Reduce, Reuse & Recycle – Bert Weckhuysen at PAC Symposium 2019

The PAC-symposium is an annual chemistry symposium for students organized by students. The symposium is organized by Stichting PAC, which is formed each year by students from four study associations: ACD, CDL, U.S.S. Proton and VCSVU. This years’ 25th programme centers around the theme ‘Back to the Future‘ and is held at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

Today, in his lecture, Prof. Bert Weckhuysen will discuss how catalysis is being used to create waste-powered transport and why it is so difficult to convert carbon dioxide into fuels and chemicals.


7 March 2019


On March 4-6, The Netherlands’ Catalysis and Chemistry Conference took place in Noordwijkerhout. A good number of MCEC PhDs were present with talks and poster presentations.  The 20th anniversary meeting comprised plenary and keynote lectures by invited speakers, and selected oral papers and posters. Scientists, and especially PhD-students, were encouraged to submit abstracts so they can present their work, discuss it with leading scientists and representatives from industry. NCCC welcomed Prof. Sylvia Bordiga for an opening lecture sponsored by MCEC.

You can now view all the poster abstracts and oral presentations on the NCCC website. The complete programme (including abstracts) is available online too.


4-6 March 2019

Vici Grant for Devaraj van de Meer (UT)

Photo: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

Devaraj van der Meer (UT) will receive a Vici grant, worth 1.5 million euros, from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This Vici program will unravel the intricate physics behind the impact of a boiling water droplet on a surface.

The Vici grant, worth 1.5 million euros, is the highest in the Veni-Vidi-Vici programme of NWO. It enables very experienced researchers to form and strengthen their research group. Of 239 proposals, 32 were awarded, worth 48 million euros in total.




26 February 2019

Second MCEC PhD Call is open

The first call resulted in an overwhelming 900 applications, and 30 positions have been filled. An overview of the 8 vacant positions can be found here.



22 February 2019

Lecture Bert Weckhuysen at Royal Institution London

“Earth to earth, dust to dust, carbon to carbon: Bert Weckhuysen, Distinguished University Professor ‘Catalysis, Energy and Sustainability’, sketches the ingredients for a true circular economy. In his lecture at the Royal Institution in London, he explained how catalysis research can contribute to a cleaner world, and how politics and government need to play an essential part by introducing adequate legislation.” Read the full article on the website of Utrecht University.


20 February 2019

ARC CBBC festively opens new lab

ARC CBBC’s opening of its first own lab was celebrated last Wednesday 13 February on the fourth floor of the Vening Meinesz Building B of Utrecht University. Speeches were given by Utrecht University Rector Magnificus Henk Kummeling, President of the ARC CBBC Supervisory Board Marjan Oudeman and ARC CBBC Scientific Director Bert Weckhuysen. The official opening act was executed by Henk Kummeling and Dean of the Faculty of Science Isabel Arends, by filling a glass version of the ARC CBBC logo with a blue liquid. You can read more and view a photo gallery of the festive opening on ARC CBBC’s website.

You can also read about the opening on the newspage of Utrecht University, on the Netherlands Government’s website dedicated to Topsectoren (in Dutch), or on online magazine Agro & Chemie (in Dutch).


13 February 2019

Pathways to Sustainability Conference 2019

Together with ARC CBBC, MCEC was present at the Pathways to Sustainability Conference 2019, hosted by Utrecht University at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht.

The program of the conference consisted of a plenary morning program, a truly delicious vegan lunch, interactive break-out sessions, and a closing panel discussion. In between these program elements and at the end of the conference people would come together at the Sustainable Marketplace, where MCEC was featured among other Utrecht University based sustainability projects.

Thank you, ARC CBBC, for sharing a stall with us – your sustainability game turned out to be quite strong! Also, a special mention for Anne-Eva Nieuwelink and Erik Maris, who were more than willing to explain interested visitors about their research topic and sustainability ambitions. Thank you both for your enthusiasm!

MCEC and ARC CBBC’s stall at the Sustainable Market Place, with ARC CBBC’s Sustainability Game (left).


More pictures will follow soon.


24 January 2019

It’s (almost) A Wrap!

With MCEC’s first phase coming to an end, Team Community and MCEC Office thought it high time to get the community together and look back on five years of MCEC. Five years in which we welcomed more than forty PhDs and PDs, witnessed new collaborations (and friendships!) coming into existence, and were part of the growth of both the ambitions and the scope our research center.

We’ve already waved our goodbyes to some very talented members of our community who have finished their research, and we will continue to do so in the year to come. Some of them, luckily, will still be around in positions where we can regularly meet them. Others have found opportunities outside of academia and/or the Netherlands. Of course, saying goodbye to our first phase happens simultaneously with welcoming MCEC’s new generation.

During the MCEC Wrap-Up Event, room was given to MCEC’s first phase PhDs and PDs to present their research and results. Jan Wiesfeld (TU/e), Hai Le The (UT), Lennart Weber (UU) and Maxim Masterov (TU/e) kicked off before lunch, and Giulia Fiorucci (UU), Mathieu Odijk (UT, stepping in for Miguel Solsona) and Freddy Oropeza Palacio (TU/e) continued thereafter. All held well-received presentations which sparked critical questions and discussion.

After these presentations, hosted in the Minaert Building at Utrecht Science Park, the group crossed over to the Botanical Gardens where MCEC’s Team Community had organized a surprise ceremony and an excellent pub quiz which combined general and musical knowledge with scientific facts. Biggest discussion that afternoon centered around whether the element AR was (also) the abbreviation for Arizona or Arkansas, and who performed the song ‘Vamos A La Playa’. (Actually, that didn’t matter, since that song turned out to be the wrong answer anyway.)  The day was closed with foods, drinks, and chocolate.

Below, you’ll find an impression of the day (click on the pictures for an enlargement).
MCEC Community, thank you all for a great Wrap-Up Event!

18 January 2019


NWO Science grant for Pieter Bruijninx

Congratulations to Pieter Bruijnincx! His research into ‘Sustainable production of aromatic chemical building blocks from sugar’ is one of the 17 projects that has been awarded funding by the NWO Science Domain Board.

About the project ‘Sustainable production of aromatic chemical building blocks from sugar’: ‘The growing demand for plastics, coatings and other products means that we need to carefully examine how sustainably we can produce the chemical building blocks used for these products. We will develop a new conversion route that, with the help of catalysis, can convert the sugars in non-edible biomass into bio-aromatics, an important category of these building blocks.’




18 January 2019