The President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, in his decision of 16 February 2022, granted the title of professor of engineering sciences to Paweł Chmielarz, PhD., DSc., Eng, head of the Department of Physical Chemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry, Rzeszow University of Technology. The professor thereby became one of the youngest titular professors in Poland – the youngest in engineering and technical sciences, and the second youngest overall [1-12]. As of 2019, Prof. P. Chmielarz is on the prestigious list of the 2% most cited scholars and influential scientists from around the world. This is according to the list published on PLOS Biology, compiled by Stanford University in collaboration with the scientific publisher Elsevier and the company SciTech Strategies [13-16].

Prof Paweł Chmielarz, DSc, PhD, Eng. – professor at the Rzeszow University of Technology, in 2013 he graduated from international doctoral studies at the Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow and in the same year he obtained a doctoral degree in chemical sciences at the Faculty of Chemistry of the Rzeszow University of Technology in the discipline of chemical technology with a specialization in polymer technology. Since 2014, he has been employed at this Faculty, at the Department of Physical Chemistry. In 2017, prof. Chmielarz obtained a post-doctoral degree in chemical sciences at the same Faculty, in the discipline of chemical technology. Since 2021, he has been the Head of the Department of Physical Chemistry [17].

He is a specialist in the field of chemical sciences and chemical engineering, with particular emphasis on the characterization and optimization of atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) methods aimed at obtaining polymers of various structures and architecture. Scientific achievements of prof. Chmielarz includes 70 publications in international journals from the Philadelphia List, 2 patents in the US Patent Office and 2 chapters in foreign monographic publications. The total 5-year Impact Factor of published papers is 291, the number of citations – over 1500, and the Hirsch index – 21 (according to Scopus) [17-19].

The main scientific achievement of prof. Chmielarz covers the results presented in publications that are devoted to the characterization and optimization of atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) methods aimed at obtaining polymers of various structure and architecture, switching from organic to aqueous-organic (miniemulsion) reaction environment, which is advantageous from the industrial point of view, in particular for applications in biomedicine. In this aspect, it was crucial to develop new ATRP variants, controlled by external reducing agents, in which the catalyst loading can be effectively reduced through the use of appropriate electrochemical methods (eATRP and seATRP) or polymerization without the need for a catalytic complex (metal-free ATRP) [20-43].

Research conducted by prof. Chmielarz during his internships, including in the USA, in 2014, 2016 and 2019 (Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh) and later in the country and in research centers such as the University of Padova, University of Konstanz, University of Milan, Aarhus University, Technical University of Crete, University of Castilla-La Mancha and the University of Trieste, made a significant contribution to the understanding of the physicochemical phenomena that influenced the understanding of the factors crucial for the rate of polymerization in these systems and the participation of side reactions, as well as for the selection and optimization of appropriate electrochemical parameters [17]. The aforementioned works were published in the pages of very prestigious magazines and aroused great interest in the world of polymer chemistry and technology, because the electrochemical concept of ATRP (eATRP or seATRP) allows to significantly reduce the concentration of copper compounds used as catalysts and eliminate the troublesome steps of removing them from the final product [20-43].

Driven by the desire to create from scratch a thriving research group consisting of students, graduates and young scientists from the Rzeszów University of Technology, Professor Chmielarz implemented his original ideas step by step. As a result, their scientific activities resulted in, among other things, regular publication of research papers in reputable scientific journals, participation in internships in foreign scientific institutions, e.g. in the USA, Italy, Denmark or Germany, obtaining scholarships (e.g. from the Ministry of Education and Science for Outstanding Young Scientists) [44-48] and obtaining grants for conducting research work (e.g. from the funds of the National Centre for Scientific Research and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education) [49].

For his research work, the Professor has obtained funding from the National Science Centre (PRELUDIUM [50-51] and SONATA BIS [52-55]), the Podkarpackie Innovation Centre (under the PCI grant programme entitled “Podkarpackie Innovation Centre” [56]), the Ministry of Science and Education (two consecutive years of grant under the programme “Students’ Scientific Circles Create Innovations” [57-58]) and from European funds (under the programme entitled “Innovation Incubator 4.0” [59-60]).

Twitter: Chmielarz Research Group


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