The Organic Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has granted its 2021 open award, the Pedler Award, to Prof. Paolo Melchiorre for “the development of asymmetric photocatalytic methodologies based on excited state intermediates.”
“It is a real honour, given the calibre of previous recipients of the Pedler prize. I thank my family (my wife Lorna, and my kids Niccolò and Anita) and all the past and present members of the Melchiorre group. This prize is a recognition of their support, enthusiasm, and great efforts. I will continue to enthusiastically support the RSC family,” says Melchiorre.
The Pedler Award is chosen annually by the Organic Division Awards Committee for the researcher’s outstanding contributions to the chemical sciences in the area of organic chemistry. The winner receives £3000, a Medal, a certificate and will complete a UK lecture tour.
Since he arrived at ICIQ as a group leader and ICREA Professor in 2009, Melchiorre has been working on the discovery and mechanistic elucidation of new asymmetric organocatalytic and photochemical processes that address unsolved problems in synthetic methodology. In other words, his group uses the energy of visible light to trigger chemical processes that cannot be realised otherwise. The final goal of his research is to develop environmentally respectful and innovative catalytic methods that will find widespread use in modern organic synthesis.
The research carried out by Melchiorre has been awarded two grants funded by the European Research Council: an ERC Starting Grant to carry out the project “ORGA-NAUT: Exploring Chemical Reactivity with Organocatalysis” (2011) and an ERC Consolidator Grant to carry out the project “CATA-LUX: Light-Driven Asymmetric Organocatalysis” (2016).
Over the years, Melchiorre has received the “G. Ciamician” Medal, awarded by the Italian Chemical Society (2007), a JSPS Fellowship under the FY2013 Program for Research in Japan, the 2016 Prize for Scientific Excellence from the Royal Spanish Chemical Society (RSEQ), and the 2019 “G. Modena” Medal from the Italian Chemical Society. He was also nominated Liebig Lecturer 2008 by the Organic Division of the German Chemical Society. Since 2019, Melchiorre is an Associate Editor of Chemical Science, the flagship journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and in 2020, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC).
Melchiorre’s advice for a young person considering a career in chemistry is “do it with passion, knowing that your efforts can help make the world a more sustainable and better place.” Read the full interview to celebrate his Pedler award here.