Slovenian chemist wins EUR 2.4m EU grant for his project

Ljubljana, 3 September - Chemist Matic Lozinšek from the Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS) has won EUR 2.4 million in EU funding for a project that is to test the limits of flour. His is one of the 436 projects that have been picked among 3,248 for funding by the European Research Council (ERC) as part of the Starting Grant 2020 programme for up-and-coming researchers.

Lozinšek convinced the jury with a five-year project HiPeR-F (Challenging the Oxidation-State Limitations of the Periodic Table via High-Pressure Fluorine Chemistry).

By focussing on chemical reactions with flour under extremely high pressure, Lozinšek will be challenging the limits of chemistry. The project combines two specialised experimental and extreme fields of research - the study of matter under extremely high pressure and the research of extreme chemical reactivity, the IJS said.

"If all the experimental obstacles and problems that come with handling one of the most reactive halogens under high pressure will be overcome, we can expect this to lead to discoveries that will affect and broaden our understanding of the periodical system of elements," the IJS said.

The ERC funding will enable Lozinšek to set up a research group and purchase all the necessary equipment and infrastructure for the project. This is the first ERC project in Slovenia to receive additional funds for the purchase of equipment.

Lozinšek started working with flour as a young researcher at the IJS. As postdoctoral researcher with a Marie Curie scholarship in Canada, he focussed on the chemistry of krypton, which is also related to the chemistry of flour. He got acquainted with research involving high pressure while attending international summer school on X-ray crystallography.

This is the fifth IJS project to win ERC funds.