The Henkel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Science and Engineering is given to recognize a graduate student or recent graduate who has completed an outstanding Ph.D. thesis in polymeric research.


The award consists of a plaque and an honorarium of $5,000 which will be presented at the POLY/PMSE award symposium at the fall national ACS meeting.


The award was first awarded in 1991 and is operated under the Polymer Education Committee (POLYED), sponsored by the Polymer Chemistry Division and Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division. The award has been previously sponsored by Unilever (1991-2003), National Starch (2006-2008) and AzkoNobel (2008-2013). It has since been sponsored by Henkel.


A nominee must be a member or affiliate of the POLY division of ACS and must currently be a PhD candidate or have earned their PhD during the three years prior or January 1 of the award year.


Nominees will be judged on the basis of their contribution to the thesis research, the quality and level of innovation demonstrated, and the impact of the research on the science of synthetic polymers or biopolymers.

Nominators must be a member or affiliate of the POLY division and must be the nominee’s thesis supervisor or someone familiar with the nominee’s work. The nominating document must include: (1) the nominee’s biography (or curriculum vitae), (2) a synopsis of the nominee’s work, and (3) a letter of recommendation from the thesis advisor. Relevant publications based on the thesis work may be submitted. Supporting documents and testimonials may also be included. A PDF file should be sent to Jessica Kramer (jessica.kramer@utah.edu). Please use “Henkel Graduate Award” in the subject line. The nomination email will be acknowledged if received.

About the Sponsor

Henkel values highly the development of outstanding scientists in the field of polymer science and engineering. Progress in the field is vital for the future development of high performance materials that will enhance current technologies and enable future ones. Thus, Henkel is proud to sponsor this award to demonstrate their commitment recognizing outstanding young scientists.

2018 Award Winner: Dr. Aleksandr V. Zhukhovitskiy

2016 Ph.D., MIT

The winner of the 2018 Henkel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Science and Engineering is Aleksandr V. Zhukhovitskiy. He earned his Ph.D. in 2016 at MIT under the supervision of Prof. Jeremiah A. Johnson for his work at the intersection of organic, organometallic, and polymer chemistry that focused on the surface chemistry of persistent N-heterocyclic carbenes and the self-assembly, structure, and properties of polymer metal-organic cage gels. Dr. Zhukhovitskiy is currently a Life Science Research Foundation Merck Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California–Berkeley working with Prof. F. Dean Toste, where he is exploring gold and metallocarbene chemistries for controlled polymer syntheses.

The 2018 award will be presented during a symposium in honor of Dr. Zhukhovitskiy at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Boston, MA, August 19–23, 2018 in the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science & Engineering. Award nominations are administered through PolyEd, the joint polymer education committee of the ACS Divisions of Polymer Chemistry and Polymeric Materials: Science & Engineering, with generous financial support from the Henkel Corporation.

Dr. Aleksandr V. Zhukhovitskiy

Past Winners


The previous sponsorship of this award by Unilever (1991-2003), National Starch (2006 – 2008), and AzkoNobel (2008-2013) is greatly appreciated.

Christopher Gorman
Advised by: Robert Grubbs, California Institute of Technology

Richard Register
Advised by:  Stuart Cooper, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Christopher N. Bowman
Advised by: Nicholas Peppas, Purdue University

Timothy J. Deming
Advised by:  Bruce Novak, University of California, Berkeley

Rangaramanujam M. Kannan
Advised by: Julia Kornfield, California Institute of Technology

Kristi S. Anseth
Advised by:  Christopher Bowman, University of Colorado at Boulder

D.-Y. Kim
Advised by: Sukant K. Tripathy, University of Massachusetts Lowell

James J. Watkins
Advised by:  Thomas J. McCarthy, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Scott G. Gaynor
Advised by: Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Carnegie Mellon University

X. Linda Chen
Advised by:  Samson A. Jenekhe, University of Rochester

Shu Yang
Advised by: Christopher K. Ober, Cornell University

Kristi Kiick
Advised by:  David Tirrell, California Institute of Technology

Christopher Bielawski
Advised by: Robert Grubbs, California Institute of Technology

Jiaxing Huang
Advised by:  Richard Kaner, UCLA

Jason Rolland
Advised by: Joseph DiSimone, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Nikolay Tsarevsky
Advised by:  Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Carnegie Mellon University

Christopher Bettinger
Advised by: Robert Langer, MIT

Haifeng Gao
Advised by:  Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Carnegie Mellon University

Rong Tong
Advised by: Jianjun Cheng, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Garret Miyake
Advised by:  Eugene Chen, Colorado State University

Hua Lu
Advised by: Jianjun Cheng, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Felix Kim
Advised by: Samson Jenekhe, University of Washington

Jessica Kramer
Advised by: Tim Deming, University of California, Los Angeles

Maxwell Robb
Advised by: Craig Hawker, University of California, Santa Barbara

John. W. Colson
Advised by: William Dichtel, Cornell University

Aleksandr V. Zhukhovitskiy
Advised by: Jeremiah A. Johnson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology