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Published on 18.09.13

Prof Nicolosi awarded Young Scientist at WEF event

Prof Valeria Nicolosi, Principal Investigator in CRANN and TCD’s Schools of Chemistry and Physics was one of 40 researchers under the age of 40 selected globally by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to present her research at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China recently.

Her internationally recognised research focuses on processing and characterising nanomaterials for the development of more efficient energy storage devices. Prof Nicolosi was the only speaker from Ireland invited to present at the WEF event and join its Young Scientists community. These Young Scientists engage with business and political leaders at the Meeting to identify groundbreaking scientific solutions to current global challenges, including future energy needs.

Prof Nicolosi says that we will be able to store energy much more effectively in devices using her atom-thick sheets of two-dimensional nanomaterials. These could be used to make more efficient supercapacitors that can store and release energy.

On her return from China, Prof Nicolosi said, “It was an utterly interesting, engaging and greatly productive meeting. I had the opportunity to engage with CEOs of huge multinationals including Ellen Kullman from DuPont, Frans van Houten from Philips, Joe Kaeser from Siemens, and several key politicians, both from Ireland and overseas”.

She continued, “During the Ideas Lab I had very fruitful discussions both with peer scientists and leading industrial players. Energy was a major topic in the agenda. Solutions are urgently needed to meet the energy, water and resource requirements of the world’s burgeoning population and the looming “9 billion” challenge. Two immediate transitions are imperative – creating a safe, sustainable food system and moving to a renewable green energy future.”

Prof Nicolosi was one of 50 young scientists nominated by the European Research Council (ERC) from amongst their 4000 awardees. All were under 40 years of age working in areas spanning nanotechnology, health and energy, with strong industry engagement. The WEF selected 4 from these 50 nominees with the remaining 36 Young Scientists selected from the Global Young Academy of Science.

The Annual Meeting of the New Champions involved over 1,600 participants from more than 90 countries. The meeting is the foremost global business gathering in Asia and creates a unique opportunity for exchange between leaders from top-ranked multinationals and from policy, civil society and academia.

The ERC is Europe’s funding body for pioneering excellent science through frontier research. Prof Nicolosi was awarded a highly competitive starting grant worth €1.5M from the ERC in 2011 to expand her work on energy storage as well as a Proof of Concept Grant in 2013 to establish the innovation potential of findings arising from her starting project.

Video of the Young Scientists Award Ceremony - http://www.weforum.org/sessions/summary/celebrating-2013-young-scientists#flickr_show

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