Experienced Scientist Awards

Recognizing pioneering scientific research

Recognition of outstanding work

To recognize and reward excellence in innovative research in human and animal nutrition as well as materials sciences we grant a Bright Sciences Award for Experienced Scientists.

Open to scientists worldwide, we bestow this award in recognition of those who have made a major contribution to fundamental or applied research in nutritional or materials sciences.

The awards in nutritional and materials sciences are granted alternately1.

The Awards

Call for Nominations

At DSM it’s about looking at the world we live in, studying the challenges we face and delivering solutions that support the strategic agenda of the world - as outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It’s this belief that underpins the DSM Bright Science Awards.

Bestowed in partnership with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), we invite nominations for the DSM Bright Science Award 2020 in materials sciences which is accompanied by a cash prize of €25,000. This prestigious award has been established to recognize and reward experienced scientists, in the midst of their career, who have already made an indelible, positive impact on our global society and on the advancement of science in their respective field of research – and who we would like to stimulate to continue doing so by recognizing and rewarding their talent and achievements.

Nominations

Scientists from all parts of the world who have made major contributions to fundamental or applied research in the field of materials sciences can be nominated for the award2. A prime requirement is that the candidate’s research must have significantly advanced the world’s understanding and knowledge of key questions in this field. Candidates for the award can be put forward by nomination only. Candidates cannot nominate themselves.

Nominations must be made using this nomination form. The form, together with all supporting documents (indicated therein) should be sent by email before the closing date on 1 February 2020.

Judging & selection

An international judging committee will review the nominations and select the winner. The judging committee comprises members from DSM, DSM’s Scientific Advisory Board, IUPAC, and a previous prize winner. It is a requirement of the award that the recipient will be present at the award ceremony, scheduled during the IUPAC-MACRO conference (5-9 July 2020, JeJu Island, South Korea) to receive the award personally and to deliver a lecture on their research work.

We look forward to receiving a great number of nominations.

1) The 2019 award for nutrition has been moved to 2020
2) Employees of DSM and DSM’s subsidiaries and joint-ventures, members of DSM’s Scientific Advisory Board and members of the judging committee cannot be nominated for the award

The Nutritional Sciences Award 2017 was dedicated to Human Nutrition, with special emphasis on vitamins, carotenoids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, enzymes, pre- and probiotics and naturally occurring bioactive compounds.

Winner

The 2017 award was presented to Professor Philip Calder, Professor of Nutritional Immunology, University of Southampton (UK). Professor Calder received the award for his lifetime commitment and scientific achievements in the field of omega-3 fatty acid functionality. “I think that receiving this Award is an external validation that our research is on the right track, and that combining a life course approach with translation from basic science discoveries through to clinical trials is a good strategy. In essence, the recognition that this Award brings is a tremendous encouragement to maintain our strategy, and to try to continue our progress towards answering important nutritional questions,” said Professor Calder.

Nominees

Scientists from all parts of the world who have made major contributions to fundamental or applied research in this field were nominated for the award. A prime requirement was that the candidate’s research must have significantly advanced the world’s understanding and knowledge of key questions in the field specified. An international judging committee reviewed the nominations and selected the winner, Professor Philip Calder from the University of Southampton.

Candidates for the award could only be put forward by nomination and could not nominate themselves. Professor Calder received the award at the IUNS 21st International Congress of Nutrition on 16 October 2017.

Past winners span a huge range of topics and nationalities, but each have made major contributions to fundamental or applied research in their field and are worthy winners. Here's a couple of interviews with recent winners …and a little wise advice along the way.

Professor Doros Theodorou (Materials, 2018)

On 26 March 2018 DSM honoured Professor Dr. Doros Theodorou, from the National Technical University of Athens in Greece, with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Materials Sciences 2018. Professor Theodorou received the honour at DYFP 2018, the international conference on Deformation, Yield, and Fracture of Polymers.

“It is truly a career highlight for me to win this lifetime award because I respect the work of DSM in materials science so much,” says Theodorou. “I’ve been involved with the company since the 1990s and hope to continue doing so in future.”

The award was bestowed for the Professor’s work in the molecular and meso-scale modeling of polymers - which started way back in 1985 with the publication of his influential PhD papers on the topic of predicting the structure and mechanical properties of glassy amorphous polymers.

While computation modeling might seem like a recent phenomenon, the first molecular simulations happened way back in the 1950s. “There have been many great scientists that preceded me in this work, not least my own tutor and mentor at MIT, Dr. Suter,” says Theodorou. “I just see myself as continuing this work. The big difference now is of course the immense computational power we have at our disposal. It doubles roughly every 18 months, so, coupled with new methods and algorithms we are developing, it gives rise to endless possibilities!”

“Computational modeling of materials is a complex field but essentially what we are doing is using modern computers to predict how material building blocks arrange themselves in space, how they will move and interact with each other - and what properties they have. Are they stiff and strong? Are they waterproof? Are they permeable? Do they have good flow for manufacturing purposes? Can they be tolerated inside the body?”, says Theodorou.

Theodorou has earned much praise for his open way of working, and his efforts to educate a whole generation of researchers, thereby making it easier for them to build on his findings. “By using computational science to answer the thousands of ‘what if’ questions surrounding potential new materials, Professor Dr. D Theodorou and his team are enabling commercial science companies such as DSM to bring game-changing and often life-changing innovations - like biomedical devices – to market faster and more efficiently,” noted Dr. Marcus Remmers, DSM’s Chief technology Officer, and chair of the international scientific jury for this award.

And what advice does Doros have for the next generation of researchers and scientists coming through? “The most important thing is to master the fundamental principles of your chosen field,” he says. “Also, have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish; and keep an open mind. In my experience, minds are like parachutes. They function best when they are open!’

Next on the Professor’s list is stepping up research into coarse graining – the study of computational polymer modeling beyond the nano level. For now, Theodorou can enjoy the latest in a very long list of industry accolades.

Professor Philip Calder (Nutrition, 2017)

Receiving the DSM Nutritional Sciences Award 2017 is a huge honor for me,” says Professor Calder. “It’s a recognition of my research team’s effort over many years, which has mainly been in the area of omega-3 fatty acid functionality. It’s very gratifying to receive such recognition from my peers, as it suggests that our research has been of importance and value. What’s more, I very much enjoyed the Award ceremony itself, where I got very nice feedback from many of the attendees."

I think that receiving this Award is an external validation that our research is on the right track, and that combining a life course approach with translation from basic science discoveries through to clinical trials is a good strategy.

"In essence, the recognition that this Award brings is a tremendous encouragement to maintain our strategy, and to try to continue our progress towards answering important nutritional questions.

My work aims to understand how nutrition affects the functioning of the human body. Better understanding is key to developing strategies to improve human health and well-being, to lower disease risk and to treat nutrition-related illnesses. More specifically, I’m very interested in fatty acid metabolism, handling and functionality with some emphasis on marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids. I’m especially interested in the impact of these fatty acids on immunity, inflammation and cardiometabolic health and in the underlying mechanisms of action.

Equally, taking our research through to clinical trials is very exciting, and key to offering proof that our research really helps people. Our work has involved pregnant women; patients with advanced atherosclerosis in trying to find out how omega-3 fatty acids affect inflammation in the blood vessel wall; critically ill patients who are extremely vulnerable to the adverse effects of inflammation; and patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by helping to understand the important roles of omega-3 fatty acids in maintaining health, in lowering disease risk and in treating disease.

Scientific progress is a continuum that is driven in part by the inquisitiveness of those involved in research. Most scientific progress is incremental and new questions arise all the time. In nutrition, we still have many important questions to answer. The explosion in technology available to nutrition researchers will undoubtedly help us on the path to answering those questions but nutrition is a complex science. Against this backdrop, I think that a ‘lifetime achievement’ is an evaluation of the contribution at a given time point. To an inquisitive researcher who is driven to answer the questions as best as is possible, the finishing line never fully arrives."

Read more

  • Bright Science Awards

    DSM's Bright Science Awards are open to PhD graduates; seasoned scientists worldwide, in everything from human & animal nutrition to materials science.

  • PhD Graduate Awards

    The Science & Technology Awards are part of DSM’s Bright Science Awards program and recognize innovative PhD research.

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