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European Sustainable Chemistry Award

EuCheMS recognises the achievements of individual scientists and teams through the European Sustainable Chemistry Award which is given every two years. The European Sustainable Chemistry Award is intended to be a prestigious scheme which will raise the profile of sustainable chemistry and be a spur to innovation and competitiveness. The ESCA was initially launched in 2010. Its current prize amounts to €10 000.


  • The European Sustainable Chemistry Award is designed to:
    recognise individuals or small research groups which make an outstanding contribution to sustainable development by applying green and sustainable chemistry;
  • promote innovation in chemistry and chemicals that will deliver clear improvements in the sustainable production and use of chemicals and chemical products;
  • demonstrate that chemistry and chemicals can play a central role in delivering society’s needs, while minimizing and solving environmental problems.
  • Successful national green and sustainable chemistry award schemes have been in place for some years in several European countries and outside Europe and a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit points to the value of awards as demand side solutions as a key element in pushing the EU further up the global innovation rankings. The European Sustainable Chemistry Award is intended to be a prestigious scheme which will raise the profile of sustainable chemistry and be a spur to innovation and competitiveness.

Scientific focus

The Award covers innovations in the following scientific areas:

  • the use of alternative synthetic pathways, that increase resource efficiency and selectivity e.g. with the help of catalysis or natural processes;
  • the use of alternative feedstocks which are safer and/or renewable e.g. based on biomass;
  • the use of alternative reactor design and reaction conditions, such as use of solvents which deliver health and environmental benefits, or increased yield and reduced waste and emissions;
  • the design and use of chemicals and chemical products that are, for example, less environmentally harmful than current alternatives, or inherently safer with regard to hazardous concerns.


The Award is open to individuals or teams of up to three persons. EuCheMS member societies, EuCheMS Divisions/Working Parties/EYCN and individuals (no self-nominations) are invited to submit nominations. The work cited in the nomination must have been carried out in an institution in a country where there is a EuCheMS member society.
An independent Evaluation Panel will be appointed to consider the nominations. A Steering Committee is overseeing the development of the nominations procedure.

Winners of the European Sustainable Chemistry Award

2014 – Professor Walter Leitner and Professor Jürgen Klankermayer


The winners of the 2014 ESCA are Prof. Leitner and Prof. Klankermayer from the Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry at the RWTH Aachen University, who are being recognised for their important contribution to the field of catalytic transformation of carbon dioxide.

2012 – Professor Marc Taillefer

The winner of 2012 award is Marc Taillefer, research team leader at the Institute Charles Gerhardt (IGC) in Montpellier, France. The 51 year-old chemist was honoured at the 4th EuCheMS Chemistry Congress in Prague at the opening cerimony on 26 August 2012. Patrons for the 2012 award were Nobel laureates Paul Crutzen (Mainz, Germany) and Jean-Marie Lehn (Strasbourg, France).

2010 – Professor Matthias Beller

The first award, a prize of €10,000, was presented to Matthias Beller, Director of the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis (Rostock, Germany), on 29 August 2010 during the opening ceremony of the 3rd EuCheMS Chemistry Congress in Nürnberg, Germany.