13 October 2023

"Young Researchers Award" 2023 Winners

In JORNADAS CICECO 2023, the directing board selected the CICECO junior researchers who were awarded the "CICECO Young Researcher Award". The 2023’s winners are Augusto Pedro, Paula Barbosa, Karol Strutynski, Maxim Ivanov, Flavio Figueira, and Nicola Schaeffer. 

Augusto Q. Pedro (AQP) completed his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2016 (University of Beira Interior, Portugal) where he got familiar with bioprocess development strategies for enzymes. He then moved to CICECO/University of Aveiro as a post-doctoral researcher under the supervision of Prof. Mara Freire, being since 2021 a junior researcher under the FCT/CEEC agreement. By joining a leading and internationally recognized team in the field of ionic liquids (ILs), he started to apply ILs and immobilized ILs toward the development of more efficient and sustainable (economical and environmentally friendly) manufacturing technologies for biopharmaceuticals - therapeutic proteins, (minicircle and plasmid) DNA, and messenger RNA. To address his research challenges, highly interdisciplinary crossing the boundaries between molecular biology, biotechnology, engineering, and materials science, AQP has striven to develop a unique set of skills, well balanced between laboratory, management, and supervision activities. AQP published 35 manuscripts, and 3 patents, and is/was the (co)coordinator of 3 R&D FCT-funded projects. Also, he is actively engaged in several academic duties, namely as a lecturer, thesis examiner, and tutor of the 1st year students. The activity that makes him the proudest is (trying) to contribute to the graduation and mentoring of young students and researchers.

Paula Barbosa is an integrated Contracted Researcher at CICECO with a total of 40 papers (66% in Q1 journals), >700 citations, and h-index 21/Google Scholar, h-index 18/SCOPUS. She was also awarded 8 prizes, presented over 90 communications (21 oral, 1 keynote, 1 invited) at international/national conferences, and collaborated with > 90 authors. The researchers graduated in Physics and Chemistry (Education) from the University of Minho (UM) in 2004 and completed a PhD degree in Chemistry from the same University in 2011. The subject of the PhD thesis was the development of new solid polymer electrolytes for application in lithium batteries and smart windows. P. Barbosa had undergraduate teaching experience in several types of courses, including one year as a Teaching Assistant at UM (2004-2005) and two years as an Assistant Professor at IPVC (2011-2013). In 2013 she joined CICECO as a Post-doctoral Associate and since then her research work has been focused on understanding the relationships between microstructure and electrochemical properties of ionic conductors for fuel cells. Recently, she has initiated a new independent research line focused on the development of a new generation of environmentally sustainable and high-performance biomaterials and processes for application in advanced electrochemical devices (batteries, display devices, and fuel cells).

Karol Struty?ski was born in Bia?ystok, Poland. He got his bachelor's and master's degrees from Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toru?, Poland. He continued his education under Prof. José A.N.F. Gomes at the University of Porto (Portugal), where he obtained his Ph.D. in Sustainable Chemistry (2014). In Porto, he started cooperation with Manuel Melle-Franco and later in late 2016, as a postdoc, he joined the theoretical group at the Department of Chemistry of UA and CICECO led by Prof. Melle-Franco. Karol is involved in several European projects, including 2D-INK, SuperSuper, and FantastiCOF. In 2023 Karol was awarded an Assistant Researcher grant entitled “Ab initio Modelling of Novel Covalent Organic Frameworks for Electronics“ from FTC’s 5th Edition of Individual Call to Scientific Employment Stimulus. The researcher mostly works with theoretical studies of Covalent Organic Frameworks, trying to predict their structure with ab initio methods. Using efficient Tight Binding methods to sieve possible conformers for detailed analysis with Density Functional Theory. Karol’s research has been reported in a variety of high-visibility journals, e.g. Nature, Angewandte Chemie (x5), Journal Of The American Chemical Society (x2).

Maxim Ivanov is a recognized specialist in the scientific area of nanoscience and nanotechnology with a proven ability of outstanding research in the direction of experimental physics with a particular focus on the development of advanced scanning probe microscopy and spectroscopy methods to image and manipulate materials functionality in biological, ferroic and quantum materials, ionic, electronic and 2D conductors, molecular assemblies, and nanoscale structures. Ivanov joined the Department of Materials and Ceramic Engineering & CICECO-Materials Institute of Aveiro in 2013 being a fellow of the Marie Curie fellowship within FP7 Initial Training Network “Nanomotion”. Currently, he leads the direction of advanced BioMicroElectromechnical systems for hard tissue engineering with the idea of using piezoelectric biopolymers as culture substrates for tissue engineering and a base for functional coatings of prosthesis devices. The researchers have a prospective career translated into teaching and mentoring activities, coordinating or being directly responsible for national and international R&D projects, and creating scientific concepts and research techniques to face new challenges of innovating technology. He is a member of the Federation of European Materials Societies and Portuguese Society of Materials, Material Research Society and European Material Research Society, Marie Curie Spain-Portugal chapter, and DAAD alumni associations. He is the author and co-author of more than 50 papers and book chapters, 3 patents, and a commercialization patent in collaboration with NTMDT and Robert Bosch GmbH.

Flávio Figueira graduated from the University of Lisbon where, under the ERASMUS program, he did an internship in Lille (France) at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Lille, working on innovative Phosphine Oxazoline Ligands (PHOX) for asymmetric catalysis. After his internship in France, he returned to Lisbon to work at the Instituto Tecnológico Nuclear, where he completed his master's degree in radiopharmaceutical compounds at the ITN. After his internship in France, he returned to Lisbon to work at the Instituto Tecnológico Nuclear, where he completed his master's degree in radiopharmaceutical compounds at the ITN. He later obtained a doctorate from the University of Aveiro in Organic Chemistry, where he studied the synthesis of expanded porphyrins and anion recognition in Professor Jonathan Sessler's group at the University of Texas. He is currently a researcher at the University of Aveiro (Portugal), where he has been working on the preparation of new Metal-Organic Frameworks and studying their guest-induced optical changes.

Nicolas Schaeffer's research interests arise from my frustration with the current prevailing linear consumption model of “take-make-dispose”, which puts unsustainable stress on finite global resources and exacerbates inequalities. There is a hidden environmental cost to the environmental policies now emerging, with ever-increasing quantities of specialty metals required to fuel this transition. As such, his research activities revolve around the design and application of neoteric hydrometallurgical systems for the separation and recovery of high-purity metal products from electronic wastes, thereby closing the resource loop. The researcher's path reflects the increasing internationalization of scientific efforts: a French citizen obtaining his PhD from Imperial College (UK) before arriving at the University of Aveiro as a postdoc in a European ERA-MIN project. Since 2019, the researcher has been working as a Junior Researcher at CICECO under the NormaTransitoria framework investigating the development of more sustainable metal separation processes based on alternative solvents.

The prize, besides being a recognition for the excellent performance of the researchers, includes a prize money equivalent to a newcomer’s pocket money budget (c.a. 3,5k€) to help stimulate their career independence.

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