ERC CZ grant will support the development of a new class of catalysts

An expert on nanomaterials for energy and environmental applications Alberto Naldoni from the RCPTM Photoelectrochemistry research group has succeeded in the 4th tender of the ERC CZ programme. Moreover, Alberto’s project got first place, shared with another one, out of seven different applications. Winning a META-CAT grant with a budget of around 16 million Czech Crowns is another notable feat of this youngest but dynamically developing research group, following the research grant from the OP RDE call Excellent Research Teams.

“The support from the Ministry of Education is a recognition of the excellent research carried out at RCPTM. It marks the starting point for the development of an internationally recognised research programme for the direct conversion of solar energy into fuels and the development of sustainable chemistry. The ERC CZ grant will give me greater independence in research and raise my chance of winning the ERC grant in the Consolidator category,” said Naldoni, who previously worked at the Institute of Molecular Science and Technologies (ISTM) in Milan.

The project, called Light-drive biorefinery using metacatalysts, aims to develop a new class of catalysts with high selectivity and efficiency whose properties can be managed and optimized during the course of chemical reactions. Metakatalysts will allow the emergence of ultra-compact portable fuel synthesis devices in biorafineries powered by light radiation.

The results of the two-year project will serve to further develop the scientific field of photochemistry. Dr. Naldoni focuses on the use of sunlight for applications in photochemistry, plasma and catalysis and his research has already resulted in a number of prestigious publications (eg. Naldoni A. et al. Science 356, 908–909, 2017; Naldoni A. et al. ACS Catal. 9, 345–364, 2019; Mascaretti L. et al. Adv. Mater. 31, 1805513, 2019)

The ERC CZ programme aims to promote excellent research in the Czech Republic by implementing projects submitted within the calls of the European Research Council which succeeded in the evaluation carried out by the expert panels of the European Research Council, were evaluated in both rounds by grade A or B, but did not receive the European financial support. ERC CZ’s 4th tender evaluated 9 applications, seven of them meeting the criteria.

I am very glad that my ERC CZ has been funded by the Ministry of Education because this awards not only my significant effort spent in preparing the proposal but also the energy and dedication of all my collaborators.

The funded grant is a recognition of the excellence research carried out at RCPTM and it is a starting point for developing an international recognized research programme on direct conversion of solar light into fuels and sustainable chemicals.

Through the ERC CZ I will be more indipendent in my research and it will give me the chance to be more competitive to my future application for an ERC consolidator grant.