Heriot-Watt researcher, Susana García López, wins the SRUK/CERU Emerging Talent Award 2020

  • Banco Santander Foundation sponsors the 5th edition of the SRUK/CERU Emerging Talent Award 2020, awarded to the Spanish researcher Dr Susana García López.
  • The research carried out by Dr García López focuses on the development of science and technology for the capture of carbon dioxide in various industrial processes that contribute to the fight against climate change. 
  • For yet another year, SRUK/CERU and Banco Santander Foundation consolidate their support to Spanish researchers in the United Kingdom in this fifth edition of the award, promoting scientific collaboration between Spain and the United Kingdom

London, September 24th 2020.The Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom (SRUK/CERU) and Banco Santander Foundation have awarded, in their fifth edition, the SRUK/CERU Emerging Talent Award 2020 to Dr Susana García López for her excellent research career in the field of Chemical Engineering with the aim of solving one of the main environmental problems: the continuous release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

A total of twenty-four nominations competed for the award this year, all of them of the highest level. The applications have been reviewed by a committee made up of internationally renowned researchers including Xosé Bustelo (Universidad de Salamanca, CSIC, Spain), Javier García Martínez (Universidad de Alicante, Spain), Marisa Martín Fernández (Oxford Diamond, UK), Alessandro Patti (University of Manchester, UK) , Francisco Javier Salgueiro (Public Health England, UK) and Carmen Torres Sánchez (Loughborough University, UK), and chaired by Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer (Heriot-Watt University, UK).

The SRUK/CERU evaluation committee considers that “this award will not only represent a great recognition of the research done by this young and promising scientist, but it will also help to promote international and intersectoral collaborations, and the dissemination of her work to the general public.”.

Dr Susana García, awardee of the SRUK/CERU Emerging Talent 2020.

Susana García López, Chemical Engineer from the University of Oviedo, Spain, with a PhD from the University of Nottingham, developed the first experimental system to evaluate the storage of carbon dioxide in certain geological formations. Through collaborations with the United States Geological Survey and the University of Oregon, she has contributed to the development of computational models that, based on her experimental findings, could be applied to study in depth the geological conditions under which carbon dioxide can be stored. She joined the Institute of Carbon Science and Technology (INCAR-CSIC) in Spain as a postdoctoral researcher to study the different aspects of carbon dioxide capture, returning to the United Kingdom in 2014 as an Assistant Professor at the department of Chemical Engineering of the Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh. In 2017, she was appointed Associate Director at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS), and since 2019 she has been working as an Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering at the same University. One of her most recent contributions is the design of new materials capable of capturing carbon dioxide more efficiently than those currently available. This work was published last December in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.

According to Borja Baselga, Director of Banco Santander Foundation: “Susana’s excellent research career in clean energies combines and attempts to bring together basic and applied science, both in Spain and the United Kingdom, in the fight against climate change. This award not only represents recognition of her achievements and the role of women in the Spanish I+D+i, but will also encourage new international collaborations and inspire other young generations to continue their scientific careers. At least that is what we hope from Banco Santander Foundation by awarding it”.

In the words of the awardee: “Reducing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere is the greatest challenge our generation faces. One of the main sources of CO2 emissions is the consumption of fossil fuels as well as various industrial processes. Having been born and raised in the Asturian mining coal basin, I have always witnessed the importance of coal for the generation of energy in our society. Pushing forward the required transition to clean and sustainable energy is the goal of my research. The recognition of this work by SRUK/CERU and Banco Santander Foundation is a great encouragement to continue our fight against climate change”.

With the fifth edition of the Emerging Talent Award, SRUK/CERU’s commitment to support and to give visibility to Spanish scientists in the United Kingdom while fostering relations between the two countries, is consolidated. Carmen Sánchez Cañizares, president of this Society, has remarked “the high level of applications received throughout the five editions of this award, which reflects the talent and excellent research carried out by Spanish scientists in the United Kingdom”. The president of SRUK/CERU also highlighted the excellent academic career of the awardee, as well as her commitment to multidisciplinarity, outreach, and international collaborations between the United Kingdom and Spain, in accordance with the objectives pursued by our Society. In the words of Sánchez Cañizares: “Not only is she a young academic with an extraordinary career, but we at SRUK/CERU are convinced that Susana will be the perfect ambassador of the main values ​​that our Society defends and an inspiring reference of the role of women in Spanish science”.

Susana’s candidacy highlights both her research quality and her objective of building bridges between engineering and basic science, as well as promoting international mobility with job opportunities within her research projects and her responsibility as a role model for girls who can see in her an example to follow in the future.