Two awards for UT student Leon Smook

Leon Smook, now a PhD candidate in the Sustainable Polymer Chemistry (SPC; S&T Faculty) department, has received two awards for his master research: The Unilever Research Prize 2022 and the KNCV Golden Master Award 2022. He received the awards for his research on polymer brushes in artificial noses.

We previously wrote about Leon Smook. The PhD candidate already published three papers during his double master’s in Chemical Science & Engineering and Nanotechnology. This also resulted in a nomination for the Unilever Research Prize by the S&T faculty. Sissi de Beer, associate professor at SPC and supervisor of Leon is delighted with the appraisal for Leon: "Leon is a highly motivated and independent student with original ideas and the confidence to explore new scientific fields. He is the type of young researcher that supervisors can only dream of." Smook has been nominated for his Cum Laude graduation of a double major with an average of 9.5, his three publications, his outstanding master’s research and also nomination as a finalist of the KNCV Golden Master Award 2022. He received the Unilever Research Prize on 24 November.

Thesis reads like a novel

Meanwhile, it has been announced that Smook has also won the KNCV Golden Master Award 2022. The jury praised the originality of the research carried out and the creativity that showed in Leon’s thesis. "It was really a pleasure to read the thesis. It is of a very high scientific level and yet accessible to a lay audience," the jury said. His thesis, entitled "A Sense of the Future: How Polymer Brushes Can Contribute to the Next Generation of Artificial Olfaction Technology", even read like a novel at times, according to the jury.

Two master awards

KNCV has been rewarding the best MSc research project with the KNCV Golden Master Award since 2009. Besides an award, the prize consists of a certificate and a cash prize of 1000. The Unilever Research Prize is awarded annually to young scientists. Universities nominate their best master students - those who have done exceptional work on topics relevant to one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

PhD research

Leon Smook is still at the University of Twente. He started his PhD research in December 2021 under the supervision of Dr Sissi de Beer in the Sustainable Polymer Chemistry ( ; Faculty of S&T ) department. In the ReCoVR project , he is researching functional coatings for cleaner separation technologies that lead to the reuse of raw materials from streams that would otherwise end up as waste.