Gerard van Koten (born in 1942) is Professor of Organic Chemistry and Catalysis at the Debye Institute of the Utrecht University (since 1986). He studied at the Utrecht University (Master of Science 1967). In 1967 he joined the Institute for Organic Chemistry, TNO as a permanent staff member and obtained his PhD (1974; Summa Cum Laude) from the Utrecht University (Prof. Dr. G.J.H. van der Kerk). In 1977 he moved to the University of Amsterdam (Inorganic Chemistry) where he was appointed to professor (personal chair) in Organometallic Chemistry. He retired 6 September 2007 and was appointed Emeritus Professor. February 2004 (to 2012) he has been appointed as Distinguished University Professor of the Utrecht University. In October 2007 he was appointed Part Time Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Cardiff (UK) (2007-2010).
His research interests comprise the study of fundamental processes in organometallic chemistry, the application of organometallic complexes as catalysts in homogeneous catalysis, in particular for fine-chemical synthesis, and as materials with special physicochemical properties (molecular wires and switches). He is well known for his ground breaking fundamental and applied research on XCX-pincer metal complexes. The preparation and use of the first examples of homogeneous metallodendrimer catalysts demonstrate his interest in supramolecular systems with (organometallic) catalytically active functionalities. Recent developments involve the introduction of the XCX-pincer metal units in polypeptide chains, carbohydrates and in the active site of serine hydrolases. Furthermore systems are under development for cascade catalysis which is connected to his current interest in the development of sustainable (green) chemistry.
Gerard van Koten is author of over 800 scientific publications and review papers and of 35 patents. He was member of the Scientific Council of the Netherlands Research Combination Catalysis (2006) and is currently member of the governmental Foresight group Chemistry. This Foresight group will be responsible for the initiative of innovation in the Netherlands in Industry and Academia. It is part of the Innovation Platform lead by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Furthermore Gerard is mentioned in the Top-50 as one of the decision makers in the Netherlands concerning the R&D-budget. From January 2008 to December 2009 he is acting President of the Royal Dutch Chemical Society.
Gerard van Koten has been visiting Professor in Strasbourg (France), Salt Lake City (US), Sassari (Italy), Heidelberg and Dortmund (Germany), Fribourg (Switzerland), North West Pacific Inorganic Chemistry Lecturer (1999) (Canada/USA) and in Lausanne (Switzerland). He has been Merck Lecturer of Organic Synthesis in the UK, Sasol Lecturer in Homogeneous Catalysis in Canada (Ottawa), visiting lectureship at the IQUI Tarragona and Visiting Professor at the CaRLa institute for Homogeneous Catalysis in Heidelberg. Presently he is member and chairman of the Academy Committee for Chemistry of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and past-chairman of the Technical Committee of COST-Chemistry of the EU. From 01-01-1995 to 31-12-1999 he served as Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry at the Utrecht University. In September 2003 he became chairman of the Board of the Faculties of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Mathematics and Information Science, Pharmaceutical Science and Biology. From 2004-2005 he was responsible for the fusion of these five Faculties into one Faculty of Science of the Utrecht University and since 2005 he is Dean of this Faculty .
In 2002, Gerard van Koten was appointed by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science as chairman of the committee responsible for the renewal of the Chemistry Educational Programme at Secondary School level. Moreover, he was chairing an advisory committee for the renewal of the Secondary School curriculum of the KNAW and more recently formed a steering group responsible for the implementation of the concept-context approach in chemistry.
He has been board member of a series of scientific journals, e.g. Organometallics and Chemistry - A European Journal, Topic in Organometallic Chemistry. He has been consultant for a number of chemical and pharmaceutical companies, e.g. DOW Chemicals, Arkema Vlissingen (current) and Ciba (current). He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Molecular Frontiers, which is a world-wide virtual institute that seeks to strengthen the position of Science in Society.
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