GEQO Awards 2020

Annual GEQO Awards | GEQO Awards 2020

Once the Commission has met and evaluated the nominations received for the
GEQO Awards 2020 according to the procedure established in the Regulation for the awarding of GEQO prizes, it is a pleasure for me to announce the winners of this call:

Rafael Usón Medal to Dr. Javier Cabeza de Marco in recognition of his valuable contributions in the area of organometallic chemistry in the field of metal clusters and small molecule activation.

GEQO Award for Research Excellence to Dr. Juan Cámpora Pérez for the originality of his contributions to the development of new concepts and applications in the context of organometallic chemistry.

GEQO Award for Young Researchers to Dr. Max García-Melchor for his contributions to organometallic chemistry from the perspective of the computational modelling of various types of catalysis with metals.

The evaluation meeting took place on 22 May. The Award Committee was formed by the following members:


Dr. Miguel Ángel Ciriano (GEQO Rafael Usón Medal, 2019)
Dr. Pablo Espinet (RSEQ medal, 2008)
Dra. Eva Hevia (GEQO Excellence Award, 2019)
Dr. Pedro J. Pérez (RSEQ medal, 2016)

As secretary of the Commission (without vote) I myself attended as president of the GEQO.

Ana C. Albéniz
President of the GEQO


GEQO Rafael Usón Medal

Dr. Javier A. Cabeza

Javier A. Cabeza was born is Soria, Spain (1958). Ph.D. in Chemistry under the supervision of Luis A. Oro (University of Zaragoza, 1983). Postdoctoral researcher with Peter M. Maitlis (University of Sheffield, U.K., 1983-1985) and Luis A. Oro (University of Zaragoza, 1985-1987). Professor (as of 1987) and Full Professor (as of 2005) of Inorganic Chemistry (University of Oviedo). He has chaired the Orgamometallic Chemistry Section (GEQO) of the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry (2002-2010) and has been member of the International Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Organometallics (2008-2010). He has directed 18 Ph.D. theses and has authored more than 220 scientific publications.

He has always been interested in Organometallic Chemistry. His initial experiments in Zaragoza (Ph.D. thesis) dealt with rhodium, iridium, silver and gold complexes. In Sheffield, he investigated on alkyl derivatives of arene-osmium complexes, the first observation of 192Os NMR signals by polarization transfer being his most relevant contribution of this period. Back to Zaragoza, he did some chemistry with metalamesogens and became interested in the chemistry carbonyl cluster complexes of transition metals, which has been his most fruitful research theme since he established his own research group in the University of Oviedo (1987). His group was the first one to observe the stepwise activation of all of the bonds of an organic methyl group (formation of a carbide ligand by activation of one C-C and three C-H bonds). As of 2010, his research interests have more and more moved toward the synthesis and coordination chemistry of heavier carbene analogues (silylenes, germylenes, stannylenes), in particular, amidinato-silylenes and -germylenes and PGeP pincer-type germylenes.

GEQO-Excellence in Organometallic Chemistry Research Award

Dr. Juan Cámpora Pérez

Juan Cámpora is CSIC Research Professor at the Institute for Chemical Research (IIQ) since 2012. He took his degree in Chemistry in 1986 and carried out his PhD thesis under the supervision of Profs. E. Carmona and M. L. Poveda, on the chemistry of metallacyclic and binuclear organodiyl complexes of Ni(II) (1990). During his predoctoral time, he made short visiting stays to the laboratories of Profs. D. J. Cole-Hamilton (GB) and G. Erker (Germany). In 1990, he was awarded a Fulbright grant for a two-year postdoctoral stay with Prof. S. L. Buchwald at MIT, where he worked on the chemistry of titanium and zirconium benzyne and metallacyclic complexes. After this, he returned to the University of Seville and in 1995 he gained a permanent position at the newly created Institute for Chemical Research (IIQ), a joint research center depending of the University of Seville and CSIC. He leads his own research group since 2005. From 2000 to 2004 he was Head of the IIQ, and then deputy director until 2017. He has been Secretary of the Chemistry Commission of CSIC and coordinated the Spanish Node of the European Network of Excellence IDECAT. He has authored over 100 research works, including regular research papers, patents, reviews and book chapters, and co-edited with G. Giambastiani the book “Olefin Upgrading by Nitrogen-Based Complexes” (two volumes, Springer). Recently he was invited as Guest Editor to the journal Organometallics to edit a special issue in honor of the career of his mentor, Prof. E. Carmona. His current scientific interests cover an ample view of organometallic chemistry, including transition metal σ alkyls and their alkoxo, amido and fluoro analogues, and their applications in homogeneous catalysis from a fundamental (mechanistic) perspective.

GEQO-Young scientist Award

Dr. Max García-Melchor

Max García-Melchor was born in Barcelona (Spain) in 1982. He obtained his BSc in Chemistry, MSc in Theoretical Chemistry, and PhD in Chemistry from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. His master and doctoral studies focused on the modelling of the reaction mechanisms of several Pd-catalyzed C– C cross-coupling processes under the supervision of Prof. Agustí Lledós and Prof. Gregori Ujaque. After his PhD (2012), Max joined the group of Prof. Nuria López at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) as a postdoctoral researcher, where he contributed to foundational insights into the mechanisms and factors that govern several catalytic processes on metal oxides surfaces. In 2014, Max was awarded a Beatriu de Pinós Postdoctoral Fellowship to join the group of Prof. Jens Nørskov at Stanford University (US), where he contributed to deepening the understanding of the electrochemical water splitting and to guide the design of more efficient electrocatalysts.

Since 2016, Max is an Ussher Assistant Professor in Chemical Energy Systems in the School of Chemistry of Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), where he leads the Computational Catalysis and Energy Materials (CCEM) Group. His research group strives to use state-of-the-art computational methods to shed light on the underlying mechanisms of homogeneously and heterogeneously catalyzed reactions relevant to sustainable energy. His group also aims to leverage this knowledge together with machine learning algorithms to ultimately impel the accelerated rational design of more efficient and cost- effective catalysts. Throughout his career, Max has received several national and international awards, including the Springer Theses Award and the Sant Jordi Award from the Catalan Chemical Society. Max has co-authored over 40 publications, 1 book and 2 book chapters. Some of his research has been featured by Thomson Reuters as ‘Hot Papers’ for being top 0.1% of their academic fields, in various journal front covers and in a number of international media.