Girona University (UdG) researcher Xavi Ribas has been honoured with the ICREA Academia award

The award is in recognition of Dr. Ribas’s scientific career over the last five years, particularly in the field of copper organometallic chemistry

The Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) is a foundation promoted by the Department of Innovation, Universities and Business of the Catalan Government whose aim is to foster research. Researcher Xavi Ribas, UdG Department of Chemistry, has been honoured with one of the ICREA Academia awards, precisely in the Experimental Science and Mathematics section. This prize is awarded every year by ICREA.

Professional career

25 lecturers of Catalan universities have been awarded  with this prize in recognition of their research career over the last five years. The prize is aimed mainly at further promoting their research work. With Dr. Ribas having been given this award, Girona University has now three ICREA Academia award-winning researchers (Miquel Solà, Miquel Costas and Xavi Ribas), in addition to the three already hired within the ICREA Senior programme. Of the six ICREA award-winning researchers in UdG, five work in the field of chemistry and one in ICT (Information and Communication Technology.

Dr. Ribas has been given this award mainly for his work in copper organometallic chemistry. This study focuses on the design of catalysts based on transition metals for functionalization reactions of organic substrates, ie it tries to find the most suitable structure for a catalyst (which is usually a metal complex acting as reactor) to make a molecule turn into a different one during the manufacturing process of, for instance, drugs or new materials. It also works in iron and manganese catalysts inspired on enzymes for hydrocarbon oxidations, and in the design of nanoreactors based on supramolecular chemistry.

From Basel to Girona

Xavi Ribas was born in 1974 in Santa Coloma de Farners and he graduated in chemistry from Girona University in 1996. He wrote his doctoral thesis in 2001 under the supervision of Dr. Llobet, a member of the inorganic chemistry research group of UdG. During this period he carried out two stays abroad in order to learn from two prestigious researchers. He collaborated with professor Zuberbühler in the University of Basel (Switzerland), and a short time after that, he travelled to the US to work with professor Stack in Stanford University (California). When he came back to Catalonia he took postdoctoral studies in the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona, under the supervision of professors Veciana and Rovira. In 2005 he was granted a Juan de la Cierva research scholarship and went back to Girona, where he became a senior lecturer at UdG a year later. Shortly before that, and together with Dr. Miquel Costas, he founded the QBIS (Bioinorganic and Supramolecular Chemistry) research group, with which he has leaded several research projects. He is the coauthor of about 50 scientific articles and two book chapters.

A recent interview to Dr. Ribas can be found in the Engega magazine, no. 16

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