In this series, we're spotlighting each winner of the inaugural ECP Faculty Bridge Grant! Join us in congratulating Neil Dolinski, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Columbia University.
By ACS Green Chemistry Institute
Establishing a successful research group is challenging, particularly in the first two years. In 2023, the ACS Early Career Postdoctoral (ECP) Faculty Bridge Grant awarded two-year funding to six postdoctoral fellows. These grant recipients will join postdoctoral fellows or faculty members who are in the first nine months of their appointments and wish to start independent research careers. Such support is crucial to the development of robust research programs as well as ensuring professional development and mentorship opportunities for the grantees.
Following a competitive application process, Neil Dolinski was selected as one of the inaugural ECP Faculty Bridge Grant winners. Now at his new appointment as an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Columbia University, Neil will pursue his project, “Enhancing Plastic Waste Recycling with Reconfigurable Dynamic Polymers.” With his research group, he hopes to create materials with expanded end-of-life options, including enhancing plastic waste recycling.
Prior to his new position, Neil was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago under advisor Dr. Stuart Rowan, who highlighted Neil’s positive and innovative attitude, saying, “As a postdoc in the group, Neil worked with and helped oversee many projects with sustainability at their core. Neil’s collaborative spirit and creative approach to polymer design will serve him well in his career moving forward. He has already established himself as a rising leader in the design and application of dynamic materials, and he will continue to have an impact in employing these materials for a more sustainable and circular polymer economy.”
A unique facet of the ECP Faculty Bridge Grant is building instructors’ capacity to incorporate more green chemistry and sustainability concepts in their classrooms. Applicants described their plans to address sustainability as instructors, and Neil’s passion for the subject is clear, “The scale of plastic production makes the classroom incorporation of sustainability principles paramount for our society's well-being and the future of our global environment,” he said in his application. “I will be teaching a course on ‘Polymer Chemistry for Sustainable Solutions’ this Spring Semester at Columbia University…By merging introductory polymer chemistry with real-world applications in sustainability (with literature examples), this course will equip students with the knowledge and skills to tackle pressing environmental challenges.”
Join us in whole-heartedly congratulating Neil on this exciting achievement! Learn more about ACS Sustainability Grants and how you can apply on the ACS website.