Young Researcher Award Winner 2017

Following another year of entrees from highly-able, visionary and successful Early Stage Researchers from all over the world, the judges for the Global Green Chemistry Centres decided that the winner for 2017, sponsored by ISGC 2017 and Increase, is Dr Robin J White who established the Sustainable Catalytic Materials Research and Development group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Germany.

As a reflection of the level of quality of the entrees the judges also decided to Highly Commend Dr James Sherwood for his work on solvents and European-wide standards.



Dr Robin J. White was awarded his PhD in 2009 for research on nanoporous polysaccharides and their carbonaceous derivatives (Starbons®). This was followed by three Max-Planck-Society Post-Doctoral Fellowships, a UniCat Post-Doctoral stipend and a position as a Project Scientist. While in these positions he worked on: hydrothermal synthesis of porous functional carbons; mesoporous zeolite catalyst synthesis and; the techno-economic analysis of sustainable chemical/energy economies (e.g. H2, CH3OH or Biorefineries). In 2015, he was awarded by the Fraunhofer Society an “Attract Award” to establish an independent Sustainable Catalytic Materials R&D group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Freiburg, Germany). One recent highlight has been research regarding the synthesis of new sustainable fuel and solvents commonly referred “Oxymethylene Ethers” (e.g. based on methanol from CO2 hydrogenation). He was the editor of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s book Porous Carbon Materials from Sustainable Precursors and is the co-editor of Wiley’s Chemical Energy Storage section of the Handbook of Energy Storage. The group’s focus going forward is on sustainable catalytic materials and systems (e.g. hydrogenation catalysis) with the aim to support the important nexus between renewable energy, H2, CO2 and biomass conversion for the production of sustainable fuels, materials and chemicals  – a theme critical to the further development of Green Chemistry as a topic and indeed in the establishment of a sustainable chemical industry.

Dr James Sherwood was highly commended by the judges for his work on renewable solvents and solvent effects in organic chemistry. He has authored a Continued Professional Development Course entitled Solvent Selection and Substitution and has been consulted by numerous organisations about green chemistry and solvents. Furthermore, he has been part of the team who developed the European standard describing bio-based solvents. Going forward, he would like to continue to improve his impact on the development of European policy regarding bio-based products, the circular economy, help to curtail emissions and improve chemical safety through the substitution of hazardous solvents