Dr. Josep Cornellà from the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung receives an ERC Starting Grant

September 08, 2019

Dr. Josep Cornellà from the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung receives an ERC Starting Grant for the project "Let-it-Bi" from the European Research Council (ERC). Over the next 5 years, the Research Council will fund research on sustainable catalysts for organic synthesis with approximately EUR 1.5 million. Cornellà is pursuing the innovative approach of researching alternatives to transition metal catalysts currently used in chemical manufacturing processes that are more readily available, cheaper and non-toxic. He is particularly interested in the element bismuth (Bi): "Bismuth is a metal that occurs quite frequently in the earth's crust, is non-toxic and has not been the focus of much research in recent decades. Bismuth serves as a catalyst in the chemical industry, is used as a component in alloys and is also used in the pharmaceutical industry as an active ingredient in stomach diseases," explains Cornellà. "Bismuth is very versatile. It has interesting properties and shows reactivity, which is worth exploring".

This assessment was already shared by the Max Planck Society and enabled the 35-year-old to set up an independent research group at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung two years ago. Now the European Research Council is also supporting the innovative research project and is providing Cornellà with approximately 1.5 million euros from the ERC Starting Grant. For Josep Cornellà and the MPI in Mülheim, the ERC Starting Grant is a great distinction because the research funding is awarded in a highly competitive procedure. The Managing Director Tobias Ritter also congratulated Josep Cornellà: "We are very proud that the European Research Council has elevated Josep Cornellà to the top class of young researchers with this award. And we are curious to see what more interesting research results he and his team will present".

Not only Josep Cornellà, but also one of his co-workers, Dr. Oriol Planas, was able to convince with his research work and now receives a Marie-Curie Research Fellowships of the European Union. The fellowship is endowed with more than 160,000 euros and is regarded as career-promoting. Oriol Planas' project is also concerned with bismuth research and is entitled "Bi(III)/Bi(V) Redox Catalysis for Organic Synthesis (BiREDOX)".


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