Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research - ANU

22 November 2019

Congratulations to Professor Michelle Coote on being awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research.

Professor Michelle Coote is an ARC Laureate Fellow who has made sustained contributions to chemistry at the highest level, and is also recognised for her contributions to the profession and to advancing equity and diversity in STEM.

Her research, which spans both computational and experimental chemistry, can be summarised in two broad areas: polymer chemistry and synthetic method development.

She is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, has received numerous national and international numerous awards including every major research award of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, and has published 270 research publications (1/3 in the last 5 years) that have attracted over 8500 citations at an h-index of 52.

She is best known for her contributions to the polymer field; materials which now dominate every aspect of our lives.

Her more recent research has focussed on changing the way in which chemical reactions are triggered. They are usually driven by heat in conjunction with expensive (and often toxic) catalysts to lower the energy requirements.

Michelle's recent work has focussed on harnessing alternative drivers of chemical reactions (electricity, light and mechanical force). For instance, she has recently shown that charged groups can be used to selectively manipulate photochemical processes, developed a new safe methylation technique based on electrochemistry, and provided the first demonstration that electric fields can catalyse chemical reactions. In the latter case, her 2016 Nature paper is already cited more than 160 times and has sparked a new field of research.