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Tomislav Friščić awarded Leverhulme International Professorship

The Leverhulme Trust Board is pleased to announce the second of five winners of its 2021 Leverhulme International Professorships. These awards are designed to enable universities to attract globally leading scholars to take up permanent professorial posts in the UK. The Trust Board introduced these grants as a means to support the UK higher education sector to maintain its strong international standing and to help universities continue to attract top talent to reshape an existing area or field of study.

The Trust’s mission is to support research of outstanding originality and quality, which is fundamental or curiosity-driven, multi-disciplinary and often higher risk. Applicants were therefore invited to be bold in compiling their bids. In line with the Trust’s responsive mode of operation the choice of research topic was left deliberately open. The quality of the bids was exceptionally high and the task of selecting just five was correspondingly challenging. Niall FitzGerald, Chairman of the Leverhulme Trust Board, said:

‘Through the Leverhulme International Professorship scheme the Trust aims to maintain the UK’s international standing as a world renowned research destination; open to outstanding talent and ideas from around the globe.’

Professor Tomislav Friščić joins the University of Birmingham this autumn and will hold the role of Leverhulme International Chair in Green and Sustainable Chemistry. The goal of the green chemistry group is to discover new chemistries and eliminate the need for solvents in chemical reactions. 

Solvents currently form around 90% or more of a typical chemical reaction and contribute to the vast amounts of toxic waste attributed to the global chemical industry. Globally, 30 and 60 million tons of solvents are used every year, and many of them are extremely harmful to health and the environment.

Based in the School of Chemistry the group will develop efficient and new methodologies based on mechanical force (mechanochemistry), light (photochemistry), as well as other types of energy input.

Professor Anna Vignoles, Director of the Trust:

‘Attracting talented researchers from across the globe really benefits the UK higher education system. I am delighted that the Trust has been able to support Professor Friščić to come to the UK. As a leading expert in green chemistry and mechanochemistry, his expertise will be vital in our efforts to develop safer, cleaner and more sustainable processes’


Read the University of Birmingham’s full media release.

The remaining three winners will be announced shortly.

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