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Vol. 31 No. 5
September-October 2009

Increasing the Global Impact of the Polymer Division

by Christopher K. Ober

The IUPAC Polymer Division recently created several new prestigious research awards. These awards, presented at the biennial IUPAC World Polymer Congress (WPC), have the effect of recognizing the talents of remarkable polymer chemists from around the world while and at the same time attracting researchers to the WPC and raising the visibility and prestige of the Polymer Division.

Zhenan Bao, winner of the first Polymer International-IUPAC Award.

The division now administers the IUPAC-Samsung Young Polymer Scientist Award, the DSM Performance Materials Award (with the cooperation of IUPAC), and the IUPAC-Polymer International Award. Both the “DSM-IUPAC” and the “IUPAC-PI” Awards were presented for the first time at the 2008 IUPAC World Polymer Congress. The Polymer Division was directly involved in the selection of the following award winners: Craig Hawker (USA), DSM-IUPAC Award; Zhenan Bao (USA), IUPAC-PI Award; and Eric Cloutet (France), Samsung Award. Nominations for the DSM-IUPAC and the IUPAC-PI awards are underway for MACRO2010.

The first award offered by the Polymer Division was the IUPAC-Samsung Young Polymer Scientist Award. Candidates for this award are identified by the organizers of the World Polymer Congress from among the presenters who will attend the meeting. A short list is provided to selected members of the Polymer Division who select the winner of the award. There is an award ceremony held during the plenary session of the conference and a cash prize is provided to the winner. The prize has the advantage that it recognizes younger scientists and draws them to the conference, but it also provides the winner with early career recognition in the international community. The award is new enough that previous winners are still midcareer, but to date all indications are that these individuals will have very successful careers. The fund that is used to support the award also provides funding to help run the WPC. The division is very grateful to Samsung-Total for its sponsorship of this award.

Craig Hawker (right) receives the first DSM Performance Materials Award from Professor Joseph Put, chief technology officer of DSM.

The most lucrative award is the DSM Performance Materials Award. The award winner receives a 50 000 Euro prize, a symposium is held on a topic related to his or her research, and the winner gives one of the plenary talks at the conference. There is a public ceremony following the plenary talk during which the award winner receives his or her award. At MACRO2008 in Taipei, the talk and symposium were very well attended and among the most popular events held at the conference. The very generous sponsorship by DSM also provides for support for the special symposium and is very much appreciated by the organizers of the WPC.

The most recent award is the IUPAC-Polymer International Award. This award, supported by the journal Polymer International and its publisher Wiley Interscience, provides a cash prize to a young midcareer polymer chemist and gives an opportunity for the award winner to provide a keynote lecture during the World Polymer Congress.

Each award is different, but together they cover the career arc of polymer chemists from young to established. The awards also provide financial aid to the organizers of the Congress and a focal point to the program. Finally, they provide IUPAC with an opportunity to reach out to the polymer chemistry community and enhance its visibility as an organization that is providing a service to chemistry in the service of society.

Christopher K. Ober <cko3@cornell.edu> is Francis Bard Professor of Materials Engineering at Cornell University. He is president of the IUPAC Polymer Division.

www.iupac.org/web/ins/400


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