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JU scientist discusses his European Research Council grant in Collegium Novum

JU scientist discusses his European Research Council grant in Collegium Novum

On 9 November, JU Rector Prof. Jacek Popiel and JU Vice-Rector for Research Prof. Piotr Kuśtrowski met with one of the winners of this year’s European Research Council grant Dr hab. Dawid Pinkowicz, Prof. UJ. The JU Faculty of Chemistry researcher has received more than 1.7 million euro for his five year long project aimed to develop unique molecular photomagnets.


The meeting was also attended by the Dean of JU Faculty of Chemistry Prof. Wojciech Macyk and Dr Magdalena Żychowska from the Centre for Academic Support. They discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by young researchers and the importance of their success for the overall research efforts carried out at the Jagiellonian University.

‘Your achievement is a great distinction for the Jagiellonian University. I’m happy that yet another researcher from our university was awarded in the area of exact sciences, as the field is much more competitive than the humanities and social sciences. Receiving this grant is tantamount to finding oneself amongst top European scientists. JU Faculty of Chemistry boasts state-of-the-art equipment and great infrastructure, offering the same opportunities as leading research institutions from outside of Poland’, said Prof. Jacek Popiel.

Prof. Wojciech Macyk stated that another research from the JU Faculty of Chemistry may very well also receive the grant in the near future. He also touched upon the quality of laboratory equipment of the Faculty. ‘It can’t be said we have nothing to work with. It’s our top priority to remain in the forefront of research. We’re beginning to see the results of the last several years of our hard work. Receiving ERC grants and publishing five papers in Nature over the span of a year is not a coincidence. It’s well worth remembering that in the past, it used to be one paper in a decade. The recently published list of Top 2% most influential scientists in the world features 14 researchers from our Faculty. We could add to that Dr Tetiana Tatarchuk from the Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University in Ivano-Frankivsk, whom we have hired recently. She was awarded in a special programme of the National Science Centre directed to Ukrainians. Taking into account the research infrastructure available to her in Ukraine, her achievements are commendable’, said the Dean of the JU Faculty of Chemistry.

Dr hab. Dawid Pinkowicz, Prof. UJ from the Inorganic Molecular Materials Group will receive funding for his research project entitled Bringing molecular photomagnets to light – achieving magnets thorough visible light excitation at room temperature (LUX-INVENTA), which will focus on developing and implementing molecular magnets with unique properties.

'Visible light provided by the Sun is the cleanest energy source one could ever imagine. Harvesting it is crucial for further development of science and technology as well as for reducing the ecological footprint of humanity. The direct photoexcitation of molecules resulting in a dramatic magnetization change - the so called photomagnetic effect - is one of them. In other words, sunlight photons could write, read and erase magnetic states of photomagnets, which is why this effect is so unique and has a number of possible applications. The photomagnetic effect can be found in the so-called molecular photomagnets, first discovered in 1996. It only occurs under extremely low temperatures, below the boiling point of nitrogen (-196 °C), which effectively makes it impossible to use. Hence, the overarching goal of LUX-INVENTA is the discovery of room temperature photomagnets and investigating the way in which they work. This will lead to a research breakthrough in the area of photomagnets and pave the way towards their use in everyday life', Dr hab. Dawid Pinkowicz, Prof. UJ explained in an interview he gave after receiving the grant in July.

In the recent years, several Jagiellonian Universitiy researchers have been awarded with the European Research Council grant. These include Dr hab. Tomasz Żuradzki, Prof. UJ and Dr Rafał Banka (Faculty of Philosophy), Dr hab. Michał Németh, Prof. UJ (Faculty of Philology), Dr hab. Sebastian Glatt (Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology), Dr hab. Szymon Chorąży, Prof. UJ (Faculty of Chemistry) and Dr Krzysztof Szade (Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology).

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