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Monday, 13 June 2022

ICREA Prof. María Escudero Escribano joins the ICN2 bringing a new Research Group and an ERC Grant

The ICN2 proudly welcomes a new Group Leader, Prof. María Escudero Escribano, who will join our institute in September 2022 as an ICREA Research Professor. Her arrival at the ICN2 strengthens our institution's involvement in renewable energy research. She has just been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant for a project aiming at developing novel techniques for the conversion of methane into renewable fuels, which she will carry out at the ICN2.

Prof. María Escudero Escribano has built a successful career since she graduated in Chemical Engineering from the University of Extremadura and obtained her PhD in Chemistry from the Institute of Physical Chemistry ‘Rocasolano’ (CSIC - Spanish National Research Council) and the Autonomous University of Madrid in 2011. After two postdoctoral periods at the Technical University of Denmark and at Stanford University, in 2017 she was appointed tenure-track Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen, where she started her research group and, in 2021, was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. In September 2022 she will join the ICN2 as an ICREA Research Professor and leader of a new group: NanoElectrocatalysis and Sustainable Chemistry (NanoESC).

Prof. Escudero Escribano will bring her valuable know-how and expertise to the ICN2, where she will continue to carry out cutting-edge research in tailored electrochemical interfaces and nanomaterials for renewable energy conversion and production of sustainable fuels and chemicals. With a strong background in electrocatalysis, which plays a key role in renewable energy conversion and storage technologies, she will develop knowledge and applications for clean energy in a more sustainable society. She and her new ICN2 Group will investigate the structure of the catalytically active sites at the atomic level, developing advanced electrocatalyst nanomaterials, and gaining mechanistic understanding of relevant energy conversion reactions.

The new ICN2 Group will start its promising trajectory within the ICN2 with two major strategic assets. Prof. Maria Escudero Escribano will be the fourth female Group Leader at the ICN2, being nanoscience a research field where female leadership is needed. Besides, she is bringing the ERC Consolidator Grant she has recently been awarded, which is a major breakthrough in a researcher’s career. The ERC project is entitled “Atomic-Scale Tailored Materials for Electrochemical Methane Activation and Production of Valuable Chemicals” (ATOMISTIC). It is aimed at converting methane gas –the increasing emission of which into the atmosphere has become the second largest cause of climate change— into renewable fuels and value-added chemicals. She plans to use electrochemistry to enable methane activation and on-site conversion to methanol, a ‘dream fuel’ that would be a game changer in the pursue of a greener future.

Her research lines also include rational design of highly efficient electrocatalysts for reducing CO2 (the most common greenhouse gas) into clean fuels and chemicals, and development of electrocatalysis for the conversion of electricity into chemical energy in the form of hydrogen molecules. You can find more information about the new NanoESC group here.

ICREA Research Professor Maria Escudero Escribano’s credentials are already outstanding, having published 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals including Science, Nature Chemistry and Nature Materials and being the co-inventor of three patents or patent applications. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of numerous peer-reviewed journals and has received prestigious awards such as the European Young Chemist Award (Gold Medal) 2016, the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry Young Researchers Award 2019, and the Princess of Girona Scientific Research Award 2018. The ICN2 is now paving the way to help her achieve even higher goals and bring more recognition and excellence to the Catalan and Spanish research system.