First Patent of the Pioneer Project

When it comes to dissemination, the first thing that comes to mind in a project like Pioneer is probably publishing in academic journals or contributions to conferences. However, at the front of an innovative topic like plasma catalysis, patents are also very interesting. Recently, Minh Nguyen Quang and co-workers filed patent FR2210833 in France. This is the first patent of the Pioneer project. Congratulations!

Congratulations to Dr. Hasrack!

While the end of the PIONEER project might cause mixed feelings, it also means that one after another the ESRs obtain their PhD degrees – without a doubt a very important moment in their lives. Already last December, Golshid Hasrack obtained her PhD from Sorbonne University and IST of University of Lisbon. She defended her thesis, titled “Tailoring selectivity with different plasma sources for CO2 hydrogenation” on December 7 2022. Congratulations Dr. Hasrack!

International Symposium Plasma Catalysis for CO2 Recycling

From September 13 to 15 the Pioneer project reached one of the final mile stones: The organization of our own scientific conference! During the International Symposium Plasma Catalysis for CO2 Recycling at AGH university in Krakow, Poland not only all ESRs shared their work but also plenty of colleagues and friends from the CO2 plasma catalysis community. The fact that our field is not only fascinating but also represents an enormous economic potential was underlined by various participants from industry, in particular innovative start-ups.

The conference was followed by the last official Pioneer meeting. The project is coming to an end and we used this opportunity to recall the past, identify current opportunities and look ahead at a time after Pioneer with continued collaboration. Maybe even a Pioneer 2.0? Stay tuned!

Lisbon School and Project Meeting 2022

From July 11 to 15 the consortium assembled in the sunny capital of Portugal for another inspiring meeting. The first two days gave the ESRs a thorough introduction to chemical reactor modelling. Also training sessions in CV writing and job interviews were part of the schedule. With the end of the project in sight the latter becomes more and more important of course.

The last two days also the supervisors and the advisors of the project joined for engaged discussion on open scientific questions as well as to tell about their career paths and experiences.

And on Wednesday? Well, in some outdoor team building activity we have shown that we do not only look at the future but also at the past by following the fossilized footsteps of dinosaurs!

Call for Contributions to Catalysts Special Issue

In the course of the INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM PLASMA CATALYSIS FOR CO2 RECYCLING there will be a special issue of the journal Catalysts. Please refer to the following message from the guest editors, including many supervisors of Pioneer, for more information.

Dear Colleagues,

Energy transition and the use of alternative fuels, such as green hydrogen and green methane, is an important challenge nowadays. These issues are directly linked to the problem of global CO2 emissions. Recent European policy trends have focused on the possibility of utilizing carbon dioxide in chemical processes. The available installations that use CO2  produced as a waste gas are already being demonstrated. Nowadays, the most important challenge is to expand these installations up to larger scales to find economic and sustainable solutions.

One of these possible solutions is chemical reactions in which carbon dioxide can be used as a feedstock, such as methanation, methanolation, CO2 to chemicals, or the reforming of methane using CO2 (DRM). However, most of these processes are catalytic, meaning that they take place at high temperatures or pressures. Thus, the use of non-thermal plasmas in such processes can lead to a reduction in the energy used, making the process easier to carry out. Such reactions can be used for so-called energy storage.

Plasma–catalytic-assisted processes are very complex, both at the level of gas phase (or liquid phase) interactions and at the level of solid–gas phase (liquid phase) interactions. Key to these interactions are the activation processes of CO2 molecules, as well as the reaction centers of the catalyst, which in a traditional reaction are created under high temperatures.

In the pioneering Special Issue, all of these aspects related to the fields of physics, material science, catalysis, chemistry and the chemical engineering of plasma–catalytic processes will be presented.

Prof. Dr. Patrick Da Costa
Prof. Dr. Annemie Bogaerts
Dr. Vasco Guerra
Prof. Dr. Monika Motak
Dr. Bogdan Samojeden
Guest Editors

Entrepreneurship School Paris 2022

From April 11 to 15 the ESRs gathered in Paris for a training in entrepreneurship and communication. But not only the ESRs! This time the training was open for other PhDs as well – an opportunity embraced by PhDs from multiple Pioneer-affiliated institutes. For sure the program benefited from that diverse gathering of people and ideas!

In multiple sessions the ESRs learned to formulate their business idea and how to proceed from their. Hence, also funding, let it be for a business or for research, was important topic of the school. The third pillar of the school was communication. In particular, the pitch, i.e. a very short presentation of one’s idea to convince potential funders, was practiced. The ESRs even got some vocal training! Overall, a very interesting and insightful training!

Marie Curie Alumni Association Conference Lisbon 2022

The Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) brings together members who are currently benefiting or benefitted from an MSCA funding, which means that they have a background in research but with diverse career paths. The MCAA receives funding and support from the European Commission.

The MCAA organized its annual conference in Lisbon, on the 26th and 27th of March.  Two of our ESRS, Beatrice and Chloé, participated to this conference onsite and presented a poster (realized in collaboration with Minh, who joined online), to introduce the PIONEER project to the MCAA community, which was received with great interest. The focus of the conference was sustainability and the post-pandemic workplace. Different sessions took place during these two days with a special emphasis on greening research and universities, science policy at the European level, alternative careers (from research to policy advice for instance), mental wellbeing in the research environment, how MCAA supports Ukraine and the impact of COVID on researchers among other topics. The general assembly and the election of the new board members of the MCAA took place as well.

As MSCA fellows it is a great opportunity to join this Alumni Association, not just to take part in science activism but also for fruitful networking opportunities. It was a very interesting as PhD students to get to know about the career of scientists in policy making and science diplomacy, which are not straightforward options when thinking about the path after the doctorate.


MCAA website

Career development for researchers in the UK:

EURAXESS – researcher mobility and career development:

ReMO (Researcher Mental Health Observatory) COST Action focusing on wellbeing and mental health within academia:

Researcher Mental Health and Well-being Manifesto (by ReMO):

COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding organisation for research and innovation networks:

S4D4C Science diplomacy project:

Climate sustainability in the academic system:

Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) contains actions which lab users can take to save plastics, water, energy and other resources which will reduce their carbon emissions:

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