Chemist David Nicewicz at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a 2012 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. The fellowship is worth $875,000 over five years.

Nicewicz, an assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, is among 16 scientists to be awarded the unrestricted grants from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Through the design and development of novel organic dyes, Nicewicz and his laboratory team seek to invent new and important chemical reactions. The organic dyes that they develop act as catalysts to harness sunlight and convert it to chemical energy. The harvested chemical energy stored in the catalyst enables previously difficult or impossible chemical reactions to take place. These new catalysts and chemical reactions have the long-term goal of creating more cost-effective processes to produce the materials and medicines that are critical to modern society.

The Packard awards are among the nation’s largest nongovernmental fellowships, designed with minimal constraints on how the funding is used to give the fellows freedom to think big and look at complex issues with a fresh perspective. Packard Fellows have gone on to receive additional awards and honors, including the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Fields Medal, the MacArthur Fellowships, and elections to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

By supporting highly innovative professors early in their careers, the foundation hopes to further their promising work in science and engineering, and encourage their efforts to train the next generation of scientists.

More on the new Packard Fellows.


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