Elsevier announces the winners of the Reaxys PhD Prize 2020

Three young researchers are recognized for their innovative and rigorous research as the prestigious chemical sciences research prize celebrates its tenth year

Amsterdam, October 8, 2020

Elsevier, a global research publishing and information analytics provider, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Reaxys PhD Prize at the 10th anniversary Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium, held for the first time as a virtual event.

The event and prize celebrate outstanding research by ambitious PhD students from across the globe, recognizing the most innovative and rigorous research in chemistry and associated sciences. Over the past decade, the Reaxys PhD Prize has received over 4,000 submissions from over 50 countries.

Of this year’s event, Reaxys Advisory Board member Michael Ruck, Professor and Chair of Inorganic Chemistry at the Technische Universität Dresden said: “The Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium once again impressively demonstrates the vibrant and creative nature of chemistry. It was a great pleasure to listen to these young scientists, who will be among the leaders of tomorrow.”

This year 45 finalists were selected from over 400 submissions. Eleven were shortlisted to present their research and be considered for the prize. The three equally ranked Reaxys PhD Prize 2020 winners are:

  • Dr. Keiichi Yano from Professor Yoshimitsu Itoh’s group at the University of Tokyo
    Presentation title: Supramolecular polymerization in liquid crystalline media
  • Dr. Jianchun Wang from Professor Guangbin Dong’s group at the University of Chicago
    Presentation title: Designing new norbenene cocatalysts for palladium/norbenene catalysis
  • Mr. Rupert Proctor from Dr. Robert Phipps’ group at the University of Cambridge
    Presentation title: Development of catalytic enantioselective Minisci-type reactions

Each award winner received a prize of USD $2,000 and, together with the other finalists, will become part of a private network of 450 talented chemists from around the world, the Reaxys Prize Club.

Mr. Proctor recognized the potential impact of the prize. “Winning the Reaxys prize is a tremendous honor that will be invaluable in my pursuit of an academic career. The other finalists and speakers presented their fantastic work very well and I feel incredibly fortunate that ours was selected from among that work.”

The winners were congratulated by the Reaxys Advisory Board and the organizers. Professor Henry Wong spoke for the board, saying “The three 2020 Reaxys PhD Prize winners are truly outstanding. They demonstrated a great deal of creativity and novelty, as well as an immense level of depth. We warmly congratulate these three scientists and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”

In addition to the shortlisted finalists’ talks, the virtual Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium included a thought-provoking keynote presentation from Professor Bruce Lipshutz of the University of California Santa Barbara, who focused on the potential for greener reaction chemistry, as well as fascinating talks from Advisory Board members Professor Cristina Nevado and Professor Li-Zhu Wu, who both talked about their most recent work.

As part of the tenth-anniversary celebration, former Reaxys PhD Prize finalists Professor Thomas Maimone, Dr. Emma McInturff and Professor Kei Muto were invited to talk about their careers and research. The symposium was rounded out with opportunities to network via chat and a forum as well as a virtual poster session, with the Best Poster Awards going to Dr. Samantha Green, Dr. Qinheng Zheng and Dr. Yuzuru Kanda.

The Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium registration will remain open, so that anyone can access the talks from the event, view the posters and listen to the final pitches from this year’s finalists. Sign up to access the event now.

Read more about the Reaxys PhD Prize and this year’s 45 finalists by following the links.


Notes to editors
Additional comments from the winners:

Dr. Yano drew attention to the importance of such events for sharing knowledge “This competition made me realize that we are all connected through science. Exchanging achievements, ideas and dreams maintains the research community, I strongly feel that we are responsible to take actions for our future sustainable society.”

Dr. Wang agreed that the symposium is a valuable opportunity. “It is really a great honor to be one of the recipients of such a prestigious prize. Furthermore, it has been such a pleasure to take part in the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium because it is a wonderful opportunity to communicate with the top chemists from all over the world”

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Media contact
Jonathan Davis
Elsevier Communications, Europe