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Best poster award for Robby Vroemans

December 2022

The prestigious annual Merck Organic Chemistry Symposium (MOCS) was hosted by UCLouvain in 2022. The poster on the synthesis of heterocycles via aerobic Ni-catalyzed imidoylation of aromatic 1,2-bis-nucleophiles with isocyanides, presented by Dr. Robby Vroemans of Prof. Maes team, was awarded one of the 2 poster prizes out of 73 posters presented. The presented work has been published in 2022 in ACS Catalysis.

Oral Contributions Award for Gilles De Smet

October 2022

PhD student  Gilles De Smet (Prof. Bert Maes team) have won the Oral Contributions Award at the Chemical Research in Flanders (CRF-2022) congress which took place in Blankenberge, October 12-14. 

New Marie Sklodowska-Curie postdoc

March 2022

The first successful applicant of the ORSY for the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSCA PF) under the new Horizone Europe program is Dr. Xingfeng Bai. He will start his research on sustainable catalytic hydrodeoxygenation of bioaromatics in the team of Prof. Bert Maes (ORSY) in collaboration with Prof. Vera Meynen (LADCA). We wish him good luck for this exciting project! 

New MOONSHOT project

December 2021

Results of the 2021 Moonshot call have been announced! Prof. Bert Maes is a partner in the project AC2GEN which will develop new ways to make acrylates from waste biomass via a combination of biotechnolgical and chemical processes. Moonshot is a research and innovation program of the Flemish government aimed to enabling Flanders’ transition to the circular, low-carbon chemical industry. 

FWO fellowship for Marjo Waeterschoot

October 2021

The Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) has announced the results of the annual call for PhD fellowships. Marjo Waeterschoot obtained a strategic basic research fellowship grant and will join the Bert Maes team. Congratulations to this young researcher!

ORSY on the radio

October 2021

Prof. Bert Maes explains in the program "Nieuwe Feiten" on Radio1 about the just awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry for asymmetric organocatalysis research. We all extend our congratulations to Prof. Benjamin List and Prof. David MacMillan on this outstanding achievement. Re-listen it here ​

Our research on catalysis highlighted in media

September 2021

Antwerps Persbureau reports about the research of the team of Prof. Maes of the Organic Synthesis Division. The developed catalytic tandem methodology making use of Cu and Pd provides easy access to new complex molecules, important for pharmaceutical industry. This research shows how new synthetic methodology makes accessible new parts of chemical space and was highlighted on the cover picture of the top journal Angewandte Chemie.

Read more: New medicines are a step closer


EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship successfully accomplished

April 2021

A Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) postdoctoral fellowship project funded by EU Horizon 2020 program have been  successfully accomplished within the ORSY.  Dr. Sovan Biswas under the supervision of Prof. Maes has developed new methods for the C-H functionalization towards the synthesis of bicyclic nitrogen scaffolds, valuable for medicinal chemistry applications. We wish him good luck in his further career.

Top publication of ORSY

April 2021

Together with colleagues from KULeuven (Prof. Bert Sels) and LIKAT (Prof. Matthias Beller), Prof. Bert Maes has published a review “Homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts for hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol under mild conditions” in the highly reputable journal Chemical Society Reviews. This publication was selected for the front cover picture of the journal.

Read more


University of Antwerp and Solvay join forces for green chemistry technologies

February 2021

​The University of Antwerp and Solvay have signed an exclusive license agreement to access a new patented organic synthesis technology developed by the research team headed by Professor Bert Maes, Collen Francqui Research Professor in the ORSY division of the Department of Chemistry. This technology will enlarge the capabilities that Solvay can offer to its customers to develop new environmentally friendly solutions for its markets.

Read more: University of Antwerp and Solvay join forces for green chemistry technologies

Bert Maes appointed as Advisory Board member of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering

January 2021

Bert Maes has been appointed as Advisory Board member of the Q1 journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering published by the American Chemical Society. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering invites Letters, Articles, Features, and Perspectives (Reviews) that address challenges of sustainability in the chemical enterprise and advance principles of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering.

iBOF and FWO projects for ORSY

December 2020

Excellent news to close an unusual, in many ways, year 2020: Bert Maes will be a part of the project NextBIOREF - New Generation of Lignocellulose Biorefineries bringing together scientists of Leuven, Gent and Antwerp. This is one of only 15 projects granted out of 136 applications in the first ever iBOF call of Flemish universities through the Flemish Interuniversity Council (Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad, VLIR) aimed to stimulate inter-university collaboration with a focus on excellence in ground-breaking frontier research in Flanders. The evaluation process was in hands of  the European Science Foundation (ESF).

FWO is a major sponsor of fundamental research in Flanders. This year 285 research projects out of 1331 were funded. Among these, a proposal submitted by the ORSY was approved. Bert Maes will join forces with Romano Orru (University of Maastricht, the Netherlands) in a project aiming to develop the synthesis of new heterocylic scaffolds via metal-catalyzed tandem reactions. 

Two FWO fellows join ORSY

October 2020

The Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) has announced the results of the annual call for PhD fellowships fundamental research and strategic basic research. ORSY will welcome two young scientists to start their PhD projects on various aspects of sustainable organic chemistry: Dries De Vos (fundamental research fellowship) and Céderic Ver Elst (strategic basic research fellowship) join the Bert Maes team.  Congratulations!

Our research on biobased chemicals highlighted in media

April 2020

C2W, magazine of the Dutch Royal Chemical Society, reported on the new process for making catechol, a valuable building block for chemical industry, from ferulic acid, a biobased raw material isolated from agricultural waste.  A very simple, one step procedure, developed by the Organic Synthesis group (Prof. Bert Maes), is the first process for biobased catechol. This research was published in Angewandte Chemie journal.

Read the original communication (in Dutch)

Read more: Ferulic acid makes chemistry a bit greener

MOONSHOT project

January 2020

Moonshot is a research and innovation program of the Flemish government aimed to enabling Flanders’ transition to the circular, low-carbon chemical industry. Prof. Bert Maes (ORSY) will coordinate one of the nine projects, approved in the first call of "sprint cSBO projects" (short term Cluster Strategic Basic Research projects with planned duration of 18 months): PADDL: Polymer additives from lignin building blocks.