uOttawa chemist wins prestigious NSERC Polanyi Award

Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Chemists in a labotary

Photo credit: Martin Lipman / NSERC

Chemistry professor Michael Organ was awarded the prestigious Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) John C. Polanyi Award, for discoveries that are changing chemical manufacturing processes.

Chemist in a laboratory

Photo credit : Martin Lipman / NSERC

An astonishing amount of chemical waste is produced in the making of everyday consumer goods, such as antibiotics, blue jeans and cellphone screens. As a leader in green chemistry and director of the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovation, Michael Organ has made it his mission to develop cleaner manufacturing processes.

Organ and his team have developed catalysts that are faster and generate less waste during a chemical reaction than their predecessors. Because catalysis speeds up chemical reactions, eliminates steps and produces more of a desired compound, it is considered one of the 12 principles of green chemistry.

Michael Organ’s work has significant economic and ecological potential. These catalysts could fundamentally change the way we manufacture chemicals — for a cleaner future. 

The John C. Polanyi Award, which honours the an exceptional science or engineering innovation in Canada, was established in tribute to the excellence in research that John C. Polanyi continues to exemplify. Polanyi won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Learn more about Professor Organ's work.

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