Dieter De Baere and Diederik Coppiters are the two VUB graduates who received this year's PhD Solvay Award. Every year, the Solvay Group presents "Solvay Awards" to PhD students who successfully defended their thesis the previous year at the Faculty of Sciences or the School of Engineering of the Universitรฉ Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) or the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). There were six winners in total this year.

Dieter De Baere received his prize for his doctoral thesis 'Exploration of laser metal deposition for monitoring solutions and development of a strategy for key challenges.' Diederik Coppitters for his PhD thesis 'Robust Design Optimization of Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems,'

The aim of the PhD Solvay Award is to encourage young people to pursue education and research in the field of science and technology, where research is essential for the development of current and future industrial activities. It is the aim of the Solvay chemical group to stimulate the inventiveness of talented PhD students and encourage them to think of ways in which their work can contribute to social progress.

PhD works should focus on one of the following themes.

  • the investigation and understanding of matter (structure, properties, transformation, chemical reactivity, material science),
  • the study of the mechanisms and chemistry of life,
  • new production technologies,
  • new resources, energy storage and generation,
  • environmental sciences and sustainable development

The Solvay awards were created by Mr. Jacques Solvay more than 30 years ago to reward the quality of research work done by young scientists from the Universitรฉ Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Since the beginning, nearly 600 students from the Faculty of Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering of both universities have applied for the award.

While the excellence of research work remains a major criteria, the selection made by the Jury (chaired by Michรจle Huart and composed of experts from Solvay and professors from the two universities) also takes into account the ability to synthesize and communicate the โ€œscienceโ€ message to non-specialists. In addition, the candidates are invited to present their own views on the potential contribution of their work to the Society towards a more sustainable future.