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Prestigious award for Chemistry

Posted on 16 November 2016

The University of York’s Department of Chemistry has received a high profile industry award.


Adrian Chiles presents (left to right) Professor Paul Walton, Professor Gideon Davies and Professor Bernard Henrissat with the IChemE Global Award for Energy.

Professor Paul Walton and Professor Gideon Davies won the Energy Award at the Institution of Chemical Engineers' (IChemE) Global Awards, awarded jointly with Professor Bernard Henrissat from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Marseille.

The IChemE Global Award for Energy was presented for pioneering work on discovering and dissecting enzymes for biofuels.

Using new tools to identify novel copper-containing active sites for a new class of catalyst, researchers from York and the CNRS studied new enzymes that are needed to create biofuels from plant wastes or energy crops.

Recognising excellence in chemical engineering worldwide, the IChemE Global Awards was hosted by broadcaster Adrian Chiles. The York and CNRS team won amid shortlisted entries from across three continents.

Professor Walton said: "The research collaboration between our groups at the Department of Chemistry at the University of York and Professor Bernard Henrissat at CNRS Marseille has allowed us to identify exciting new enzymes for the degradation and use of biomass. 

“It is very satisfying to be given the IChemE Global Award for Energy in recognition of the impact that these enzymes will have on the world of biofuel production.”

Professor Walton was also recently shortlisted for the WISE (Women in Science, Technology and Engineering) Man of the Year Award.

The WISE Awards recognise inspiring organisations and individuals actively promoting STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to girls and women.

Under Professor Walton’s leadership, York’s Department of Chemistry was the first to be awarded an Athena Swan Gold award in 2007 – an accolade it still holds today.

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