Awards 2023

Our journals regularly sponsor prizes for the best poster or oral presentations at select international conferences. The prizes recognize excellence in the field, with an emphasis on young and aspiring scientists.

Actively Learning Materials Science | Aalto, Finland | 27 February – 3 March 2023

Award sponsored by Advanced Science for the best poster presentation

Ashna Jose from the Université Grenoble Alpes, France, for her poster entitled, Regression Tree-Based Active Learning: An Application to Metal Organic Frameworks.


Research summary: A regression tree-based active learning algorithm (RT-AL) is proposed to overcome the lack of
labeled data for material property predictions using machine learning. Its efficiency is demonstrated on a dataset of Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs), highly porous materials that can employ an electronic transition to efficiently desorb gas; the thermodynamic quantities relevant to which are very time consuming to compute using electronic structure methods.

Materials for Sustainable Development Conference | Valencia, Spain | 6-10 March 2023

Award sponsored by Advanced Optical Materials for the best poster presentation

Simona Streckaitė from the Center for Physical Sciences and Technology, Lithuania, for her poster entitled, Energy transfer processes in lead halide perovskites doped with ytterbium.


Research summary: Lead halide perovskites, which absorb strongly in the short wavelength region, are the perfect host to transfer the absorbed energy to the lanthanide ytterbium, which emits at the optimal wavelength for Si solar cells. In our work, we show the effortless synthesis of ytterbium incorporation into lead halide perovskites and a thorough investigation of the quantum-cutting phenomenon that occurs in these systems.

Quantum Matter International Conference – QUANTUMatter 2023 | Madrid, Spain | 23-25 May 2023

Award sponsored by Advanced Quantum Technologies for the best poster presentation

Mickey Martini from the Institute for Solid State Research, Dresden, Germany, for his poster entitled, Twisted cuprate van der Waals heterostructures with controlled Josephson coupling.

Research summary: Our work addresses properties of the interface superconductivity and Josephson coupling in twisted interfaces between stacked cuprate Bi2Sr2CuCa2O8+d crystals. We demonstrate in these heterostructures a strong twisting angle and temperature dependence of the Josephson critical current compatible with the d-wave symmetry of the superconducting order parameter.

13th International Nanomedicine Conference | Sydney, Australia | 19-21 May 2023

Award sponsored by Advanced Healthcare Materials and Advanced NanoBioMed Research for the best oral presentations

Weixi Wu from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, for her talk entitled, Biomimetic Strategies in Engineering Nanoparticles for Gene Delivery.

Research summary: Virus-mimicking silica nanoparticles with either a head-tail morphology or a tailored coverage of spiky surface are introduced first, which showed enhanced interactions with pDNA molecules and boosted intracellular transfection efficacy. Then a core-shell zeolitic imidazolate framework nanoparticle with in-situ pDNA encapsulation was presented. The strong protection and controlled release of DNA molecules lead to superior transfection in dendritic cells, which shows big potential for clinical translation.

1st Australian Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering | Cairns, Australia | 2-5 July 2023

Award sponsored by Global Challenges for the best poster presentation

Caroline Andersson from the Flinders University, Australia, for her poster entitled, Trapping per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) within coordination cage adsorbents

Research summary: Per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, are a class of toxic forever chemicals that have accumulated in our environment. In this work, water-soluble metal-organic cages were used to trap different kinds of PFAS. NMR spectroscopy and single crystal X-ray analysis confirmed the successful binding of PFAS within the cavity of the cage, and enabled the host-guest stoichiometry of the various PFAS guests to be determined.

Southern Ontario Medical MicroRobotics Symposium (SOMMeRS 2023) | Waterloo, Canada | 11 July 2023 

Award sponsored by Advanced Intelligent Systems for the best poster presentations 

Lee Cheng, Erica Liu, Mathilda LaBrash-White, from the University of Waterloo, Canada for their poster entitled, 3D Printed Anatomical Organ Models for Medical Microrobot Testing.

Research summary: The research is focused on the creation of three-dimensional (3D) anatimical models to replicate intricate structures of complex organs, specifically the urinary tract (including the bladder, ureter, and renal pelvis), the female reproductive tract (the uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes), and the inner ear (the cochlea and semicircular canals). The aim is to create lifelike testing platforms that accurately simulate environmental conditions in these organs, allowing for the assessment of the performance of medical wireless microrobots.

Zhaoxin Li, from the University of Toronto, Canada for his poster entitled, 3D Printing of Multilayer Magnetic Miniature Soft Robots with Programmable Magnetization.

Research summary: Magnetically driven miniature soft robots exhibit fast and dexterous responses to an applied external magnetic field. With remote manipulation, controlled navigation of robots can be realized within hard-to-access spaces for potential use in the human body. With the technique of digital light processing (DLP), multilayer 3D structures are fabricated by patterning magnetic nanoparticles in ultraviolet (UV)-curable polymer matrix. By programming heterogeneous magnetization within discrete multilayer robot segments, magnetic torque-induced shape changes including gripping, rolling, swimming, and walking are induced by a global actuation field.

2023 International Conference on Materials Innovation | Brisbane, Australia | 22-25 August 2023

Award sponsored by Advanced Materials Technologies and Advanced Materials for the best oral presentations



Selengesuren Suragtkhuu from the Griffith University, Australia, for her flash presentation entitled, The effect of oxygen on α-FAPbI3 perovskite solar cells.

Research summary: The effect of oxygen on the performance of α-FAPbI3based PSCs was investigated by annealing in three different environments. It was found that α-FAPbI3 films annealed in air have better performance than those annealed in only N2 or in both N2 and air. The presence of oxygen plays a crucial role in reducing halide vacancies and structural defects, while simultaneously enhancing structural uniformity and grain size.

Kyra M. K. Yap from Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, CA, USA, for her oral presentation entitled, Design Principles for the Operation of Solar-Driven CO2 Reduction Devices Under Diurnal Conditions.

Research summary: A key challenge for solar-driven CO reduction is selectivity, and large-scale operating systems should operate with optimized catalyst selectivity profiles, which are a strong function of operating parameters such as voltage, current density, and temperature. In this research a process to streamline the experimental prototyping phase is developed for co-designing the CO2R electrocatalyst to a PV module, under diurnal conditions of incident solar irradiation and ambient operating temperature.

15th Polymer Meeting (PM15) | Bratislava, Slovakia | 4-7 September 2023

Award sponsored by Macromolecular Journals for the best poster presentations

Alžbeta Minarčíková from the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovak Republic, for her poster presentation entitled, Poly(2-isopropenyl-2-oxazoline) as a polymeric drug carrier.

Research summary: Poly(2-isopropenyl-2-oxazoline) (PIPOx) is a unique functional polymer suitable for the formation of conjugates that have high potential in various areas of biotechnology and medicine such as drug delivery, gene therapy, tissue engineering, or vaccine technology.

In this work, polymer conjugates with different molar masses and different amount of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen are prepared. These drug-polymer conjugates allow to increase the anticancer effect of ibuprofen in vitro through controlled release of ibuprofen and immunomodulatory properties of polymers carrier.

Florian Mayer from the Technical University Wien, Austria, for his poster presentation entitled, Novel Radical Photoinitiators Based on Germanium with Long Wavelength Absorption for High Curing Depth.

Research summary: Light-induced polymerisation has become an essential part of industry. Here, different novel photoinitiators based on tetraacylgermane derivatives were synthesized and tested in regard to their absorbance, photochemistry and photoreactivity at two different wavelengths. The found substitution pattern led to a considerable improvement of the performance.

Owen Tooley from the University of Warwick, UK, for his poster presentation entitled, MaDDOSY: Mass Determination Diffusion Ordered Spectroscopy on the Benchtop.

Research summary: we present a universal, solvent-independent calibration curve for the rapid determination of polymer molecular weight using a benchtop NMR spectrometer, which provides a system in which no external calibration is required prior to measurement. We show results of calculated molecular weight for a wide range of polymer types and solvent systems. We also present an automated sampling method for the monitoring of monitoring molecular weight as a reaction proceeds using rapid diffusion-ordered spectroscopy (DOSY) measurements.

Flatlands beyond Graphene 2023 | Prague, Czech Republic | 25-29 September

Award sponsored by Small Methods for the best poster presentation

Manila Ozhukil Valappil from the University of Waterloo, Canada, for her poster presentation entitled, Electrochemical Exfoliation of Transition Metal Dichalcogenides for Printed Optoelectronic Devices.

Research summary: Herein, we discuss our recent efforts to improve a tetraalkylammonium-based cathodic electrochemical exfoliation method using a novel, three-electrode electrochemical cell that can exfoliate commercial powdered MoS2, unlike expensive MoS2 single crystals, with the aim of designing a new process that increases single-sheet yield and improves sheet quality.

Femincam Conference | Cambridge, UK | 27 September

Award sponsored by Advanced Materials for the best poster presentation


Carolina Pulignani from the University of Cambridge, UK, for her poster entitled, Rational Design of Carbon Nitride Photoelectrodes with High Activity Toward Organic Oxidations.

Research summary: In this poster, a facile and reproducible method to synthesize versatile and high-performance cyanamide-functionalized carbon nitride (NCNCNx) photoanodes is reported. It was shown that ITO nanoparticles act as a conductive binder and improve the extraction of electrons from the carbon nitride, otherwise remain trapped in the organic semiconductor, while the alumina underlayer increases the electrical contact between the ITO nanoparticles and the FTO-coated electrode.

12th SolTech Conference | Würzburg, Germany | 3-5 October

Award sponsored by Advanced Energy Materials for the best poster presentation

Tilman Schneider from Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany, for his poster presentation entitled, A Series of Linear Ru(bda) Oligomers for Heterogeneous (Photo)electrochemical Water Oxidation Catalysis.

Research summary: Efficient and stable water splitting catalysts are of paramount importance for the chemical storage of renewable energy.
We highlight the introduction of monodentate end caps as a novel design concept to further improve the stability of such oligomers. Following this strategy, we synthesized a novel tetranuclear oligomer in a convenient one-step procedure from literature-known starting materials. In heterogeneous water oxidation electrocatalysis immobilized on carbon nanotubes, the compound shows high stability with a turnover number of more than one million.

14th European and Global Summit for Clinical Nanomedicine (CLINAM 2023) | Basel, Switzerland | 8-11 October 2023

Award sponsored by Advanced NanoBiomed Research and Advanced Therapeutics for the best poster presentations

Paul Schneider from the University Medical Center, Mainz, Germany and Karina Benderski from the University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany for their poster entitled, Development and characterization of a syngenic fibrotic hepatocellular carcinoma model.

Research summary: Hepatocellular Carcinoma is a major subtype of liver cancer. It frequently develops from cirrhotic livers, a medical disease marked by a damaged and weakened liver as a result of increased extracellular matrix deposition. However, incidences of HCC are also increasingly observed in patients without cirrhosis.

To bridge the gap between short term murine models for screening purposes and long term models wich are closer to the clinical appearance, we introduce a murine HCC model with rapidly progressing HCC with or without prior inducable fibrosis. The model is suitable for rapid screening of novel therapy approaches.

Laura Dietz from the University Medical Center Mainz and Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz, Germany, for her poster entitled, Forming of a Protein Corona on Extracellular Vesicles increases Uptake into Immune Cells.

Research summary: Extracellular vesicles (EV) have attracted much attention as novel nanotherapeutic recently and first clinical trials are ongoing. Similar to synthetic nanotherapeutics, EVs acquire a protein corona upon contact with biological fluids that likely influences their biodistribution, cell targeting and in consequence therapeutic efficacy. Unlike for synthetic nanotherapeutics, little is known about the influence of the EVs’ protein corona on all these processes. Therefore, we aimed to compare the influence of a protein corona on EVs directly to the protein corona on engineered liposomes.

1st European School on Advanced Materials | Gandia, Spain | 15-18 October

Award sponsored by Advanced Functional Materials for the best oral presentation 

Victoria Axelrad from the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, for her oral presentation entitled, Manufacturing of YSZ Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering by Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF).

Research summary: This work focuses on the development of a filament containing nanometric zirconia ceramic powder for additive manufacturing using the Fused Filament Fabrication technique. Differential Scanning Calorimetry studies were conducted to understand the crystalline behavior of the binders during processing and its impact on the mechanical properties of the filament. Binders that provided the filament with greater printing capacity and stable flexibility were selected. A flexible filament for easy manipulation was developed for future ceramic implant fabrication.

Carbon Club Conference | Marburg, Germany | 11-12 October

Award sponsored by Advanced Functional Materials for the best oral presentation

Shudi Qiu from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, for his oral presentation entitled, Probing and Controlling the Kinetics of Gas-Quenching-Induced Crystallization of Printed Perovskite Film: Revisiting the Role of Excessive Methylammonium Iodide.

Research summary: An essential requirement for high throughput production of perovskite photovoltaics is the ability to deposit high-quality perovskite films on large areas by industrially viable methods. In this work, a delicate in-situ optical spectroscopy was integrated into a blade coating site that allows real-time monitoring of film formation and assists in optimizing the processing parameters during the gas quenching process.