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Here you can read the latest news about our group: research highlights, awards, job offers, opinion articles, conferences, press releases, etc. You can follow this page by clicking on the blue “Follow” button in the right side bar.

Margot Van der Verren gets the best PhD talk award at “The Next Generation of Biocatalysis in Bern 2021”!

Margot has presented her work on the one-step preparation of hybrid chemo-enzymatic heterogeneous catalysts, combining a zeolite and an oxidase. At the occasion of this even, organized by and for non-permanent scientists, Margot has presented the results which have been recently published in Nanoscale Advances. In this work, we show that it is possible to […]

PhD and Post-doc positions available with Dr. Styskalik, Brno, CZE

Dr. Ales Styskalik and his group is looking for motivated students/researchers wishing to join the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.  The project will be focused on materials chemistry and heterogeneous catalysis, dealing with the preparation of new heterogeneous catalysts by non-aqueous methods and their testing in carbon dioxide coupling […]

Perspective: Hybrid Chemo-Enzymatic Heterogeneous Catalysts

In our lab, a small group of researchers is actively working at the interface between heterogeneous catalysis and biocatalysis. Our goal is to interface “chemo” and “bio” catalysts in bi-(or multi-)functional solid catalysts, with the idea to perform cascade chemical reactions in a more efficient way. A first proof of concept was published recently, showing […]

Starting a new project on the spray drying of aluminum-based materials

We recently had the pleasure to welcome Dr. Nadia Gholampour as a post-doctoral researcher, for a three-year project conducted in collaboration with Dequachim. Our work will start at the lab scale, then pilot, and then, hopefully all the way up to those nice industrial spray driers able to process several tons a day. Looking forward […]

Plein pot sur la recherche en catalyse! (vidéo)

Dès ce mois de septembre 2020, Damien Debecker focalisera toute son attention et son temps sur le développement de ses recherches : la création de catalyseurs hybrides et la transformation du CO2 en molécules qui peuvent être utilisées comme carburant. Voici une brève description des activités du labo et du projet couvert par cette prestigieuse […]

Free to access lectures from the International symposium on “Advanced Catalyst Design & Molecular Catalysis”

Between August 31 and September 4, Xi-An Jiaotong University was holding an online International symposium on “Advanced Catalyst Design & Molecular Catalysis“. All videos from the symposium are available freely, online at this adress (you should activate the H5 player, or enable the plugins to play the videos). Make sure to check the impressive line […]

Damien Debecker is granted a « Francqui Research Professor » chair

The Board of the Francqui Foundation has decided to grant Prof. Damien Debecker a “Francqui Research Professor” chair. This consists in a 120 000 € funding that gives the laureate the chance to dedicate himself to the research, with a reduced teaching assignment. The chair is granted to professors or young researchers of an exceptionally […]

Valentin Smeets wins the ISGS PhD Thesis Award

Dr. Valentin Smeets has received the 2019 ISGS PhD Thesis Award on May 15, 2020 for his work entitled « New synthetic approaches to efficient Ti–SiO2 epoxidation catalysts ». This prize, granted by the International Sol-Gel Society (ISGS), awards the most outstanding PhD work among the sol-gel community. The international jury has emphasized the novelty and high quality of the research carried out on the […]

Looking for 2 PhD candidates

Louvain-la-Neuve, June 09, 2020 We are recruiting two PhD students, to start new projects on the development of innovative heterogeneous catalysts and hybrids. Candidates will work in the group of Prof. Damien Debecker (UCLouvain). Highly motivated candidates must also hold a university degree equivalent to a Master in chemistry, bio-science engineering, bio-engineering, chemical engineering or […]

Interview of Damien Debecker by ChemCatChem

Damien was interviewed in celebration of his Young Researcher Award 2020, Catalysis Division of the French Chemical Society. In fact, ChemCatChem holds a Special Collection which serves to highlight the profiles of scientists who have received awards in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the field of catalysis. Discover some insights on Damien’s career and […]

Hollow zeolite microspheres give enzymes a home

Building multifunctional hybrid materials that integrate both bio- and chemo-catalytic functionalities is a promising way to carry out multistep chemical reactions in a more sustainable fashion. Yet, the combination of an enzyme and a heterogeneous catalyst is not straightforward, for example in the case of zeolite catalysts: the enzyme cannot be inserted in the microporosity […]

Stable catalysts for ethylene production via ethanol dehydration

The dehydration of bio-alcohols is an important catalytic reaction in the perspective of the development of a bio-based industry. Bioethanol, for example, is a major bio-based platform chemical as its production via fermentation processes is now well-established. Its dehydration produces ethylene – a broadly used stock chemical important mainly in polymer industry. In a recent […]

Damien Debecker se voit décerner le Prix Jeune Chercheur de la Division Catalyse de la Société Chimique de France (SCF)

Le comité de la « DivCat » vient de décider de décerner le Prix Jeune Chercheur à Damien Debecker, Professeur à l’UCLouvain (conjointement avec Antoine Daudin, Chef de projet à l’IFP Energies Nouvelles). Ce prix vient récompenser la contribution importante et originale de Damien Debecker en catalyse hétérogène et notamment son apport à des approches innovantes pour […]

La catalyse va-t-elle sauver le Monde en 2025 ?

Le 23 janvier dernier, j’étais invité par Interscience à faire une présentation lors de leur « SmartBrunch ». Sous ce titre accrocheur proposé par l’hôte, un sous-titre plus précis : « Réduction catalytique du CO2 : challenge et opportunités ». Après une introduction très générale sur la catalyse, il m’était donc demandé de donner mon point de vue sur le […]

Application for a post-doctoral position

Post-doctoral position at UCLouvain and Dequenne Chimie available through an application to the BEWARE Fellowship Academia program The BEWARE Fellowships 2 program (for BElgian WAllonia REsearcher) is cofunded by the Marie Actions Skłodowska-Curie of the European Commission (COFUND – contract 847587). IMPORTANT NOTE: the position is not funded yet! We are looking for the right […]

CO2? Capture it and turn it into methane!

The recent scholarly literature tends to show that Combined CO2 Capture and Methanation (CCCM) processes could emerge as one of the practical solutions in the context of CO2 emissions mitigation. Such strategies based on the combined CO2 capture on solid adsorbents and CO2 methanation on metal-based catalysts are both pertinent and practically achievable. This strategy […]

Cédric Boissière to give a seminar on “Silica-based nanotherapeutic vectors” at UCLouvain – Sept 10

It is my pleasure to announce that Dr. Cédric Boissière, a prolific inventor and outstanding chemist from Sorbonne Université, will give a seminar at our institute. Cédric is very active in materials chemistry, in particuler in sol-gel science and processing, focusing on porous materials, thin films, heterogeneous catalysts, sensors, nanovectors, etc. Nano-vectors are fairly recent […]

Conférence en vidéo: Préparation de catalyseurs hétérogènes à porosité contrôlée par le procédé aérosol

Le 22 février dernier, à l’invitation de Clément Sanchez, j’ai donné une conférence au Collège de France. Mon intervention s’inscrivait dans le cadre d’un colloque sur les matériaux poreux. Une belle occasion de partager ce que nous développons dans ce domaine, pour la préparation de catalyseurs hétérogènes, avec un focus sur le procédé aérosol. Les […]

Weiyi Ouyang joins our group as a postdoctoral fellow

The group was recently reinforced with the arrival of Weiyi Ouyang, who will bring his expertise in the catalytic upgrading of biomass and in MOF synthesis. Weiyi did his PhD with Prof. Rafael Luque as a supervisor (NANOVAL, University of Cordoba, Spain) while he was also a Marie Curie early stage researcher in the Photo4Future […]

6th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials: presenting our results on the stability of hydrophobic metallosilicates

Ales Styskalik is at the “HYMA Conference” in Sitges (Spain) to present an oral communication: «Ethanol dehydration over hydrophobic aluminum and niobium silicates: Influence of homogeneity of metal mixing on catalytic activity and stability of Si−C bonds». Here is his story, in brief. Ethylene is widely used in chemical industry, mainly in polymer production. Nowadays […]

Simply Complex: Precisely Manufactured Simple Molecules for Today’s Applications

On November 30, Dr. Rob Hart, head of R&D from The Shepherd Chemical Company (Cincinnati, USA) is invited to present a seminar at our Institute. “It turns out that you can teach an old dog new tricks”. Rob Hart, 2018 You are all invited to attend and discover how the chemistry and manufacture of simple […]

Funded post-doc position: “QCM and AFM investigation of heterogeneous catalytic systems”

We are looking for a highly motivated post-doctoral researcher with a background in the investigation of heterogeneous catalytic systems on thin films. The overall objective of the project is to study the hydrophobic/hydrophilic balance of the catalysts. The strategy outlining the post-doc research is to address these aspects by (i) preparing thin films of different […]

Dr. Francesca Paradisi to give a seminar on “Flow biocatalysis” (April 12)

April 12, 14.30 (LAVOB205): please join us for the seminar of our group for which the speaker is Dr. Francesca Paradisi (University of Nottigham). Francesca Paradisi is an Associate Professor in Biocatalysis and Enzyme Engineering in the School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham. She is very active in biocatalysis, especially focusing on the […]

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

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 […]

#CatalysisTweepsMeeting at Europacat 2017

The small community of researchers who are active both in the field of heterogeneous catalysis and on Twitter had an informal get-together during the Europacat conference in Florence. The meeting, held in bar down town on the evening of the second day of the conference was a great opportunity to meet our colleagues in person, […]

CiteScore: Elsevier’s new metrics for impact

In Elsevier’s words: “CiteScore metrics: a new standard that gives a more comprehensive, transparent and current view of a journal’s impact.” Are you guys really sure about this? I just collected the Impact Factor and the CiteScore values for a range of journals in my field (chemistry, catalysis, materials science). Here is how the metrics […]

Plus que 3 jours pour postuler à un mandat d’assistant

Les assistants sont une pièce maîtresse de notre système d’enseignement et de recherche universitaire. Ils réalisent un doctorat (PhD) et assistent les profs en se chargeant des travaux pratiques, labo, séances d’exercices, etc. La Faculté des Bioingénieurs ouvre 4 postes cette année. La deadline pour postuler est le 22 mai. Il y a 4 domaines […]

22 mars 2016 – Au cours, les étudiants s’agitaient autour de leurs smartphones

Je suis un prof plutôt zen. À l’étudiant qui regarde son smartphone plutôt que de s’attacher à déchiffrer ce que je griffonne au tableau, je ne fais jamais de remarque. Après tout, c’est son problème. Tant que ça ne dérange pas le bon déroulement du cours. De même, les petits chuchotements, dans un auditoire globalement […]

“Sol–Gel Chemistry: A Toolbox for Catalyst Preparation” – Call for paper

Acting as a guest editor of a special issue entitled “Sol–Gel Chemistry: A Toolbox for Catalyst Preparation”, to be published by the open access journal “Catalysts“, I invite you to consider submitting your latest work on the topic! Sol–gel chemistry encompasses a wide range of chemical routes that allow producing tailored solid materials starting form […]

Funded PhD student position available in the field of heterogeneous catalysis

(PhD position now taken – stay tuned for next opportunities)   My colleague, Prof. Eric Gaigneaux is hiring a PhD student. If interested apply ASAP!   Research topic: Hybridization of polyoxometalates towards heterogeneous catalysts with tuned hydrophilic-hydrophobic balance Contact: Eric Gaigneaux ; E-mail : Context and domain of proposed research: A Ph D fellowship with […]

Pour favoriser l’égalité homme/femme, chouchoutons les papas!

La maternité: loi biologique et carburant des préjugés sexistes Les inégalités homme/femme dans le monde professionnel persistent, tout comme les préjugés sexistes. Au niveau académique, le phénomène de l’”évaporation des femmes” au fil de la carrière scientifique est bien connu et étudié. C’est notre responsabilité collective de remédier à cette gabegie et à cette injustice. […]

UCL : Université Humaniste de Louvain ?

Le pouvoir d’un nom Il y a quelques années, la communauté universitaire de Louvain était secouée par un vif débat opposant d’une part les partisans d’un changement qui voyaient d’un bon œil la suppression du « C » dans le nom de leur chère université et d’autre part des partisans du statu quo. J’ai moi-même à l’époque […]

Researcher, is your job done once your paper is published?

Getting a paper published is nice! Now, once online, is your job done? Blogging can be a good way to engage with your scientific community and to be visible online.  It is a bit like going to conferences to present your work. Except that it is online and that you don’t really know who is […]

Post-doc wanted! Materials science, sol-gel chemistry

——————————– Applications now closed ——————————–   In the framework of a collaboration with an industrial partner (IRE) we are hiring a post-doctoral researcher for a 1-year project. SCOPE:  In the context of isotope production for nuclear medicine purpose, we develop, characterize and  produce innovative inorganic sorbents at multi gram scale for radioactive substance separation and […]

Funded PhD position available in the field of coordination chemistry in relation with heterogeneous catalysis

Co-supervision by Prof. Michel Devillers (UCL) and Prof. Carmela Aprile (Univ. Namur) Research topic: Coordination chemistry approaches to enhance precursor-support interactions in catalyst preparation by playing with the hydrophilic-hydrophobic balance. Context and domain of proposed research: A 4-year Ph D fellowship is available in the frame of a large multidisciplinary research project (Concerted Research Project […]

Bourse de doctorat dans le domaine de la chimie de coordination et de la catalyse hétérogène

Dans le cadre d’un projet de recherche multidisciplinaire (Action de Recherche Concertée 2015-2020 – « PolarCat »), nous cherchons à engager un(e) doctorant(e) qui mènera une thèse sur le thème: “Coordination chemistry approaches to enhance precursor-support interactions in catalyst preparation by playing with the hydrophilic-hydrophobic balance” en copromotion entre Prof. Michel Devillers (UCL) et Prof. […]

à quoi mènent les études de Bioingénieur? (vidéos)

Sous l’impulsion du Doyen de la Faculté des Bioingénieurs, et avec l’aide de l’administration des relations extérieures et de la communication (AREC) de l’UCL, nous avons préparé une série de 4 capsules vidéo illustrant les débouchés possibles des études de bioingénieur. Ces 4 vidéos présentent les parcours professionnels de jeunes diplômés (~10 ans après le […]

Une activité pédagogique à conseiller: la classe puzzle

Il n’est pas toujours aisé de sortir des sentiers battus dans la pédagogie universitaire. Partage d’expérience sur un dispositif pédagogique utilisé avec succès (à mon humble avis) depuis deux ans. Les étudiants bioingénieurs en Master 1 inscrits à mon cours de « Génie des Procédés, Opérations Unitaires » sont invités à aller sur le terrain visiter des installations […]

[Seminar] Sustainable chemical processes by heterogeneous catalysis

Next Friday (27/3/2015), I will present a seminar summarizing the main results obtained during the last 3-4 years in various directions of our research.   Abstract: The vast majority of the chemical transformations performed in the industry are done with the mediation of catalysts. From bulk petro chemistry to fine organic synthesis, biomass conversion or […]

A scientist’s account to Twitter

Originally posted on An infinity of hypotheses:
Some of my colleagues often asked me what I am doing on Twitter. Below are some of my answers. Twitter, the micro-blogging platform may be viewed as fascinating for some people but also frightening and boring for others. It is certainly a controversial subject. But Twitter is a…

Heterogeneous catalysis on Twitter

This is a collection of twitter accounts that are specifically dedicated or partly related to catalysis. For those wishing to follow the trends and news in the field, the list can be followed directly on Twitter here. I arbitrarily decided to focus on heterogeneous (bio)catalysis, so you might not find your favorite organometallic catalysis expert. […]

Atomically-Precise Methods for Synthesis of Solid Catalysts (book)

My colleague, Sophie Hermans, along with another colleague from ULB, Thierry Visart de Bocarmé, are publishing a book dedicated to the preparation of solid catalysts by “atomically-precise methods”. There is a strong interest in the community for the preparation of catalysts with specific structures for a desired catalytic activity. Catalysts practically used in the industry […]

International post-doc wanted – project starting March 2015

*** candidate now selected for this project proposal – follow for upcoming opportunities  ***   I am currently writing a project to be funded (hopefully!) by the Walloon Region, in Belgium. The project is partly confidential at this stage. I can say it involves a partnership with a local company. It will concern the preparation […]

Sept bonnes raisons de choisir des études de bioingénieur

Je rapporte ici un argumentaire établi par la Faculté des Bioingénieurs, AGRO Louvain, UCL. Sa version originale est disponible ici.  Ce document décrit bien les spécificités des études de Bioingénieur. A titre personnel, j’insisterais sur la polyvalence scientifique qui permet une grande variété de débouchés et un taux d’emploi élevé.  Nous développons une approche “intégrée” […]

Impact factor or other “better metrics”?

In a recent post, I collected a series of 2013 impact factors (IF) from our field of research (heterogeneous catalysis) and around (chemistry, materials science, etc.) and I discussed the ranking of the journals and their evolution with respect to 2012. Some colleagues of mine pointed to the flaws of these indicators and argued that […]

2013 impact factors are out

Below is a quick analysis of the data for our field of research (especially heterogeneous catalysis, but also materials science, etc.). Before going further, I have to say: “I agree!”. I agree, IF are not an appropriate tool to assess the quality and impact of an individual paper (a posteriori individual metrics like @altmetrics can […]

Nous recrutons un(h/f) logisticien de recherche

C’est un poste clé pour notre institut et plus spécifiquement pour notre groupe de recherche! Nous (l’IMCN) recherchons urgemment un candidat au poste de logisticien de recherche qui est ouvert actuellement. Description de l’offre: ICI. Le candidat retenu aura un job trépidant (je peux fournir les infos de contact de la personne précédemment en poste […]

PhD scholarship “accessible”

Topic We are looking for PhD candidates for research projects in the field of heterogeneous catalysis and biocatalysis. The focus can be – on the development of new inorganic catalyst preparation methods (including non-conventional sol-gel methods, see here and here), – on enzyme immobilization – on kinetics studies and cascade reactions. The context is always […]

Prof. Bernard Delmon – The heterogeneous catalysis community is celebrating an inspiring scientist

A Special Issue of Applied Catalysis A presents a collection of papers honouring Professor Bernard Delmon on the occasion of his 80th birthday.  Contributions from around the world This issue gathers contributions from researchers who have worked with Professor Delmon in our laboratory as PhD students, post-docs or visiting professors. Internationally recognized scientists who have […]

List of active predator journals (run!)

As explained in my previous post, I’ve had enough of all these fake journals just spamming the science community. This list aims at blowing the whistle on them. It will be regularly updated (but it is far from exhaustive; see comment below the post). Entries of this list correspond to – irrelevant invitations I received […]

Fake research journals (enough already!)

You’ve got a mail – “Dear Prof. xxx, Considering your substantial expertise in the field, we invite you to contribute to our journal”. – “What an honour!  Thank you!”   Straight to the trash How many emails do we get every day, asking us to contribute to open-access/fake/bandit (select what applies) science journals? You might […]

Biodiversité en Wallonie

Je sais… Moi mon domaine, c’est plutôt la chimie et l’ingénierie chimique. Avec ce profil là, on peut légitimement trouver des difficultés à me placer dans le paysage de la faculté des bioingénieurs, AGRO Louvain. Il est vrai que certains de nos projets de recherche ne touchent même pas aux sciences du vivant (ni de […]

Loisirs et résultats scolaires – la corrélation et la cause

Cette semaine, l’émission radio “Connexions” sur La Première, RTBF se faisait l’écho d’une étude française consacrée à “l’impact des loisirs des adolescents sur les performances scolaires”. Fort heureusement, le concept de l’émission de @robincornet tient plus du débat que de l’écoute révérencieuse d’une leçon académique donnée par un scientifique. Nous avons donc eu droit d’une […]

The illustrated guide to a Ph.D.

++++    A funny/pertinent post orginally published by Matt Might    ++++ ++++    (I can only share and say how much I like it!)    ++++ Every fall, I explain to a fresh batch of Ph.D. students what a Ph.D. is. It’s hard to describe it in words. So, I use pictures. Imagine a circle that […]

Our research group

Like (almost) every year, our research team poses for a group picture. A nice way to remember of the people who come and leave along the years ! Our research group in front of the famous Belgian comic “Gaston“. Note: missing on the picture: Najla Fniter, Ara Kim, Anna Brisou, Daddy Kazadi Kashishi

ToF-SIMS and the catalyst surface

In heterogeneous catalysis, everything is related to the surface… Today, I want to point out to an interesting review that is published in Appl. Catal. A. In this overview, Prof. Lu-Tao Weng, from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology presents an important surface analysis technique that indeed deserves the best attention of the […]

Bio & Soft Matter – video

Our research institute (Institude of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences, at the UCL, Belgium) is issuing a video to describe its research activity. In this film, the focus is on the “Bio & Soft Matter” group. This initiative should be encouraged. Nowadays, web visibility and promotion is essential. We have impressive equipment and expertise; we should […]

Journée scientifique de la SRC

De la catalyse hétérogène… Le 10 octobre prochain, se tiendra la journée scientifique annuelle de la Société Royale de Chimie (SRC). Cette édition aura pour thème « la catalyse hétérogène, science et outil de la chimie moderne ». Notre dada est donc mis à l’honneur cette année. Il faut dire que le lauréat du prix triennal de […]

XPS on heterogeneous catalysts – beware of BE scale calibration!

X-ray photoelectron microscopy (XPS) is very commonly used by researchers in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. What is more important than the surface of solid catalyst, where all reactions take place? XPS allows us to analyze the composition of the catalyst surface. XPS allows us to grab some info on the dispersion of active species […]

PREPA – the platform for scientific discussions on heterogeneous catalysts preparation

The 11th International Symposium on the “Scientific Bases for the Preparation of Heterogeneous Catalysts” will be held in Louvain-la-Neuve, from 6 till 10 July 2014. I have been taking part of this symposium (PREPA9) for the first time in 2006, at the end of my Master thesis. Back then I was proud of having carried out […]

1st post – what can you find on my blog

I will post blogs concerning – our latest research results (sum up + links to paper) – interesting papers from the literature – unpublished materials (figures, images, graphs, schemes) and negative results – personal views about reasearch, chemistry, engineering, academic life, publishing practices, etc.

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