Institute for Advanced and Applied Chemical Synthesis
On April 15, 2022, the Provincial Science and Technology Innovation Conference was held in Guangzhou and at this event the winners of the 2021 Guangdong Science and Technology Awards were announced. Jinan University received 9 awards, including 2 first prizes, 6 second prizes and 1 Science and Technology Cooperation Award. As one of the four winners in the province, Martin Banwell, from our institute, received the Science and Technology Cooperation Award. In 2014, Academician Martin Banwell paid his first visit to Guangzhou and thereafter began to work regularly in Guangdong. Between 2016 to 2019 he was the Pearl River Visiting Scholar at Jinan University and has been involved in helping to enhance the double first-class pharmaceutical discipline at Jinan University. During this time he has also been associated with various major scientific research platforms. Since the end of 2019 he has been working on a full-time basis at Jinan University and is serving as the inaugural Director of the Institute for Advanced and Applied Chemical Synthesis. He is also leading the construction of the Biomedical Transformation Platform on the Zhuhai Campus of Jinan University and has been recruiting overseas talents to join in the university. He and his team have recently made several useful scientific discoveries, while also having organized a number of international and high-level academic meetings together with establishing a series of industry-university-research collaborations involving certain Guangdong-based businesses. His receipt of the above-mentioned Guangdong Science and Technology Cooperation Award acknowledges his contributions to discipline enhancement, talent training, foreign cooperation and exchanges, and industry-university-research work undertaken within the province.
Martin Banwell, a world- renowned Australian scientist, amassed a lengthy list of honors during his academic career in the field of organic chemistry. He became a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2004 and joined Jinan University (JNU) as a full- time professor at the end of 2019, before being appointed the first dean of the Institute of Advanced and Applied Chemistry Synthesis (IAACS). Professor Banwell was presented with the 2021 Chinese Government's Friendship Award in recognition of hissignificant contributions to China's modernization and cooperation with other countries.Professor Martin Banwell. (COURTESY PHOTO)Competitive academic environment Banwell described China's academic environment as being dynamic, competitive and stimulating. China's support of a broad range of scientific research, coupled with a sizable chemical industry, went a long way to convince him to further his academic research in the country. I feel as though China is a major focal point of research in chemistry in the world these days, he said. He is appreciative of the opportunities JNU has provided him and said, The combination of all these possibilities makes life attractive here. He also praised his colleagues at JNU for laying the groundwork for his research work. In addition, Banwell noted that China is becoming more concerned with using the powerful tools of organic chemistry to tackle with global warming and other major environmental issues. He emphasized the critical role of green chemistry in fostering an economically and environmentally sustainable future. In terms of commercializing scientific discoveries in the chemistry field, Banwell noted that Guangdong province benefits from its strong chemical industry and the strong emphasis placed ontranslating interesting research results in the laboratory into commercial products. He also noted that failure is actually part of the landscape progress. We should always prepare to encounter failures and interpret or exploit them properly so that we eventually achieve our goals, he said, adding that the most crucial ingredients for translating university achievements into commercial products and processes are funding (for research) and perseverance. China has numerous successful examples and astounding accomplishments in research and innovation, he said, sounding distinctly optimistic about China's innovation ecosystem. Banwell believes that the IAACS has a long-term role to play by continuing to develop its ongoing research program and so addressing all sorts of interesting new problems (and opportunities) emerging in an increasingly complex world. According to him, research is an ongoing and never- ending mission.Cooperation to make a difference Despite the current geopolitical complexities and the challenges presented by COVID-19, Banwell says there will always be fundamental value in international scientific exchanges because this can promote global well- being, emphasizing that, Scientific knowledge is like water, it flows everywhere.Based on his experience, concerted efforts are essential for increasing the body of knowledge and identifying important discoveries going forward. According to Banwell, the IAACS maintains active contact with research groups in Australia, Brazil, France, the U.S. and U.K. We hope that outstanding experts in chemistry from other countries will visit China in the not- too- distant future and so enhancing already fruitful academic exchanges. Their work on drug development and green chemistry complements ours extremely well, he said, clearly pushing the need for cooperation. Banwell anticipated that joint actions and chemistry with international peers would result in exciting new discoveries and developments, noting that international exchanges are critical while also expressing hope they continue to thrive. He applauded China's readiness to welcome increasing numbers of foreign experts to conduct research as well as advance technological development and so resulting in the generation of greater global research resources. Creating winwin arrangements between China and the rest of the world must be the approach that is adopted. As to the sci- tech collaboration between China and Australia, he said, I think science is an excellent way of building bridges between China and Australia. I think there are numerous possibilities in that respect, and I am hoping to play a role as a bridge between the two countries with the advantage of knowing both well. Banwell is also looking forward to resuming international travel in order to conduct more in-depth and face- to- facecommunications among sci- tech professionals.
On September 30, the 2021 Chinese Government Friendship Award ceremony was held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Li Keqiang, a key member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and the Premier of the State Council met with some of the foreign experts who had secured the Chinese Government Friendship Award. In his speech, the Premier highlighted the important contributions that foreign experts have made to China's modernization, to Sino-foreign friendships and to developing collaborations with other countries. Academician Martin Banwell, an Australian expert and the Dean of the Institute for Advanced and Applied Chemical Synthesis at Jinan University (JNU), secured this honor and thus becoming only the second foreign expert associated with the University to do so. His nomination was supported by the United Front Work Department. Academician Martin Banwell, fourth from the right in the second row, was among the attendees at the Chinese Government Friendship Award Ceremony held in Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 30th, 2021 A total of 18 foreign experts attended the ceremony after the Minister of Science and Technology, Wang Zhigang, announced the award decision. Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council, presented the awards to the award-winning foreign experts and gave a speech. Minister You Quan and Vice Minister Pan Yue of the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee offered, through Jinan University, their warm congratulations to Professor Banwell upon his receiving the award. The Chinese Government Friendship Award is the highest award established by the Chinese Government for foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China’s modernization, reform and opening up. It was officially established in 1991 by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and authorized by the State Council. The ceremony associated with the “Friendship Award” is held every year on the Eve of the National Day. This is the highest civilian honor awarded to foreigners by the Chinese Government. Professor Banwell was born in New Zealand and raised in family friendly to China. His father, who worked for the United Nations as a consulting geophysicist, was most enthusiastic about Chinese culture and taught himself Mandarin. As a consequence, Martin has admired Chinese culture since early childhood. Professor Banwell was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences (FAA) in 2004 and became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2018. He served as the Director of the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University (ANU) from 2008 to 2013. Martin first visited Guangdong in 2014 and during the period from 2016 to 2019 he was appointed as a Pearl River Scholar Chair Professor of Jinan University. This appointment allowed him to actively develop collaborations between the ANU and JNU as well to helping the pharmacy discipline at JNU become a double first-class one in China. During this period, he participated in the construction of various major scientific research platforms, and jointly trained 11 graduate students. At the end of 2019, Martin joined JNU on a full-time basis as Inaugural Director of the Institute for Advanced and Applied Chemical Synthesis (IAACS). Since then he has secured 1 national talent project, trained 13 doctoral and master students and published 39 research papers. Additionally, he has been actively involved in recruiting new faculty to the IAACS, delivered numerous academic lectures, and established various industrial collaborations. (Text: International Office of JNU, and Institute for Advanced and Applied Chemical Synthesis Research. Photo: the official website of the State Council of the PRC – gov.cn)
On the afternoon of September 4th, President Song Xianzhong, Vice President Wang Bing, and Director Chen Zhenqiang from the Human Resources Development and Management visited and expressed condolences to Academician Martin Banwell at IAACS.President Song and colleagues from the University Executive showed their great interest in the progress of Academician Martin Banwell’s work at IAACS and his life more generally in China. They visited his new laboratories that are under construction, and encouraged the IAACS to make persistent efforts, strive for the training of young teachers and graduate students, establish an international platform, and obtain high-level scientific research results. The leadership of the university expressed their affirmation and gratitude to Academician Martin Banwell, and extended their sincere greetings on the Teacher’s Day. At the same time, they encouraged the IAACS to continue their efforts in teaching and research work, implement the spirit of the important speech of Jinan University’s inspection as mentioned by the Chainman Jin Ping, enhance the comprehensive competitiveness and influence, and make contributions to polishing Jinan's golden signboard, so as to assist the school’s “Double First-class” and high-level university construction.