Public Release: 

Outstanding Monash chemist to strengthen international research ties

Monash University

A leading chemist from Monash University has been chosen as one of only eight scientists globally to receive a prestigious international fellowship.

Professor Leone Spiccia from the School of Chemistry was recently awarded the Helmholtz International Fellow Award.

The fellowships are awarded by the Helmholtz Association, one of Germany's largest scientific organisations, with almost 36,000 employees and an annual budget of approximately €3.8 billion.

The Association, which carries out top-level research to identify and explore the major challenges facing society, science and the economy, launched the prestigious awards to recognise excellent research and facilitate international research collaborations.

In addition to receiving prize money valued at €20,000 each, each fellow is invited to conduct research at one or more Helmholtz Centres in Germany.

Professor Spiccia said he was delighted to be selected for such a prestigious fellowship.

"It is a tremendous honour to be chosen for such an award, so I was ecstatic to receive the news. I plan to use the generous support to return to Germany next year to continue working on two major research projects," Professor Spiccia said.

"I've seen first hand the excellent research facilities and equipment on offer at the Helmhotz Centres. They are among the best in the world so I've no doubt this will enhance the quality of our research and greatly accelerate our progress," he said.

Professor Spiccia, who was the only chemist to receive the award this year, will spend four months next year collaborating with colleagues at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf.

The first project will see Professor Spiccia conduct research on novel materials capable of efficiently converting sunlight into energy in collaboration with Professor Emad Aziz, Professor Klaus Lips and Dr Alexander Schnegg, while in the second area he will work on novel nano-materials for cancer diagnosis and therapy together with Dr Holger Stephan and Professor Jörg Steinbach.

A chemist with over 30 years experience, Professor Spiccia's research covers a range of fundamental, applied and commercial projects, combining chemistry with aspects of biology, biochemistry, medical science, nano-materials science and engineering, environmental science, earth science and physics.

Professor Spiccia has received a number of accolades for his work in recent years including an ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award, the RACI Inorganic Division Burrows Award in 2013, the RACI HG Smith Medal in 2012 and an Alexander von Humboldt Research Award in 2010.


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