The plenary sessions will consist of lectures by the recipients of the Houdry Award, the Boudart Award, and the Emmett Award. The award winners are summarized below, with full biographical details following.

  • Stephen R. Schmidt is the recipient of the Houdry Award. Read more at NACS.
  • Aditya Bhan and Yuriy Román-Leshkov are the 2023 and 2024 recipients of the Emmett Award, respectively. Read more at NACS.
  • Johannes Lercher is the recipient of the 2023 Michel Boudart Award for the Advancement of Catalysis. Read more at NACS.

2023 Paul H. Emmett Award Winner

Aditya Bhan
University of Minnesota


Tentative title of plenary lecture:
“All that most maddens and torments in catalytic C1 conversion”

Aditya Bhan received his Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech.) in Chemical Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 2000 and his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in 2005. From January 2005 to August 2007, he was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California at Berkeley and since then he has been on the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science faculty at the University of Minnesota. He leads a research group that focuses on mechanistic characterization of catalysts useful in energy conversion and petrochemical synthesis. His group at the University of Minnesota has been recognized with the Young Researcher Award from the Acid-Base Catalysis Society and the Ipatieff Prize from the American Chemical Society. He serves as Editor for Journal of Catalysis and as Past-Chair of the ACS Catalysis Science & Technology Division.

2024 Paul H. Emmett Award Winner

Yuriy Román-Leshkov
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Tentative title of plenary lecture:
“New directions to promote turnover in solid acid catalysts”

Prof. Yuriy Román obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, also in Chemical Engineering, under the guidance of Prof. James Dumesic in 2008. Next, he completed a two-year postdoc at Caltech, working with Prof. Mark E. Davis on the synthesis of zeolites. Prof. Román joined the department of Chemical Engineering at MIT as an Assistant Professor in 2010, where he was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014 and Full Professor in 2020. The core of his research lies at the interface of heterogeneous catalysis and materials science, where he combines catalyst design, kinetic studies, and reaction engineering study the chemical transformation of molecules within reactive microenvironments. His research portfolio includes projects in biorefining, hydrocarbon conversion, porous materials, and electrocatalysis In addition to receiving an NSF Career Award in 2014, he also received two inaugural young investigator awards: the ACS Early Career in Catalysis Award and the AICHE Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division Young Investigator Award. In 2018, he also received the Rutherford Aris Award granted by NASCRE and the Robert Augustine Award by ORCS. In 2022, he was selected as a finalist for the National Blavatnik Award in Chemistry, and in 2023 he received the Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis.

2023 Michel Boudart Award Winner

Johannes A. Lercher
Technische Universität München & Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Tentative title of plenary lecture:
“Towards understanding catalysis at water-solid interfaces”

Johannes Lercher studied Chemistry at the Technische Universität Wien, completing doctoral studies in 1980 with Prof. Heinrich Noller and spent 1982 at Yale University working with Prof. Gary Haller. After a decade at TU Wien, he joined the University of Twente, Netherlands as Professor of Chemical Technology (1993-1998). Since 1998, he is Professor of Chemistry at the Technische Universität München and, since 2011, Director of the Institute of Integrated Catalysis at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Johannes Lercher is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Catalysis and was President of the International Zeolite Association and the European Federation of Catalysis Societies. He is member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Academia Europaea, the European Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Engineering, the US National Academy of Inventors, and the German National Academy of Science and Engineering. His contributions to research have been recognized by awards including, the Michel Boudart Award, the Alwin Mittasch Prize, the David Trimm and Noel Cant Lectureship of the Australian Catalysis Society, the ENI Award for Hydrocarbon Research, the R.B. Anderson Award of the Canadian Catalysis Society, the Francois Gault Lectureship Award of the European Federation of Catalysis Societies, the Kozo Tanabe Prize for Acid Base Catalysis, and the Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis of the North American Catalysis Society.

2023 Eugene J. Houdry Award Winner

Stephen R. Schmidt
W.R. Grace


Tentative title of plenary lecture:
“The Evolution of Raney® Catalysts”

Dr. Stephen R. Schmidt is a Research Fellow recognized as subject matter expert in heterogeneous catalysis with skeletal metals, trademarked at W.R. Grace as Raney® catalysts.
After education at Benedictine College (B.S., Chemistry) and Iowa State University (Ph.D., Physical Chemistry), since 1985 Steve contributed to several commercial technologies at Grace in these diverse area: silica gels, alumina supports for emission control, modified rare earth, supports for polymerization and automotive exhaust catalysts, and most notably, Raney® catalysts. This yielded 21 patents, and over a dozen journal publications. Steve contributed an invited chapter: “The Raney Catalyst Legacy in Hydrogenation” in the 2018 book, Hydrogenation, ed: S. David Jackson.

Steve’s contributions to commercialized catalysts have included (a) Raney 2000, a precious-metal promoted nickel catalyst with 3-fold lifetime improvement in nitroaromatic hydrogenations, (b) Raney 6800, a high yield catalyst for toluene diamine, (c) unique Raney cobalt materials for both fixed bed and slurry reactors, (d) several pre-activated fixed bed catalysts with unprecedented shelf life, and (e) novel alloy-catalyst systems improving selectivity for butanediol (BDO) production. Steve further contributed to the science of characterizing the surfaces of these unique materials, developing protocols for contending with their nascent hydrogen.

In service to the technical community, Steve was an instructor in the Center for Professional Advancement course on Applied Hydrogenation Technology for 20 years. He held prominent roles in the Organic Reactions Catalysis Society (ORCS): session chair, Board member, Chairman (2006 conference), and Editor-in-Chief of ORCS proceedings. He received the ORCS Murray Raney Award in 2010. Steve was an invited speaker at the Chicago and Philadelphia Catalysis Clubs, Kent State U., Seton Hall U. and the University of Kansas Distinguished Industrial Experts seminar series. He served in several advisory and editorial roles for DOE’s BETO, the KU Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC), the ACS OPRD journal, and as a mentor for younger colleagues.