The DPI Golden Thesis Award 2013 has been granted to Nicole Franssen for her thesis entitled "Functional (Co)polymers from Carbenes - Scope, Mechanism and Polymer Properties". Nicole, who did her PhD work at the University of Amsterdam under the supervision of Prof. Bas de Bruin, currently works at Shell Global Solutions in the Netherlands. The jury unanimously selected Nicole Franssen as the winner from among the three candidates nominated for the award. The other two candidates were: Jeroen Cottaar, of Eindhoven University of Technology, and Danquing Liu, of the same university. The award was presented during the DPI Annual Meeting 2013 in Arnhem on 5 November.
For the jury, the choice of the first-prize winner was a difficult task that provoked quite some discussion. The jury found the research work of all three nominees to be of an excellent quality, and their presentations too of a high professional level. In its report, the jury commended the first-prize winner for her excellent work and declared: "We unanimously congratulate Dr. Nicole Franssen for her innovative polymer chemistry, leading to polymers that cannot be made in any other way. The chemistry has been skilfully elaborated and the work also involves advanced structural characterisation."
Nicole Franssen is delighted with the award. "It's the crowning glory of my work and it shows that I have done some meaningful research, leading to polymers that clearly have great potential." Nicole's research has shown that you can create very special polymers via a relatively simple reaction. And through the combined effort of several different disciplines, the material properties have been characterised, too. However, these newcomers will have to fight their way into the established world of conventional polymers. Nicole: "There are plenty of bright people out there with bright ideas for growing these fledglings further for interesting and useful applications, so I am sure they will eventually be successful." Nicole is highly appreciative of the interactions with experts at DPI whose feedback was crucial in shaping her research to link up with industry needs. "I am grateful for the help and initiative of Sabic and my cooperation with the Delft University of Technology."
The second prize was awarded to Jeroen Cottaar of Eindhoven University of Technology for his thesis entitled "Modelling of charge-transport processes for predictive simulation of OLEDs". According to the jury, "Dr. Cottaar's work shows that he has such insight in the physics of charge transport that the right simplifications could be made to the model, which made it into a true physical theory with predictive value. The fact that the method is used by the industry demonstrates that it is more than 'just' a theory."
The third prize was granted to Danqing Liu of Eindhoven University of Technology for her thesis entitled "Responsive Surface Topographies". The jury praised Dr. Liu's "very creative approach of responsive surface structures, which are dynamically switchable. The range of possible applications is significant."
Jacques Joosten, DPI's Managing Director, is proud to see the breadth of the research nominated for the Golden Thesis Award. "It is this broad range of research that DPI is all about. From novel directions in the field of ‘bread and butter' materials like polyolefins to state-of-the-art developments like OLEDs."