27. 06. 2024

Radek Zbořil Wins Prestigious Team Award for Scientific Contribution in Water Research

A prestigious international prize, the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW), awarded for outstanding scientific and technological contributions in water-related research, is coming to the Czech Republic for the first time. In the Alternative Water Resources category, the prize was awarded to a team that includes Radek Zbořil. The PSIPW aims to promote sustainable technologies related to water treatment and water resources management. The prize is awarded biannually in five categories, and has been presented to several Nobel Prize winners in the past.

“The team is recognized for pioneering advanced water purification technologies utilizing iron compounds in high oxidation states, particularly for the effective removal of antibiotics and pharmaceuticals from wastewater. These technologies demonstrate increased efficiency even in water containing common natural organic matter, which typically diminishes the effectiveness of standard oxidation processes in eliminating micropollutants,” explains the PSIPW Board.

The leader of the award-winning team of four is Virender K. Sharma from Texas A&M University, with whom the physical chemist from Olomouc, Radek Zbořil, has long collaborated. Together, they have published over 50 papers, garnering more than 6,000 citations. Last year, for instance, their joint publication on the use of atomic catalysts in water purification was featured on the front cover of Chemical Society Reviews, the premier journal of the Royal Chemical Society.

The PSIPW Award was established in 2002 to support scientific research and innovation aimed at addressing global water issues such as water scarcity, water pollution, and efficient water resource management. “I greatly appreciate the award. As always, the competition was immense, and it is an honour to be among esteemed scientists from universities and institutes in Texas, Berkeley, and Milan. However, it is the research topic that is of paramount importance. A significant portion of our results was achieved through a multi-year Center of Competence project that I led as the principal investigator. Under this project, we developed practical water treatment technologies. My gratitude also extends to the colleagues who participated in this development. Providing drinking water is one of the world’s critical challenges, and every small step towards this goal is immensely valuable,” said Zbořil, who leads the Materials & Environment Lab at VSB-TUO.

Among this year’s awardees is Paolo D’Odorico from the University of California, Berkeley, renowned for his numerous landmark publications in journals such as Nature Water, Nature Sustainability, and Nature Climate Change. The awards have also been conferred on Nobel laureates in the past, including Rita Colwell of the University of Maryland, who was honoured in 2016 for her pioneering research on innovative methods for detecting and preventing water-borne diseases, and Andre Geim of the University of Manchester, who received the award in 2018 for his development of graphene membranes for water desalination and filtration. The award ceremony will take place at the end of the year.