Kick-Off Your Online Presence

On January 19, MCEC organized a kick-off 2021 meeting for all its members.

We gave the floor to our MT-members and tenure track assistant-professors

For all PhD’s and postdocs there was an interesting and fun workshop on the topic of developing your ‘online presence’. Felix Weijdema (UU) gave the workshop ”Improve Your Online Presence” in which he talked about what steps you can take to disseminate your work online in novel and engaging ways, and hence increase the impact of your research on science and society.

You will find the presentation slides of the ”Improve Your Online Presence”-workshop, on the MCEC MS Teams page.

MCEC School 2020

MCEC School 2020 (Online)

On October 26-28, we organized the 5th MCEC School for the PhD students and Postdocs as part of their training program. Due to the rules instated to stop the spreading of the coronavirus, this year’s school has been organized from our home offices. The program consisted of basic and advanced lectures with emphasis on multiscale and multidisciplinary approach. 

See the MCEC School 2020 program

On behalf of the Education Committee, a warm thank you to all who participated in this year’s MCEC School. We look back on a very informative week in which we enjoyed a lot of interesting guest lectures  as well as research talks from MCEC members, and overall learned a lot of new things.

With several introductory talks and the close involvement of our students, this year’s digital MCEC School featured a lot of made-to-measure knowledge. The lectures and tutorials, combined with a pubquiz and some highly interactive case studies, as well as good company and conversations, made for a very insightful three days.

Introduction Monday
After a word of welcome from the chair of Team Education Hans Kuipers, the first day of the MCEC School 2020 started off with a lecture on ‘Mass transport for Membrane Technology’, given by Prof. Rob Lammertink. At Twente University, Prof. Lammertink works in a cluster on membrane science and technology. His group deals with transport aspects near interfaces, such as catalysts and membranes.

After a short break we split into two groups for introductory lectures on Catalysis & Materials and Fluid Mechanics & Engineering. The first group was given a lecture by Dr. Ward van der Stam on ‘Electrochemistry’. Ward is a tenure track assistant professor at the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis group in Utrecht. Dr. Ivo Filot and Dr. Maike Baltussen (both assistant professors at TU/e) gave a lecture to the other group on ‘Convection-Diffusion-Reaction systems’. Part of their lecture consisted of a couple of hands-on exercises in the programming environments Matlab and Python.

After lunch, MCEC Project Leader Dr. Anne-Eva Nieuwelink introduced the concept of ‘PhD teaches PhD’. As might be concluded from the title, the PhD candidates got the opportunity to teach each other about one of their research techniques.

Pubquiz Tuesday
Tuesday morning was filled with two in-depth lectures: Industrial Catalysis, by Prof. Eelco Vogt (UU), and Nanofluidics by Prof. Jan Eijkel. The afternoon gave time for all PhD’s to work on their ‘PhD teaches PhD’ presentations. At the end of the day, there was room to talk and catch up during informal drinks. But since the MCEC School was moved to the digital platform of MS Teams, Team Community took it upon them to organize an online alternative in the form of a Pubquiz.

Music from the nineties was alternated with MCEC fun facts and geographical questions, all presented by PhD candidates Alessia Broccoli (UT) and Francesco Cannizzaro (TU/e).

Research Wednesday
The participants came together for the final two lectures of the MCEC School 2020. The morning started early with a very interactive lecture on ‘Advanced Characterization’ by Dr. Florian Meirer (UU). Dr. Meirer was assisted during his lecture by Laurens Mandemaker, Erik Maris and Maarten Bransen (all UU) to help manage three break-out groups wherein the participants had to figure out a solution to a real-life case. The other half of the participants attended the lecture of Dr. Fernanda Neira d’Angelo (TU/e) on the topic ‘Reaction Kinetics for Reactor Engineering’.

After a short break and more ‘PhD teaches PhD’ presentations, Dr. Freddy Rabouw gave a research lecture for the whole group. Dr. Rabouw is tenure track assistant professor at Utrecht University where he works in the groups of Prof. Bert Weckhuysen and Prof. Alfons van Blaaderen. His expertise lies in spectroscopy of luminescent materials. In this lecture he showed how understanding the luminescence of lanthanide ions can help us develop new sensors for, for example, temperature or chemical environment.

The organization looks back on an inspiring three days and would like to thank all students, members and (guest) speakers for making this online MCEC School a success!

2020 EFCATS Summer School

The 2020 Summer School of the European Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS) will be held from 15-19 September 2020 in Grand Hotel Bernardin Convention Center in Portorož-Portorose, Slovenia. The event entitled “ENGINEERING MATERIALS FOR CATALYSIS” is organized jointly by the Section for Catalysis of the Slovenian Chemical Society and the Austrian Catalysis Society.

The 2020 EFCATS Summer School will focus on recent advances regarding synthesis, in-situ and operando characterization and applications of heterogeneous catalysts as well as multi-scale modelling of catalytic processes. Besides, the publication system and less competitive free discussions will be addressed at the meeting.

Master and doctoral students as well as early-stage researchers being involved in the above-mentioned topics are strongly encouraged to attend the event. More than ten worldwide known experts will deliver invited lectures. The participants will be able to present the results of their research work in the form of oral presentations or poster contributions. Virtual tour to the ELETTRA synchrotron in Trieste, Italy, will be organized as part of the 2020 EFCATS Summer School.


The 2020 EFCATS Summer School will consist of eleven plenary lectures delivered by invited reputable scientists, and about 10-20 oral presentations delivered by post-doctoral fellows and doctoral students participating at the event. Besides, a poster session will be organized during which more than 50 contributions will be presented.

The Young European Catalysis Network (YEuCat) will contribute to the programme of the 2020 EFCATS Summer School. More information about YEuCat can be found on the following website:

The 2020 EFCATS Summer School entitled “ENGINEERING MATERIALS FOR CATALYSIS“ will cover the following topics:

  • advanced synthesis and basic characterization of heterogeneous catalysts
  • in-situ and operando characterization
  • synchrotron characterization
  • materials for photocatalysis and electrocatalysis
  • multi-scale modelling of catalytic processes
  • communication in science (publication system and less competitive free discussions)


  • Dr. Bao Lian Su, University of Namur, Belgium
  • Svetlana Mintova, Université de Caen, France
  • Dr. Bert Weckhuysen, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • Giuliana Aquilanti, Ellettra Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy
  • Jasper Plaisier, Ellettra Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy
  • Alexander Genest, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore
  • Prof. Dr. Blaž Likozar, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Prof. Dr. Joaquim L. Faria, University of Porto, Portugal
  • Prof. Dr. Raffaella Buonsanti, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Nikolai Nesterenko, TOTAL, Belgium
  • Dr. Silvia Bordiga, University of Turin, Italy

Time and Location

15-19 September 2020

Grand Hotel Bernardin Convention Center
Portorož-Portorose, Slovenia

Information and Registration

For more information and registration:

MCEC Online Meeting

On Thursday morning April 9, MCEC hosted a substitute online event for the Annual Meeting 2020. The event was used as a test for meeting online, via the MS Teams software. In two hours, the 52 participants listened to the presentations of PhD candidates Petra Keijzer (UU), Thomas van Swieten (UU), Peter Dung (UT), Jasper Lozeman (UT), Laurens Mandemaker (UU).

During the break it was possible to scroll through the uploaded posters.

All in all, we look back at a successful online meeting. We learned a lot and the experience gave us many ideas for future meetings.

Thank you for attending, your questions and overall interaction on the MS Teams platform!

ERC Advanced Grant for Prof. Marjolein Dijkstra

MCEC Member Prof. Marjolein Dijkstra (UU) has been granted an ERC Advanced Grant. This is the highest research grant of the European Research Council, annually granted to exceptional and trailblazing senior researchers. Prof. Dijkstra will receive 2.5 million euros for her project Rational Design of Soft Hierarchical Materials with Responsive Functionalities: Machine learning Soft Matter to create Soft Machines.

More information about the project can be found on the website of Utrecht University.




30 March 2020

MCEC researchers involved in NWO ENW Groot projects

MCEC Researchers from Utrecht University Bert Weckhuysen (co-applicant a.o. Florian Meirer) and Alfons van Blaaderen (co-applicant a.o. Laura Filion) have received an ‘NWO ENW Groot’ grant.

With these grants, the NWO domain Science stimulates curiosity-driven, non-programmed fundamental research. Grants within the NWO Open Competition ENW Groot program are intended for consortia in which research groups create added value through collaboration.

More details about the two projects:

Nanoplastics: Origin, Structure and Fate
Prof B.M. Weckhuysen, Utrecht University
Troubling images, showcasing the large amount of plastic litter that contaminates our waters and threatens wildlife, have become a regular focus of the popular media. Not everyone realizes that we cannot account for a very large fraction of the plastic that escapes into the ocean. A significant portion of this “missing plastic” is hypothesized to result from the degradation of plastics and are named nanoplastics. A multidisciplinary team will now use a breakthrough approach to investigate the formation, presence, and distribution of nanoplastics in aquatic environments. They will study size, structure, and composition of nanoplastics, their transport across the ocean, as well as their interplay with and impact on the Earth’s aquatic microbiome. The reactivity of nanoplastics will also be assessed, allowing to investigate potential degradation pathways, including those involving microbial interactions.

Self-Assembled Icosahedral Photonic Quasicrystals with a Band Gap for Visible Light
Prof A. van Blaaderen, Utrecht University
Photonic crystals are important for many research areas and applications because they enhance the interaction of light with matter in an unprecedented way. Here we plan to make both periodic and quasi-periodic photonic crystals by using colloidal self-assembly, an inherently scalable and inexpensive approach. These crystals will have a so-called photonic bandgap for visible light, the equivalent of an electronic bandgap for electrons. The study of such structures, and how they can influence light, will not only provide new fundamental knowledge about quasicrystals but will also have applications in e.g. data manipulation, lighting, sensing and photocatalysis.

More information about the NWO ENW Groot Grant can be found in the pressrelease.

Extensive collaboration between Jeroen Vollenbroek (UT) and Anne-Eva Nieuwelink (UU) leads to first MCEC Joint Doctorate degree

On Friday January 24, the first ever joint doctorate degree of the MCEC Research Center was granted to Jeroen Vollenbroek. Jeroen Vollenbroek received his PhD degree from both University of Twente and Utrecht University.

The PhD thesis of Jeroen Vollenbroek proofed a fine marriage between microreactor technology and catalysis. Each chapter is based on the collaboration between Prof. Albert van den Berg from the BIOS Lab-on-a-Chip group of the University of Twente and Prof. Bert Weckhuysen from the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis group of Utrecht University.

The thesis was realized in collaboration with Anne-Eva Nieuwelink (UU) who, like Jeroen Vollenbroek, conducts research at the Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion (MCEC).

Microreactor Technology and Catalysis
Jeroen Vollenbroek: ‘The aim of the thesis was to develop microreactors using droplet microfluidics for the high-throughput screening of single catalyst microparticles. Together with Anne-Eva (Nieuwelink) we developed microreactors in which catalyst particles can be screened for their catalytic activity and the most active particles can be sorted out.’

Please find more information about the thesis of Jeroen Vollenbroek, entitled ‘Microreactors for single catalyst particle diagnostics – Measuring catalytic activity at high-throughput in multi-phase flows‘, on the website of University of Twente.




30 Jan. 2020