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Akzo Nobel Science Award for Professor Heijnen

Press Release - The 2004 Akzo Nobel Science Award has been awarded to Dr. J.J. Heijnen, Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the Kluyver Institute for Biotechnology at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

Arnhem, the Netherlands, June 22, 2004 – The Board of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen) has decided to grant the Akzo Nobel Science Award 2004 to Dr. J.J. Heijnen (53), Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the Kluyver Institute for Biotechnology at Delft University of Technology. He has earned the award for his research in the field of process and information technology, in particular biofilm processes. Prof. Sef Heijnen will officially accept the award on Thursday, November 11, 2004, during a formal ceremony at Akzo Nobel’s headquarters in Arnhem. The presentation of the Akzo Nobel Science Award alternates each year between Sweden and the Netherlands. The award, which is now in its 34th year, carries prize money of EUR 50,000.

In the opinion of the jury, Prof. Heijnen’s pioneering research has led to new expertise which contributes to the development of industrial and technological environmental processes that consume less energy and raw materials. After completing his studies in Chemical Engineering in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in 1973, Prof. Heijnen became involved in the application of Biochemical Engineering in water treatment and the use of microorganisms in the production of pharmaceuticals and chemicals from renewable (green) feedstocks. In 1984 he obtained a doctoral degree at Delft University, where he was appointed as a professor in 1988. The application of physical technology in biochemical processes not only led to a impressive list of 150 papers in renowned scientific journals, but also to many innovative processes that are finding wide practical application. A typical example is the compact reactor technology with biofilms (layers of bacteria on carrier material), which is mainly used in wastewater treatment. His scientific research has also resulted in improved technology for the production of the antibiotic amoxicillin and in a theoretical method which may lead to breakthroughs in the research on microorganisms that work like little chemical factories.

The Akzo Nobel Science Award has been granted for all of Dr. Heijnen’s scientific work. In the jury’s view, Sef Heijnen is the rightful winner of the award because of the broad spectrum and scientific depth of his research work and its societal relevance. This year’s jury consisted of Professors R.V.A. Oliemans, J. van Amerongen, and L.P.B.M. Jansen, and was chaired by M.C. van Veen, Chairman of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities.

Last year the award was presented to Prof. Anders Brahme in Stockholm for his research into radiation treatment for cancer patients.

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