PhD Excursion to Avantium and AMOLF

Last November 9th, a group of ten MCEC PhD-students and postdocs visited the Avantium and AMOLF facilities in Amsterdam. Avantium was already introduced by its CEO, Tom van Aken, during MCEC School 2017 and now everyone had the opportunity to see how this company in Amsterdam Westpoort works on renewable and biobased products like the PEF-bottle. AMOLF is an academic institute at the Amsterdam Science Park for fundamental physics focusing on the “physics of functional complex matter”. The excursion was initiated and planned by MCEC’s Team Community.

9 November, 2017

Krijn de Jong awarded by the Catalysis Society of South Africa

The Catalysis Society of South Africa (CATSA) aims to recognize excellence in catalysis research by overseas scientists. In acknowledgement of their significant contributions, an Eminent Visitor Award is presented to an influential researcher at the annual CATSA conference. These awards include a lecture tour of selected universities and main catalysis research centres in South Africa.

The 2017 Eminent Visitor awardee is Prof. Krijn P. de Jong (Utrecht University). De Jong visits and lectures at universities in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban and the Sasol laboratories in Sasolburg. He is the plenary speaker of the 2017 CATSA Conference in Pilanesberg National Park and receives the award at the conference dinner.

Read more on the website of CATSA.

27 October, 2017

MCEC School 2017

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 from Bas Haring and Tom van Aken as well as research talks from MCEC members, and overall learned a lot of new things – who, for example, knew that SCUBA is actually the abbreviation of Super Cool Underwater Breathing Apparatus?

MCEC School was organized in Rhenen as part of the training program for MCEC PhDs and Postdocs. This year marked the third edition of this annual event, which contains basic and advanced lectures with emphasis on multiscale and multidisciplinary approach. To see the full program, click here.

The work of Bas Haring – Professor Public Understanding of Science at Leiden University – focuses on how science is best explained, from the scientist to the general audience. In his invited lecture on Monday night, Haring shared his vision about and tips and tricks on explaining science to laypeople. Keeping high school students in mind as the target audience in your communication is a good idea, for they can provide a frame of reference concerning a broader general audience.

Though Avantium is a relatively small company, it has a huge impact. For instance, they have developed a completely new, high-quality plastic made from plant-based industrial sugars: the PEF bottle (made from polymer polyethyl­enefuranoate). In his invited lecture on Tuesday night, Tom van Aken, CEO Avantium, discussed product development and marketing, and talked about biobased and renewable energy.

The Trouble Shooting Cases turned out to be very helpful. To Vishak Chandra, Aditya Sengar and Edwin Dollekamp it brought new insights in how to proceed with their research approach; a pre-solution for Vishak to solve his challenge and a new approach for Edwin to fabricate a nano-electrode, including the offered help of his colleagues to be able to test this new idea. New MCEC PhDs Michel van Etten and Valery Muravev also presented their projects and discussed their ideas about their approach and possibilities for collaborations with the MCEC PhD Community.

Team Community organized a quiz on science, music, geology and sports. This is where we learned that SCUBA, the Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, is actually Super Cool. We also learned how to get a group of 38 MCEC students drinking a beer at the bar completely silent: by showing them only emoticons as a means to convey song titles.

Below, you’ll find some pictures of MCEC School. If you have pictures yourself, please send them to us. As every year, our PhDs and Postdocs have received a survey request to provide the organization with feedback.

We thank all speakers and attendants for their contribution to the success of MCEC School 2017!


2-6 October, 2017


Jovana Zečević receives Edith Flanigen Award

Jovana Zečević will receive this year’s Edith Flanigen Award which is conferred annually by The Collaborative Research Centre 1109 at Humboldt University of Berlin to an exceptional female scientist at an early stage of her career (postdoctoral fellow, junior researcher) for outstanding results on metal oxide water systems.

The Edith Flanigen Award has been created in honour of Edith Flanigen, who performed groundbreaking work on molecular sieves at a time when women were rarely found working in highly complex scientific careers. The Award will be presented during a public Award ceremony on the 12th of October 2017 in Berlin.

We congratulate Dr. Zečević on winning this award!


27 September, 2017

Veni Grants for both Ivo Filot and Freddy Rabouw

MCEC Members Ivo Filot and Freddy Rabouw have both been awarded a Veni Grant 2017 by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). Veni is a part of NWO’s Talent Scheme programme. We wholeheartedly congratulate Ivo and Freddy on this great success!

A brief summary on their research projects (read more on the website of NWO):

Mesoscale simulations in catalysis
Dr. ir. I.A.W. (Ivo) Filot (m), TUE – Inorganic Materials Chemistry
Understanding catalysis at the all length and time scales is important in solving today’s environmental and energy challenges. The researchers will study how the structure of a catalyst changes during a chemical process. In this way, new ways can be identified to avoid premature catalyst deactivation.

Characterizing catalysis on the molecular scale
Dr. F.T. (Freddy) Rabouw (m), UU – Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science
Catalysts make chemical reactions faster and more efficient. A typical catalyst contains billions of active nanoparticles that together determine its properties. The researcher will study chemical reactions on the scale of individual catalytic nanoparticles. This will yield a better understanding of catalysis and contribute to the development of new catalysts.


28 July, 2017

Volker Hessel receives ERC Proof of Concept

The European Research Council (ERC) has granted prof. Volker Hessel Proof of Concepts. This ‘top up’ grant, worth €150.000 is designed to help ERC-funded frontier research maximize value.

The ERC Proof of Concept study allows the researchers to assess the options for marketing and to set up a concrete business plan for a spin-off company. This will ben PICASCOPiloting Cascaded Continuous Flow Synthesis for the Pharmaceutical Industry.

PICASCO aims to deliver the commercial proof of concept of a novel end-to-end flow manufacturing and a novel corresponding compact mini plant. This is performed through the first continuous 3-step solvent-free flow manufacturing of a pharmaceutically relevant compound at an industrial scale. Currently applied batch manufacturing techniques leave much room for improved quality, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and environmental friendliness. Flow multi-step manufacturing can address all these issues simultaneously, but to date has not been brought to an industrially useful scale. PICASCO sets out to scale this final barrier.

Read more on the newspage of TU/e.

July 25, 2017

Detlef Lohse awarded with 2017 Fluid Dynamics Prize

The American Physical Society (APS) has awarded Detlef Lohse with the 2017 Fluid Dynamics Prize, because of his “profound and wide-ranging contributions to our understanding of fluid turbulence, multiphase flow, and granular flows; for outstanding contributions to the teaching and training of future fluid dynamicists; and for long-standing service to the international fluid dynamics community”.

The Fluid Dynamics Prize, which recognizes and encourages outstanding achievement in fluid dynamics research, has been awarded by the APS annually since 1979. Detlef Lohse counts as the youngest recipient and only 3rd non-American so far.

Read more on the website of the APS.

July 17, 2017

Krijn de Jong receives François Gault Lectureship Award

EFCATS, the European Federation of Catalysis Societies, has announced today that they are awarding the 2017 EFCATS François Gault Lectureship to Krijn de Jong, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis. The Award will be presented at Europacat XIII in Florence in August. This Award recognizes individual groundbreaking contributions to catalysis.

Krijn de Jong is being specifically recognized for his original approach to establish synthesis-structure-performance relationships in the field of heterogeneous catalysis.

June 9, 2017

Read more >

Mathieu Odijk nominated as science talent 2017

Mathieu Odijk has been nominated by the Dutch magazine New Scientist as one out of 25 science talents for 2017. 

Reaching the next round means that he will be able to represent his research on the New Scientist Live: Nobelprijs event on June 22. The winner of the prize New Scientist Science talent 2017 will be announced on that event.

You can vote for your scientist of choice before 5 June via

Captains of Chemistry: MCEC appears in podcast

Bert Weckhuysen, Katinka Wondergem and Anne-Eva Nieuwelink feature in the first episode of ‘Captains of Chemistry’, a podcast by BNR. In this series, reporter Edwin Mooibroek explores the subjects of chemistry and innovation and tries to answer the question: How can the chemical sector contribute to a better, sustainable world?

In this first episode, Katinka Wondergem explains how catalysts can be used to make plastic from tree bark and, ultimately, even of sunlight, water and CO2. Anne-Eva Nieuwelink explains how she has developed a cleaner way to make polyglycerol, a hydrating substance that is often used in day and night creams. Bert Weckhuysen gives a glimpse into his research and tells how he educates young researchers in developing sustainable chemical processes.

The series are in Dutch only. You can listen to this episode online here (where you can also subscribe to the series), or read the news item (Dutch) on the news page of Utrecht University here.

 23 May, 2017