The Backer-KNCV Prize

The Backer-KNCV Prize is awarded annually to the best PhD thesis in the field of organic chemistry that was defended in The Netherlands.

For the year of 2016 the committee consisted of Sander van Kasteren (Chair), Ilja Voets, Martin Wolffs and Tati Fernández-Ibáñez; experts in a wide range of disciplines within the organic chemistry field.

In total, 29 theses were submitted. The submitted thesis were judged based on the scientific quality, the relevance of the research, the clarity and structure of the thesis and their contributions to the field of organic chemistry. The jury was impressed with the quality of the candidates. After intense deliberations, the jury has decided to award the 2016 Backer-KNCV prize to Mu-Chieh Chang for his PhD-thesis titled ‘Formazanate as a Redox-Active, Structurally Versatile Ligand Platform’. The study was conducted at the University of Groningen under the guidance of Prof. Edwin Otten.

The thesis by Mu-Chieh Chang deals with the synthesis and discovery of new redox-active ligands, namely formazanates. Metal complexes bearing redox-active ligands can perform catalytic redox reactions that are not possible with conventional ligands, opening new pathways in synthesis and catalysis. The research done by Mu-Chieh Chang has established the redox-active feature of formazanate ligands. To achieve this, the synthesis and characterization of the free ligand and their metal complexes were developed using state-of-the-art techniques and the redox properties of the formazanate ligands were proven by electrochemical methods. The jury was impressed not only with the innovative approach, but also by the thoroughness of the science and quantity of work.

Besides the outstanding quality of the research, the layout of the thesis and the apparent simplicity and clarity of the text convinced the jury to declare this thesis as the winner of the 2016 Backer-KNCV prize.

Award winners of previous years

2015, Dr. Massimo Giannerini: ‘Advancing selectivity control with highly reactive organometallic reagents’

2014, Dr. Lianne Willems: ‘Direct and Two-Step Activity-Based Profiling of Proteases and Glycosidases’

2013, Dr. Danny Geerdink: ‘Total synthesis of enantiopure lipids on mycobacterial glycolipids and a putative sex pheromone of Trichogramma turkestanica

2012, Dr. Marthe Walvoort: ‘On the reactivity and selectivity of donor glycosides in glycochemistry and glycobiology’

2011, Dr. Dennis Waalboer:  ‘Synthetic Studies on Terpene Natural Products’

2010, Dr. Wim Noorduin:  ‘Single Chirality Through Crystal Grinding’

2009, Dr. Martin Witte:  ‘Activity-based profiling of glycoconjugate processing enzymes’

2008, Dr. Hans de Boer: ‘Cis-dihydroxylation and epoxidation of alkenes by manganese catalysts, selectivity, reactivity and mechanism’

2007, Dr. Robin Bon:  ‘Development and Application of Novel Multicomponent Reactions using a-acidic Isocyanides’

2006, Dr. Rienk Eelkema:  ‘Liquid Crystals as Amplifiers of Molecular Chirality’

2005, Dr. Sander Kluwer:  ‘Palladium-catalyzed stereoselective hydrogenation of alkynes to (Z)-alkenes in common solvents and supercritical CO2

2004, Dr. Xuemei Li:  ‘Catalytic Approaches to Nanolithography’

2003, Dr. F.M.H. de Groot:  ‘New Approaches in Selective Chemotherapy with Tumor-Activated Prodrugs’

2002, Dr. ir. Leonard Prins: ‘Non-covalent Synthesis of chiral Hydrogen-bonded Assemblies’

2001, Dr. Martin Albrecht: ‘Sensors, switches and catalysts: New applications of organometallic materials’

2000, Dr. Maurice van Eis:  ‘Small meatcyclophane: New challenges and new surprises’

1999,  Dr. Felix Beijer:  ‘Bouwen met waterstofbruggen’

1998, Dr. H.P.M. Huck: ‘Chiroptical Molecular Switches’

1997, Dr. Evelien Rijnberg: ‘Zincates and Zinc Thiolates: Structural Aspects and Enantioselective Catalysis’

1996, R.A.T.M. van Benthem: ‘Palladium cluster gekatalyseerde oxidatieve cyclisaties’

1995, Dr. P. Timmerman: ‘Molecules with rigid cavities by combination of calix[4]arenes and resorcinares’