR in such cases could certainly provide new insights into these systems. Another area of interest could be on the study of gas-phase reaction systems, such as methanation and CO2 conversion.

How do you feel about Reaction Chemistry & Engineering as a place to publish research on this topic?

Reaction Chemistry & Engineering was indeed the ideal journal for this work, which has strong chemistry components but also encompasses key aspects of chemical and reaction engineering, for example the investigation of mass transport and adsorption. I think the journal does excellently in bridging aspects of chemistry and engineering and is the ideal forum for many inter-disciplinary works in these areas.

How do you like to spend your time when not doing research?

Apart from my academic work, I enjoy playing musical instruments such as piano or electric guitar (I used to play at departmental annual dinners as well!), watch science fiction and fantasy movies, spending time with my family, hiking and walking in natural reserves, and well, I still play videogames sometimes, especially those that reminds me of my childhood! I also enjoy cooking and making cakes, I can make a very nice and authentic Italian Tiramisu’ and even some complex recipes of the region where I am from, the Campania region of Italy.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom for those beginning their research career?

I think the main key drivers to success in research are enthusiasm, motivation and curiosity. There are of course other important skills such as organisational and communication skills, but without those underpinning drivers, I think they are not enough. Research work can be quite frustrating sometimes, especially when plans are not working and everything seems to be going in the wrong direction. I remember often during my PhD when experiments were not working and I used to feel very frustrated and demoralised. What made me go ahead was exactly the enthusiasm I had about the work I was doing and the curiosity to find out or discover more about the field of research I was working on, and I try to transmit these values also to my PhD students.

 

About the award

The aim of the Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award is to recognise a researcher in the earlier stages of their research career for their leadership in reporting original research published in the journal.

The journal Editorial Board award this prize annually, selecting the paper which they find to demonstrate the highest quality of research, as well as importance to the advancement of the field of reaction engineering, out of all qualifying papers published in the journal each year.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for this award, the candidate must:

  • Be listed as a corresponding author on the paper
  • Currently be an independent research leader
  • Have either a) received their PhD on or after 1st January of the year 12 years prior to the award year (2008 for prize year 2020) or b) spent no more than an equivalent amount of time in research when taking into account any career breaks.
  • Not be a previous winner of this award

Selection Process

In order to choose the winner of the 2020 Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award, a shortlist of articles that were published throughout the year were selected by the editorial office and then subsequently assessed by the journal’s Editorial Board members. The winner was selected based upon the significance, impact and quality of the research.

Prize

The winner of the Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award will receive an engraved plaque, a bespoke infographic from Impact Science for the winning paper and £500 cash award that would be used for conference travel/attendance of their choice.

To have your paper considered for the 2021 Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award, indicate when prompted upon submission of your revised manuscript if a corresponding author of the paper fulfils these criteria. Multiple eligible authors of a winning paper will share the prize fund equally. You can contact the editors at reactionchemeng-rsc@rsc.org if you have any queries.

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Announcing our new Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Associate Editor and Editorial Board members

RCE standard header

We are excited to announce a new Associate Editor and two new members to our Editorial Board. Please join us in welcoming these esteemed members of the international reaction engineering and reaction chemistry research community to our Editorial Board:
  • Francesca Paradisi, Associate Editor (University of Bern, Switzerland)
  • Richard Bourne, Editorial Board (University of Leeds, UK)
  • Heather Kulik, Editorial Board (MIT, USA)

In celebration, we have collated some of their recently published work in RSC journals to introduce our community to their areas of research and expertise. This papers in this collection are either Open Access, or free for anyone to read until 1st December 2021.

Read their articles here 

Read on for more information about our new Editorial Board members below:


Francesca Paradisi

Professor of Sustainable Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Department of Chemistry, University of Bern
Switzerland

Prof. Paradisi graduated in Chemistry from the University of Bologna were she remained also for her PhD in synthetic organic chemistry. In 2002 she joined the group of Prof. Engel at University College Dublin for her post doc and started working in the area of Biocatalysis. After a brief stint in Enzolve Technologies, a spinoff company, in 2005, she got her first academic position in the School of Chemistry in UCD in 2006 where she remained till 2016. She was recruited then by the University of Nottingham as Associate Professor in Biocatalysis and promoted to Full Professor in 2019. In the same year however, she was offered the Chair of Sustainable Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Bern and relocated to Switzerland. She is the recipient of the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Award 2021 jointly sponsored by the Swiss Chemical Society and Syngenta for her ground-breaking work in developing eco-friendly and ultra-efficient biotransformations for the synthesis of high-value chemicals, dramatically increasing the applicability of biocatalysis.

As a Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Associate Editor, Professor Francesca Paradisi will provide expertise in particular in the fields of:

  • Biocatalysis
  • Enzyme Engineering

Group website

 


Richard A. Bourne

Professor of Digital Chemical Manufacturing
Institute of Process Research and Development (IPRD)
University of Leeds, UK

Richard A Bourne is currently Professor of Digital Chemical Manufacturing at the University of Leeds based at the Institute of Process Research and Development (IPRD) at Leeds, working on rapid process development and continuous flow chemistry. His research group is particularly focused on rapid optimisation of pharmaceutical processes using automated systems. Richard is a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair working on Digital Discovery and Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals.

The Bourne group works on the development of new sustainable processes with focus on continuous flow routes to pharmaceutical and fine chemical products. His group is based within the Institute of Process Research (IPRD) at Leeds and he is particularly interested in the use of automated flow systems combining online analysis, feedback control and evolutionary algorithms to provide process understanding and optimisation. This particularly interdisciplinary research at the interface between Chemistry and Chemical Engineering aims to develop processes at laboratory, pilot plant and manufacturing scales.

He is leading a 4 year EPSRC project ‘Cognitive Chemical Manufacturing’ that is developing an Industry 4.0 approach coupling machine learning algorithms to a cyber-physical reactor platform.

Group website


Heather J. Kulik

Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering
MIT, USA

Heather J. Kulik is an Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering at MIT. She received her B.E. in Chemical Engineering from Cooper Union in 2004 and her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT in 2009. She completed postdocs at Lawrence Livermore (2010) and Stanford (2010−2013), prior to returning to MIT as a faculty member in 2013 and receiving tenure in 2021.

Her work has been recognized by a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface (2012-2017), Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2018), DARPA Young Faculty Award (2018), AAAS Marion Milligan Mason Award (2019-2020), NSF CAREER Award (2019), the Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research “Class of Influential Researchers”, the ACS COMP Division OpenEye Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty in Computational Chemistry, the JPCB Lectureship (ACS PHYS), the DARPA Director’s Fellowship (2020), MSDE Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award (2021), and a Sloan Fellowship (2021).

Research in the Kulik group leverages computational modelling to aid the discovery of new materials and mechanisms. The group uses first-principles modelling to unearth fundamental aspects of structure-property relationships in catalysts and materials. By taking a computational approach, they carry out studies that allow them to make connections across a wide range of catalytic systems from biological enzymes to emerging heterogeneous single-atom catalysts. They develop computational software and machine learning models that accelerate the discovery of new materials and design rules. This approach enables the prediction of new materials properties in seconds, the exploration of million-compound design spaces, and the identification of design rules and exceptions that go beyond intuition. To ensure the predictive power of their approach, the group develops new methods to increase the accuracy of density functional theory especially for materials with challenging electronic structure such as transition metal complexes and solids.

Group website


Submit now!

Please join us in welcoming our new Associate Editor and Editorial Board members!

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Emerging Investigator Series – Ulrich Hintermair

Ulrich Hintermair studied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in Würzburg and Lyon, finishing with a Master project at the University of St Andrews. After a PhD on continuous-flow catalysis using supercritical fluids with Walter Leitner at Aachen, he was a Humboldt fellow with Bob Crabtree at Yale University. In 2013, he started his independent career at the CSCT in Bath where he currently holds a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. Besides fundamental coordination chemistry and organometallic synthesis, he is most interested in finding out how catalytic reactions work, for which his team uses a combination of online and in-situ analytical techniques (see https://www.bath.ac.uk/research-facilities/dynamic-reaction-monitoring-facility/).

Read his Emerging Investigator article “Engineering Aspects of FlowNMR Spectroscopy Setups for Online Analysis of Solution-Phase Processes” and read more about him in the interview below:

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

I’m convinced that there are many exciting opportunities for “real life” analytics in a number of areas if one moves away from the old adapt-your-sample-to-the-analysis doctrine and starts modifying instruments to suit the application in question. A challenge in doing this is to assemble a team that includes instrument manufacturers that are open to the idea, but you’d be surprised what is possible if you find the right people.

 

Keep up to date with Ulrich and his research by finding him on Twitter (@HintermairLab & @DreamFacility)

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Emerging Investigator Series – Elizabeth Biddinger

 

Elizabeth J. Biddinger is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at The City College of New York, CUNY. Her research group focuses on green chemistry and energy applications including the electrification of chemical processes that transform wastes or renewable resources into valuable materials, chemicals or fuels for decarbonization and sustainability; and the use of ionic liquids as electrolytes in electrochemical systems for improved performance and safety. Prior to joining City College in 2012, she was a post-doctoral fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology. Professor Biddinger received her PhD in chemical engineering in 2010 from The Ohio State University and her B.S. in chemical engineering in 2005 from Ohio University.

 

Read her Emerging Investigator article “Kinetics of furfural electrochemical hydrogenation and hydrogenolysis in acidic media on copper” and read more about her in the interview below:

How do you feel about Reaction Chemistry & Engineering as a place to publish?

Our paper was on determining the mechanism and kinetics of the electrochemical hydrogenation and hydrogenolysis of biomass-derived furfural to furfuryl alcohol and 2-methyl furan on copper in acidic electrolytes. Reaction Chemistry & Engineering was a great fit for this paper because we used traditional catalytic and reaction engineering methods to look at an electrochemical reaction. The topic fit the journal well and the readership will appreciate the techniques that we used. We hope that the readership agrees with us too!

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

I’m excited right now about all of the opportunities that exist to decarbonize and make more sustainable chemical manufacturing using electrochemical techniques. We are currently at a crossroads as a society with what to do about our CO2 emissions and our resource utilization. In other sectors such as transportation we are much further along in what solutions look like than where we are in chemical manufacturing. We have an opportunity to completely re-think how we make chemicals and fuels. The utilization of renewable electricity to power chemical processes such as electrochemical reactors is one such way that we can produce chemicals and fuels for the next era. To push the vision of decarbonizing chemical manufacturing forward, I am excited to be Deputy Director of the Center for Decarbonizing Chemical Manufacturing Using Sustainable Electrification (DC-MUSE) that has just formed. The biggest challenge to this vision is that we’ve been making chemicals and fuels the same way for more than a century. That’s a lot of inertia that we have to go against to make such a drastic change. Ultimately, I think the pressure to address CO2 emissions and sustainability will become enabling to new technologies.

Where does my research fit in with all of this specifically? My group focuses on the electrochemical reactions. We have to understand the behaviour of the electrochemical reactions to be able to design the reactors and implement them at scale. The fundamental knowledge we develop will be applied by others in implementation. The biggest challenge in our own research is making sure the tools we utilize will allow us to answer the questions about mechanisms, kinetics, parameter effects and so on when the reactions are complicated – multiple pathways, side reactions, etc. We’ve taken to methodically evaluating what the nuances of the reactions we are studying are and then are able to better control them to probe our specific questions at hand

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Get engaged in your respective professional societies early. Volunteer for positions and activities. By doing this, you will develop your network quickly. It’s so great to be able to reach out to senior members of your field with questions or collaboration ideas and have them know who you are because of your society engagement. Society engagement is also a great place to meet fellow early careers scientists and engineers who may be going through the same things as you, getting started. In the end, it’s all very rewarding.

 

Keep up to date with Elizabeth and her research by following her on Twitter @EJBiddinger and connect with her on LinkedIn

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Emerging Investigator Series – Juan Bolivar

Dr. Juan M. Bolivar is a chemical engineer and PhD in sciences. He has been researcher at Institute of Catalysis (ICP-CSIC, Madrid) and university assistant at the Graz University of Technology (Austria), and currently he is Senior Research Associate at Complutense University of Madrid within excellence programme “Atracción de Talento” of Madrid Government. His current interest lies in industrial biotechnology, enzyme catalysis, and bioprocess engineering in the context of integrated biorefineries and sustainable chemistry.

Read his Emerging Investigator article “Framework of the kinetic analysis of O2-dependent oxidative biocatalysts for reaction intensification” and read more about him in the interview below:

How do you feel about Reaction Chemistry & Engineering as a place to publish?

In our group we are very fascinated about research at the interface of chemical engineering and biocatalysis in the context of integrated biorefineries. We are convinced that the elucidation and quantification of the phenomena driving enzyme-catalyzed reactions from an engineering perspective will have a important contribution in the better understanding and implementation of biocatalysis in the modern sustainable chemistry. In this regard, RCE offers a wonderful venue for the meeting of chemists, engineers and (bio)technologists, where we feel very pleased to contribute.

 

Keep up to date with Juan and his research by following his Twitter @jmbbolivar

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Emerging Investigator Series – Upendra Sharma

 

Dr. Upendra Sharma started his independent research in the fall of 2014, and his group research focus involves transition-metal-catalyzed remote C-H activation/functionalization under thermal/light conditions. His group also works in the area of plant product chemistry. Mainly his group is looking for new antimalarial molecules either through metal-catalyzed modification of quinolines or from natural sources. In 2016, Dr. Sharma got the Thieme Chemistry Journal Award and Manjushree Pal Memorial Award for Best Oral Presentation from Ethanopharmacology Society of India, Kolkata in 2017. Currently, he is an Early Career Advisory Board member in the Asian Journal of Organic Chemistry. Currently, Dr. Sharma is editing an issue in Frontier in Chemistry on the special topic on C-H activation/functionalization. He has published >120 research articles in reputed international journals and filed four patents to date.

Read his Emerging Investigator article “α-Oxygenation of N-Aryl/Alky Heterocyclic Compounds via Ruthenium-Photocatalysis” and read more about him in the interview below:

 

How do you feel about Reaction Chemistry & Engineering as a place to publish?

It is a great experience to publish in RCE as this journal has a unique scope, and it’s always great to follow this journal as most of the published articles contain in-depth information on respective topics.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

Selective functionalization of C-H bond in complex/natural molecules under photocatalytic conditions is most the exciting and challenging. Undoubtedly, we and others developed various catalytic methods, and the process is continuing, but applying these methods in a complex setup is always challenging.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

Natural processes continuously happening in Mother Nature are complex and inspirational for synthetic chemists. So the central question I always ask is how we can mimic these reactions to synthesize valuable molecules?

Developing photocatalytic conditions for most challenging reactions like functionalization of complex/natural molecules is the major question we wish to address in the next 5-10 years.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Never follow any advice, just follow your inner voice and passion for research.

 

Keep up to date with Upendra and his research by visiting his group website here.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Gianvito Vilé

Dr. Gianvito Vilé is a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, where he heads the Nanocatalysis Lab. He studied Chemical Engineering in Italy and obtained a PhD in Chemical Engineering at ETH Zurich with a thesis on the design of catalytic materials and flow reactors for selective hydrogenation. Before joining Politecnico di Milano, he was a Lab Head at Idorsia Pharmaceuticals, where he applied enabling technologies (flow chemistry, high-throughput synthesis, process intensification and single-atom catalysis) to reactions encountered in drug discovery. His group in Milano is designing novel structured catalysts and reactor concepts for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and for the circular recycling of waste contaminants.

Read his Emerging Investigator article “Surface engineering of a Cu-based heterogeneous catalyst for efficient azide–alkyne click cycloaddition” and read more about his in the interview below:

How do you feel about Reaction Chemistry & Engineering as a place to publish?

RCE is the reference journal to publish research contributions where fundamental molecular chemistry meets chemical engineering and technology. No other journal is so engaged in covering new methodologies, molecular-level understanding of reaction mechanisms, and practical solutions for process development. This is the reason why I regularly choose RCE as the optimal place for my contributions, and I am also happy to act as a regular Reviewer for this journal, contributing to its development.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

I am currently working at the interface of single-atom catalysis and flow chemistry. Single-atom catalysis is a rapidly-developing field embracing both homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to publish key developments on single-atom catalyst design for hydrogenations and C-C couplings. I am now trying to understand the structure and function of these new materials. I am also exploring unconventional catalytic applications, integrating those catalysts in continuous-flow reactors for sustainable technologies.
The most exciting part of my work is going to the lab every day and remaining at the forefront of science with new (surprising) results. I am also excited about working together with my highly-motivated doctoral and postdoctoral students. The challenging part is encouraging and inspiring these junior researchers to develop their vision for the future. I hope to be a good mentor for them.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

Transforming today’s pharmaceutical and chemical processes, and making them more sustainable without affecting productivity levels, is one of the biggest challenges mankind has ever faced. It means, transforming the way we do almost everything.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

An important piece of career-related advice for early-career scientists is “never set up artificial divisions in science and do not be afraid of taking new paths”. To solve today’s problems, we need an interdisciplinary approach. The best way to develop this is through interactions with engineers, chemists, biologists, material scientists, and industrial specialists. In academia we tend to disregard industrial research, although this has also contributed in the past to important breakthroughs. Young scientists may also think that an unconventional career path in science may be detrimental for future development. I worked in research settings in academia and industry. In both places, I had fantastic (and science-driven) mentors. Both experiences were very transformative for me

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Announcing our first Associate Editors for Reaction Chemistry & Engineering

RCE standard header

We are excited to announce that peer review in Reaction Chemistry & Engineering will be handled by our new panel of expert Associate Editors. Please join us in welcoming these esteemed members of the international reaction engineering and reaction chemistry research community to our Editorial Board:

  • Ian R. Baxendale (Durham University, UK)
  • Saif A. Khan (National University of Singapore)
  • Laura Torrente Murciano (University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Haihui Wang (Tsinghua University, China)

 


 

Reaction Chemistry & Engineering has selected Associate Editors from the chemistry and chemical engineering communities to provide a fast and insight review process for contributors to the Journal.  I would like to thank the new Associate Editors for taking on this important role in facilitating top notch research publications bridging chemistry and chemical engineering research.”

Editor-in-Chief Professor Klavs F. Jensen

 

 

 


Our Associate Editors are all now welcoming submissions of cutting-edge research at the interface of chemistry and chemical engineering.

Submit your article today

We have collected some recent publications from our new Associate Editors. This papers in this collection are either Open Access, or free for anyone to read until 01 June 2021.

Read our Associate Editors’ articles now

Read on for more information about our new Associate Editors!

 


Ian R. BaxendaleIan R. Baxendale

Professor & Chair of Synthetic Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
Durham University, UK

Ian Baxendale is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry, University of Durham, UK. He works on the design and implementation of new technologies to enable complex chemical syntheses, including flow synthesis, automated methodologies, microwave reactors and immobilised reagents and scavengers. Ian previously co-founded the Innovative Technology Centre, Cambridge and spin out company Reaxa Ltd with Prof. Steven Ley. He gives teaching lectures and runs lab training for industrial and academic researchers to learn more about his methods, as well as acting as a scientific consultant to a number of companies.

 

As a Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Associate Editor, Professor Ian R. Baxendale will provide expertise in particular in the fields of:

  • Chemical synthesis in continuous flow
  • Enabling technologies for chemical synthesis
  • Synthesis automation methodologies

Group website


Saif A. KhanSaif A. Khan

Associate Professor & Deputy Head of Department
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
National University of Singapore

Saif Khan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the National University of Singapore, Singapore, and a Scientific Editor for Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, helping to ensure that articles meet the stringent criteria required for publication in the journal. He works on the design and analysis of chemical reactors which perhaps go beyond the familiar – think reactions in bubbles, droplets and foams. His platform of choice is microfluidic systems, which allow the control of transport properties and non-equilibrium conditions for efficient, economical and sustainable chemical synthesis.

Dr Khan was a R. T. Haslam Presidential Fellow at MIT prior to moving to Singapore.

As a Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Associate Editor, Professor Saif A. Khan will provide expertise in particular in the fields of:

  • Design and analysis of chemical reactors
  • Chemical and biological microfluidics
  • Multiphase fluid physics

Group website


Laura Torrente MurcianoLaura Torrente Murciano

Reader in Reaction Engineering and Catalysis
Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
University of Cambridge, UK

Laura Torrente is a lecturer in the Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology Department at the University of Cambridge and an EPSRC Fellow in Manufacturing. She is a member of the UK Catalysis Hub, Energy@Cambridge and the NanoCDT. Prior to this, she was a lecturer at the University of Bath, Research Associated at Imperial College London and worked as R&D Engineer at Repsol YPF (Spain).

As a Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Associate Editor, Dr Laura Torrente Murciano will provide expertise in particular in the fields of:

  • Process integration and catalysis
  • Synthesis of nanostructured materials
  • Energy and sustainable processes

Group website


Haihui WangHaihui Wang

Professor
Beijing Key Laboratory for Membrane Materials and Engineering
Tsinghua University

Haihui Wang is a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Tsinghua University, China. He works on the inorganic membranes for clean energy and clear environment including membrane separation, membrane reactor, electrocatalysis and batteries. He received the Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in 2003 and got the Distinguished Young Scientist Foundation, National Nature Science Foundation of China in 2012. He was a Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry since 2016.

As a Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Associate Editor, Professor Haihui Wang will provide expertise in particular in the fields of:

  • Inorganic membrane separation
  • Membrane catalysis reactors
  • New energy materials

Group website


Submit now!

Please join us in welcoming our new Associate Editors!

Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Editorial Office

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Introducing the RCE Emerging Investigators Series

Since the first issue of Reaction Chemistry & Engineering in 2016, the journal has showcased two special issues dedicated to work carried out by researchers in the earlier stages of their research careers:

We hope the reaction engineering community has found these issues to be valuable, both in the high quality of the articles and in drawing attention to newer voices in the community. The journal editors and Editorial Board consider these issues in particular to have been highly successful.

In light of the disruption to research programmes worldwide in 2020 we have taken the opportunity to reassess the format of this initiative.

We are now excited to announce the launch of the Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Emerging Investigators Series.

What is changing?

In place of a dedicated journal issue, Emerging Investigators papers will be published throughout each year. We anticipate the following benefits to this change:

  • No fixed submission deadlines allowing more flexibility for authors
  • Continual exposure of exciting work from early-career members of the community
  • Greater emphasis and focus on individual authors and research groups

We hope for this to help address the immediate concern of disrupted research schedules, while also offering a better service to our authors and readers well into the future.

What is not changing?

While we will no longer dedicate a specific journal issue to our Emerging Investigators, all other aspects of this initiative will remain the same. This includes:

  • Eligibility criteria (see below)
  • A dedicated web page for published articles alongside our other collections
  • Rigour and speed in peer review
  • An overall objective to showcase the full diversity of cutting-edge research carried out by newer voices in the reaction engineering community worldwide.

The Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Emerging Investigators Series will also remain an invitation-only initiative, with nominations curated by our Editorial and Advisory Board members. We will however consider additional applications and nominations on their own merit.

What happens now?

The Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Editorial Office will contact nominated Emerging Investigators throughout the year.

Regarding eligibility, contributors must:

  • Publish research within the journal scope
  • Currently be an independent research leader
  • Have not been featured as an Emerging Investigator in a previous Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Emerging Investigators issue or series article.
  • Have either a) received their PhD no earlier than 01 January of the year 12 years prior to the year of submission, or b) have no more than 12 years of post-PhD research experience on 01 January in the year of submission when taking into account any career breaks.

(For example: for submission in 2021 an eligible contributor must have either a) a PhD awarded on or after 01 January 2009, or b) no more than 12 years of post-PhD research experience by 01 January 2021)

Authors previously featured as Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Emerging Investigators may with no restriction be co-authors on subsequent papers in the Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Emerging Investigators Series, but they may not be the sole eligible corresponding author, and will not be featured as Emerging Investigators more than once.

Contributors will be required to confirm their eligibility by sending their CV to the journal editors.

Footnote on our Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award

You may note that the eligibility criteria for the Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Emerging Investigators Series are the same as for the annual journal Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award.

Read more about the 2019 winner Prof. Heidrun Gruber-Woelfler

All papers published as part of the Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Emerging Investigators Series will automatically be considered for this award, unless the featured author is a previous winner of this award.

Subsequent papers published in the journal by previously-featured Emerging Investigators will still qualify for consideration for the Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award if they meet the Award criteria, unless the featured author is a previous winner of this award. Their subsequent papers will however not be eligible for inclusion in the Emerging Investigators Series. For authors in this situation we repeat the following guidance:

To have your paper considered for the annual Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award, indicate when prompted upon submission of your revised manuscript if a corresponding author of the paper fulfils these criteria. Multiple eligible authors of a winning paper will share the prize fund equally. You can contact the editors at reactionchemeng-rsc@rsc.org if you have any queries.

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2019 RCE Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award Winner: Heidrun Gruber-Woelfler

It is our great pleasure to announce Professor Heidrun Gruber-Woelfler (TU Graz, Austria) as the winner of the inaugural (2019) Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award.

This is in recognition of her leadership of the paper

Development of customized 3D printed stainless steel reactors with inline oxygen sensors for aerobic oxidation of Grignard reagents in continuous flow
by Manuel C. Maier, René Lebl, Philipp Sulzer, Josef Lechner, Torsten Mayr, Matej Zadravec, Eyke Slama, Stefan Pfanner, Christoph Schmölzer, Peter Pöchlauer, C. Oliver Kappe and Heidrun Gruber-Woelfler
React. Chem. Eng., 2019, 4, 393-401
DOI: 10.1039/C8RE00278A

Part of the special issue Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Emerging Investigators 2019

This paper is free to access until 31 December 2020.

Please join us in congratulating Professor Gruber-Woelfler!

 

About the winner

Assoc. Prof. Heidrun Gruber-WoelflerAssoc. Prof. Heidrun Gruber-Woelfler studied technical chemistry at Graz University of Technology, Austria with a focus on chemical engineering. After her PhD dealing with organometallic catalysis, she did her Post-Doc in the area of continuous processes for the synthesis and purification of active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished her habilitation (venia docendi) in the field of Pharmaceutical Engineering in 2018.

Since 2007 she is the head of the research group “Continuous Processes” at the Institute of Process and Particle Engineering, Graz University of Technology and since July 2017 Deputy Director of the Center of Continuous Flow Synthesis and Processing (CCFlow) in Graz. Her current projects deal with heterogeneous (bio)catalysis for API synthesis, design and optimization of continuous processes, reactor design including additive manufacturing as well as real-time analyses.

 

An interview with Professor Gruber-Woelfler

Can you briefly summarise this paper?

In this paper our concept for the development of different customized 3D printed stainless steel reactors is presented. Starting with a 3D printed micro CSTR cascade as a tool to determine the reaction rate and in combination with computational fluid dynamics simulations, a split-and-recombine reactor was designed with novel 3D printed three-dimensional structures and adapted exactly to the requirements of aerobic oxidations of Grignard reagents.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

Although these are currently definitely challenging times, I am really excited about technologies such as additive manufacturing and computer aided design and optimization. In combination with a genius and interdisciplinary team, there are currently so many fascinating possibilities to improve and redesign traditional approaches.

Where do you see the field of reactor engineering in five years?

As already mentioned, the fields of continuous processing, computer aided design and optimization, additive manufacturing and real-time analyses will get even more important in chemical reactor engineering. Currently, modern reactor manufacturing is often compared with the LEGO® technology. However, 3D printing is even better because you have almost unlimited possibilities to design your own LEGO® bricks or the complete set-up.

How do you feel about Reaction Chemistry & Engineering as a place to publish research on this topic?

The journal of Reaction Chemistry & Engineering is definitely an open-minded place where the mentioned topics are published and shared with a large readership.

How do you like to spend your time when not doing research?

When not doing research or teaching, I try to spend maximum time with our kids outdoors.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom for those beginning their research career?

Every single project as well as every phase in life has its ups and downs. Even if others tell you that your way might not be the direct one, keep your track and continue walking and you will soon enjoy the view from the top.

 

About the award

The aim of the Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award is to recognise a researcher in the earlier stages of their research career for their leadership in reporting original research published in the journal.

The journal Editorial Board award this prize annually, selecting the paper which they find to demonstrate the highest quality of research, as well as importance to the advancement of the field of reaction engineering, out of all qualifying papers published in the journal each year.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for this award, the candidate must:

  • Be listed as a corresponding author on the paper
  • Currently be an independent research leader
  • Have either a) received their PhD on or after 1st January of the year 12 years prior to the award year (2007 for prize year 2019) or b) spent no more than an equivalent amount of time in research when taking into account any career breaks.
  • Not be a previous winner of this award

Selection Process

In order to choose the winner of the 2019 Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award, a shortlist of articles that were published throughout the year were selected by the editorial office and then subsequently assessed by the journal’s Editorial Board members. The winner was selected based upon the significance, impact and quality of the research.

Prize

The winner of the Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award will receive an engraved plaque and a travel bursary of £500 to use towards a meeting (or meetings) of their choice.

To have your paper considered for the 2020 Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Outstanding Early-Career Paper Award, indicate when prompted upon submission of your revised manuscript if a corresponding author of the paper fulfils these criteria. Multiple eligible authors of a winning paper will share the prize fund equally. You can contact the editors at reactionchemeng-rsc@rsc.org if you have any queries.

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