Isabel Abánades receives a Junior Leader scholarship from the La Caixa Foundation to synthesise more efficient MOF materials on demand

Isabel Abánades Lázaro, postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Molecular Science (ICMol) of the University of Valencia, participated today, Tuesday, in the ceremony for the awarding of doctoral and postdoctoral scholarships from the La Caixa Foundation in its 2023 edition, having obtained the scholarship of the Junior Leader program in its Retaining call.

This aid is intended to strengthen a line of research aimed at the synthesis of new MOF structures with defects of interest in the environmental sector, as reported by ICMol. MOFs are three-dimensional, crystalline and porous chemical compounds, whose exceptional characteristics make them useful for multiple applications in areas as diverse as gas storage and separation, ion exchange or catalysis, among others.

Graduated in Chemical Sciences at the University of Alcalŕ (2014), Abánades obtained her doctorate at the University of Glasgow and, the following year, she obtained a scholarship from the Marie Sklodowska-Curie program, funded by the European Research Council (ERC). She is currently a Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral researcher at the Ministry of Science and Innovation at ICMol, a centre accredited with the María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence seal. Isabel Abánades won the prestigious Young Talent Award in the Science category in 2024, in the eleventh edition of these awards, organised by the Levante-EMV newspaper and CaixaBank.

The granting of this scholarship represents another significant step in Abánades’ scientific career, given the highly competitive nature of this aid program, which in its Retaining modality selects 15 people to develop a research project at any university or centre in Spain or Portugal. In the 2023 call, the program received 292 applications. 46% were women and the average age was about 35 years.

The La Caixa scholarships last for 3 years and have a maximum endowment of 305,000 euros for that entire period. In addition to competitive salaries, the program offers transversal training to promote an independent scientific career as an option for a professional future and promote innovation and leadership, two qualities that Abánades already accredited when it was selected to participate in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in 2022, the world forum of young leaders of the future to which 600 attendees from more than 100 countries are invited for their talent and social commitment.