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DSM Performance Materials Award 2008 presented to Professor Craig J. Hawker


Craig J. Hawker, Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Materials and Director of the Materials Research Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, has been awarded the DSM Performance Materials Award 2008 in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the advancement of the materials sciences. Professor Hawker is one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of polymeric performance materials. His outstanding fundamental and applied research and his dedication to innovative science have earned him a high reputation and a large following in the academic world.

An international judging committee, chaired by Professor Joseph Put, Chief Technology Officer of DSM, selected Professor Hawker from among several candidates shortlisted by an international nomination committee. Professor Hawker received the award – which carries a cash prize of EUR 50,000 – from Professor Put at the IUPAC Macro 2008 Congress in Taipei (Taiwan) on June 30. Speaking on the occasion, Professor Put said: ‘A real paradigm shift took place in synthetic chemistry in the past fifteen years, which resulted in the building up of well defined large functional systems mimicking biological systems. This was made possible by a combination of very well controlled chemistry, non covalent interactions and biotechnological approaches. Professor Hawker played a vital role in this development, both by opening up new synthetic pathways and by looking into possible applications in microelectronics and biomedical.’

Illustrious scientific career
Craig Hawker (44) was born in Australia, where he received his early education and graduated in chemistry with a First Class Honors degree from the University of Queensland in 1984. He went on to study at Cambridge University in the UK, where in 1988 he obtained his PhD with a thesis on the biosynthesis of vitamin B12 under the supervision of Professor Sir Alan Battersby. From 1988 to 1990 he worked as a post-doctoral research associate at Cornell University in the USA under the supervision of Professor Jean M.J. Fréchet.

Craig Hawker started his professional career as a Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia, a position he held from 1990 to 1993. In 1993 he went to the USA again to take up the position of Research Staff Member at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. Since 2004 he has held his current positions at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research group there is doing pioneering work on novel polymers and nanostructured materials for application in areas as diverse as electronics and biomedical and has focused on the interface between organic and polymer chemistry with emphasis on the design, synthesis, and application of well-defined macromolecular structures in biotechnology.

Professor Hawker has been honored with a large number of international awards, including the 2000 Young Scientists Award from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and the 2005 ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science from the American Chemical Society. He is editor of the Journal of Polymer Science - Polymer Chemistry, and serves as a consultant to many US and international companies.

At the presentation ceremony in Taipei, Professor Hawker gave an award lecture on ’Design of Performance Polymers for Microelectronic and Biomedical Applications’. Asked for his reaction on receiving the award, he said: ‘I am thrilled to be honored by IUPAC and DSM with this inaugural award. DSM is a company that I have admired for many years for their ability to reinvent themselves and repeatedly adjust to new technological opportunities. This reinvention is driven by a strong commitment to cross-disciplinary research, a commitment that I share with my outstanding students and collaborators throughout the world.’

The award
The DSM Performance Materials Award forms part of DSM’s Innovation Awards Program and was presented for the first time this year, in cooperation with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). DSM grants the award every two years in recognition of scientific work that has significantly contributed to the advancement of the materials sciences, with special emphasis on polymeric materials.


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