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A “Personal Account” – An opportunity to reflect on your own work

December 19, 2017

I was recently invited to contribute to a special issue of the journal “The Chemical Record“. The journal mainly publishes articles called “Personal Accounts”. In such paper, the author is invited to share a review written from a personal perspective, to highlight the author′s own contributions to a specific area of chemical research. This is a rather unusual format. And it is definitely an interesting exercise to do; I recommend it.

I decided to cover the main achievements we have come up with in the past few years, at the frontier between materials chemistry and heterogeneous catalysis. My Personal Account goes through several examples for which innovative sol-gel chemistry methods have allowed us to prepare new kinds of heterogeneous catalysts with interesting properties (and performance!).

This includes

Writing this article gave me the chance not only to reflect on my own work, but also to realize how lucky I have been to collaborate with inspiring scientists. In particular, the cross-fertilization between the “materials” and the “catalysis” communities is such an efficient way to come up with new ideas! Writing also allowed me to realize which research directions I find the most exciting, what part of my work I am the most proud of. Finally, writing gave me inspiration for the next steps. It definitely helped me figure out more precisely the next projects I am now planning to write.

And very importantly, in this paper I had the chance to write a longer acknowledgments section, not only dedicated to funding agencies, but also to the colleagues, mentors, students, collaborators, etc. who have taken more than their fair share in making my ongoing journey in academic research possible. I hope not to trespass the copyright agreement by copy-pasting this full paragraph here 😉

I thank Eric M. Gaigneaux for introducing me to the world of scientific research and specifically to the field of heterogeneous catalysis. I thank the FNRS and the University of Louvain for putting trust in me when I was successively selected as a PhD student, post-doctoral researcher and then associate professor. I want to thank the researchers who have been involved in the different projects summarised here: Ludivine van den Biggelaar, Sreerangappa Ramesh, Ara Kim, Karim Bouchmella, Mariana Stoyanova, Romain Delaigle, Alvise Vivian, Surasa Maksasithorn, Pierre Eloy, François Devred, Claude Poleunis. I want to thank Hubert Mutin (Université de Montpellier) and Clément Sanchez (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris) for the incredible opportunities they have offered me to collaborate on exciting research projects at the boundaries of scientific knowledge in materials science. I am indebted to them for making me a better scientist. I want to thank Rénal Backov, Alexandra Chaumonnot, Nicholas J. Turner, Sabine L. Flitsch, Uwe Rodemerck, Shengyong Lu, Eduardo Miro, Viviana Milt, Alejandro Karelovic, Carmela Aprile, Chrystel Faure, Capucine Sassoye, Cédric Boissière, Patricio Ruiz, Piyasan Praserthdam, Kongkiat Suriye, Denis Uzio, Bert Sels, Ovidiu Ersen, Simona Moldovan, Patrice Soumillion, Sophie Carenco, David Portehault, Martin J. Weissenborn for the national and international collaboration opportunities.

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