Something like a phenomenon: Paul Ayers receives national research grant
Associate professor and well-respected theoretical chemist Paul Ayers will receive up to $250,000 after being awarded an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship on Wednesday.
He’s been described as a true leader in the field of theoretical chemistry – a pursuit that involves predicting, interpreting and quantifying various chemical phenomena using both technical and conceptual methods.
As part of McMaster’s “Ayers Group” of researchers, the associate professor and his team of postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and alumni are tasked with modeling and studying so-called “catalytic systems,” which can involve enzymes, complex materials and a variety of large molecules. The goal is to develop a better understanding of the catalytic systems, while predicting the products of chemical reactions.
“What happens? Bang or whimper? Exothermic or endothermic? What is the product? What is the mechanism? How do you enhance the rate, yield and specificity of the reaction,” explains Ayers on his blog.
Ayers has been honoured with a E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship for his groundbreaking theoretical approaches to chemistry. Presented by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the award is designed to boost the career development of outstanding and highly promising university faculty, especially those with a growing international following.
Along with five other recipients, he’ll benefit from a research grant of up to $250,000 (over a two-year period). McMaster will also receive up to $90,000 per year to fund a departmental replacement, allowing Ayers to focus solely on his research efforts.
Suzanne Fortier, president of the NSERC, says the Steacie Fellowships are awarded to promising young scientists and engineers like Ayers, who are making a significant impact in their field while garnering an international reputation.
Steacie Fellowships have been awarded since 1965, and are named in honour of Edgar William Richard Steacie – a renowned Canadian chemist, and president of the Royal Society of Canada during the mid-1950s.