Wisbech scientist wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry award

Professor Karl Coleman, formerly from Wisbech has won a prestigious chemistry prize.

Professor Karl Coleman, formerly from Wisbech has won a prestigious chemistry prize. - Credit: Archant

Wisbech born chemist Professor Karl Coleman has won a prestigious national prize for his work.

Professor Karl Coleman, who works at Durham University, is the Royal Society of Materials for Industry–Derek Birchall Award winner for 2017. He was born and raised in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.

Professor Coleman focuses on nanomaterials – he modifies both graphene and carbon nanotubes to improve their performance for applications such as paints and coatings.

The Materials for Industry–Derek Birchall Award rewards an individual for creativity and excellence in the application of materials chemistry in industry. Professor Coleman receives £2,000.

Karl was presented with his award at an awards ceremony on 13 June, which formed part of Chemistry Means Business, a two-day event for the chemistry-using industry, organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

He said: “It was great to win the Materials for Industry Award and to follow up my Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year award that I won in 2011. It reflects the interest and excitement around nanocarbons, particularly graphene, and how far the area has progressed.

“I am excited to see what the future holds as graphene has so many potential future commercial applications, it’s almost scary! I look forward to working with new and existing partners in pushing the advancement of graphene and in new and current applications.”

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The award winners, who all work for companies in the chemistry-using industry, are chosen by a panel of senior scientists and industry executives and selected for their contribution to innovation and commercial success.

Specific awards also recognise the importance of vocational roles, such as technicians and apprentices, in industry, as well as the importance of entrepreneurship, while teamwork awards recognise successful collaborations between industry and academia.

Aurora Antemir, Head of Industry at the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “The chemical sciences industry makes an enormous contribution to society worldwide, bringing value to the economy, and improving everyday lives.

“As the professional body for chemists, it is a pleasure and an honour to recognise the outstanding achievements and inspirational stories of chemical scientists from across the industrial sector, from apprentices to CEOs.”

The awards represent the breadth of the chemistry-using industry, with winners coming from start-ups and small companies as well as major multinationals, and working in a range of areas from pharmaceuticals to energy.