Honoring Future Leaders

ACS Publications’ polymer portfolio has a long history of serving the polymer science community. It is made up of three journals (Macromolecules, Biomacromolecules, and ACS Macro Letters), the oldest of which, Macromolecules, has been publishing for nearly 50 years.

To honor this legacy, while also recognizing the next generation of standard-bearers in the field, the Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules Young Investigator Award was established in 2013. It is a  collaboration between the journals and the ACS Division of Polymer Chemistry.  Each year, the award recognizes two rising stars who have made major impacts on the field of polymer science.

According to Macromolecules Editor-in-Chief, Tim Lodge, “Polymer science is a dynamic field, currently invigorated by major improvements in synthetic strategies, characterization tools, computer simulations, and theoretical understanding. This vitality is underscored by the large number of young scientists world-wide who are launching successful careers around fundamental polymer science and its applications. Accordingly, this award seeks to encourage and recognize international leaders among the next generation of polymer scientists.”

And in just 3 short years, the award has become one of the most sought-after recognitions for young researchers. Ann-Christine Albertsson, Editor-in-Chief of Biomacromolecules says, “The popularity and repute of this award is reflected in the quality of the nominations that are sent in each year and the winners who receive this honor. The journals consider this to be of great importance that the leaders of tomorrow be recognized as they will carry the torch and show the path to future discoveries and successes in the field.”

Nominees must be 40 years old or younger and have published at least one article in one of the three polymer journals in the past 2 years. A selection committee, made up of editors of the polymer journals and POLY Division representatives, carefully reviews and evaluates the nominations.

Who are these award winners?

In 2013, the inaugural recipients of this award were Raffaele Mezzenga, ETH Zurich and David Michael Lynn, University of Wisconsin–Madison. They were selected for their respective contributions to understanding self-assembly processes in polymers and the design and synthesis of biologically relevant polymers.

In 2014, Sébastien Perrier, University of Warwick and Zhiyuan Zhong, Soochow University were awarded for their research in living radical polymerizations and development of functional biodegradable polymers for therapeutic applications, respectively.

This year’s winners are Matthew Becker, University of Akron and Brent Sumerlin, University of Florida. Professor Becker was recognized for developing novel functional materials for biomedical applications and Prof. Sumerlin for his contributions to the application of polymers in preparing advanced materials for treatment of disease.

The award does not only highlight cutting-edge research in the field. It is also a way for researchers to grow their careers. Professor Zhong has since become an Associate Editor for Biomacromolecules and Professor Sumerlin is now an Associate Editor with ACS Macro Letters.

Putting the spotlight on top research

Young Investigator Award winners are honored with a $3,000 cash prize, plus $1,500 to travel to the fall ACS National Meeting. They’re also featured in the polymer journals’ monthly ACS Polymer Science Podcast. But the real honor for awardees is the symposium held in their honor at the ACS National Meeting. Both awardees present their latest research, along with distinguished invited speakers.

The Young Investigator Awards have more than accomplished their goal of raising the polymer journals’ profile and uniting this large, diverse community of chemists.

Learn more about the Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules Young Investigator Award and nominate a colleague in 2016.

 

If you have comments or questions for the author of this post, please e-mail: Axial@acs.org.