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Catalysis: Creating Bonds Between Academia and Industry


As this month's Industry Insider feature shows, catalysis, and the development of better and better catalysts, are extremely important to science-based industry. So perhaps it's not surprising that this seems to be one area where academia and industry are very keen to co-operate. This month's Industry Insider resources page focuses on some of the European and national initiatives that aim to both promote catalysis research and get industry and academic scientists working together. So, if you're an academic scientist looking to break into industry, think about getting involved in an industry collaboration--it could well help to lower the activation energy of your own career transition. ...

Pan-European Organisations


What better place to start than with NICE, a Network for Industrial Catalysis in Europe? With a name like that you can't help feeling they'll be a friendly bunch!

NICE aims to highlight for the academic community the needs of industry in terms of catalyst research and promote collaborative research between academia and industry. One way they've done this is by conducting a survey of European companies regarding their catalysis needs. The resulting publication is available online for academic scientists and policy-makers. The NICE Web site also hosts job and PhD offers and a catalysis events calendar.


ACENET, the European Network in Applied Catalysis, is a much younger initiative than NICE, but it also aims to bring together academics, industrial scientists, and policy-makers into a "real community" focusing on sharing knowledge and training students and professionals. The network is submitting an application to the EC's FP6 ERAnet programme, so watch this space. ...


The European Federation of Catalysis Societies ( EFCATS) seems to be far more academia-led than the previous two organisations. The EFCATS Web site has a lot to offer, not least what it claims to be its most popular pages: Advice on giving successful oral and poster presentations from Prof. Hans Niemantsverdriet of the Schuit Institute of Catalysis at Eindhoven University of Technology.

But also of interest to anyone who has completed a PhD in catalysis between June 2002 and June 2003 is the EFCATS PhD Award--?1000 is up for grabs. The site also provides links to catalysis courses, academic groups carrying out catalysis research, and national catalysis societies.

Catalysis at the National Level


The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research's (BMBF's) ConNeCat initiative is supposed to close the gap between industrial R&D and basic research in universities and research institutes.

United Kingdom

The UK's Insitute of Applied Catalysis is also an answer to "a clear perceived innovation gap in the UK between academe and industry," identified through the government's Foresight programme. The institute has an education and training programme that provides bursaries to top up regular PhD stipends. And together with the University of Bath it runs an annual 1-week course in Industrial Catalytic Processes aimed at young chemists and chemical engineers beginning their careers in industry and academia, or studying for a PhD. This year's course will be held from 12 to 17 October.

Faraday is a UK government scheme aimed at encouraging collaboration between academia and industry. The Pro-Bio Faraday Partnership aims to promote industrial biocatalysis through the integration of life sciences with process engineering.

The Netherlands

The Dutch Advanced Catalytic Technologies for Sustainability platform brings together industry, academia, and government to promote the development of new technological concepts for sustainable production.

Read a lot more about catalysis research in the Netherlands in a special feature published in June 2002 by the American Chemical Society's magazine, Chemical and Engineering News.