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Fraser and Norma Stoddart PhD Prize 2023

PhD graduate Weronika Gruszka has been named the winner of the 2023 Fraser and Norma Stoddart PhD Prize. This prestigious prize is awarded annually to PhD graduate who has shown not only excellence in research, but has also contributed to the life of students within the School.

Weronika recently completed her PhD research within the Garden group. She will return to the School of Chemistry in July to receive her prize and share her research with students and staff.

Alumnus returns to share insights and inspire

In March, the School of Chemistry welcomed back alumnus Prince Chakanyuka for his talk: "Ah! – The Element of Surprise: What does it take to grow beyond your wildest dreams?"

At this event, Prince shared his incredible story with students, from his high school days in Zimbabwe, to Edinburgh to study Medicinal and Biological Chemistry as one of six pioneer Mastercard Foundation Scholars, to London and becoming an award-winning rising star in business within just a few years of graduating.

Recent Graduate Awarded Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarship is highly competitive; Geofrey is one of only two Rhodes Scholars chosen out of hundreds of applicants from Zambia this year. He will join the University of Oxford in autumn 2023 to begin his PhD studies and further his interests at the interface of inorganic and materials chemistry.

Geofrey came to Edinburgh in 2018 as a Mastercard Foundation Scholar and graduated in 2022 from the BSc (Hons) Chemistry degree programme. Reflecting on his time at the University of Edinburgh, Geofrey said:

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks?

The aldol reaction is amongst the oldest and most established reactions in organic chemistry. However, despite being an intensive area of research, access to aldol products, β-hydroxy ketones, has been limited to the use of aldehydes and ketones. Using born catalysis the Thomas group have overcome this and allowed esters and lactones to be used to access aldol products.

Fraser & Norma Stoddart Prize 2022

It is a great honour and surprise for me to be selected for this year’s Fraser & Norma Stoddart Prize. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my supervisor Prof Neil Robertson, public engagement coordinator Dr Jenny Bos, Dr Anna-Maria Maciejuk, as well as my colleagues, collaborators, friends and family who have each played a considerable role in this achievement. I would also like to acknowledge JASSO, the School of Chemistry and other funding organisations for their financial support during my time in Edinburgh.