Poliakoff receives China’s highest honour for foreign scientists

Article by Amanda Jasi

Sir Martyn Poliakoff shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping

BRITISH chemist Sir Martyn Poliakoff has received the 2019 International Science and Technology Cooperation Award of the People’s Republic of China, the country’s highest honour for foreign scientists.

The award recognises the key role foreign scientists have played in China’s scientific development and reflects the nation’s increasing efforts to diversify its scientific partners over recent years.

Sir Martyn, who is an IChemE Fellow and Research Professor at the University of Nottingham, UK (UNUK), was the only UK recipient amongst ten scientists who won the 2019 award. As the leading recipient, he was given his certificate by Chinese President Xi Jinping at a formal ceremony in the Great Hall of the People, a state building located in Beijing, China. The ceremony was held in front of an audience of 3,000 people.

Sir Martyn’s research is focussed on the chemical applications of supercritical fluids, particularly for ‘green’ chemistry. He is also the face of the popular YouTube channel Periodic Videos.

He is a Lecturer on the four-year BSc (Hons) Chemistry course at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), China. Students receive lectures from visiting UK professors in the first two years of the course and spend the last two at the UK Campus.

Sir Martyn has established a collaboration with one of China’s leading chemistry institutions, the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. There, he has worked with Buxing Han, a leading green chemist at the institute, and Honorary Professor of Chemistry at UNUK and UNNC.

As the Foreign Secretary of the UK’s Royal Society, Sir Martyn has worked extensively with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Recently he worked with China’s largest NGO of scientific and technological professionals, China’s Association for Science and Technology, on scientific communication and was the opening speaker at its inaugural World Conference on Science Literacy in 2018. The conferences organisers called it the first global conference dedicated to promoting science literacy among the public.

Sir Martyn continues to travel to China to share his experience and expertise with students in Ningbo. He claimed that as he has previously received inspiration from numerous supportive instructors, he wishes to use his expertise to support the emerging generation of future scientists.

He additionally commented: “I am honoured and delighted to receive this highly prestigious award. I look forward to continuing to strengthen the scientific collaboration between our two countries, so that, together, we can address the challenges of the 21st century.”

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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