2020 Award Winners

Graduate Student Research Paper Award

Congratulations to David Nenon of UC Berkeley!

The Molecular Foundry User Executive Committee (UEC) pleased to announce that David Nenon’s recent paper was selected for this award. He presented his work in a featured talk: The pursuit of photoluminescence Perfection in CsPbX3 Nanocrystals. High quantum yield is important for optical applications but also, high quality materials are an excellent foundation for all fundamental and applied studies.

Outstanding Staff Service Award

Poster Competition

Four winners were named from the annual poster competition. Poster presentations were judged by members of the User Executive Committee for outstanding research quality, well-supported conclusions, the clarity of visual presentation, and the quality of spoken delivery.

The winners are:

  • Justin Andrews, Texas A&M University – The implications of polarons in tunnel-structured vanadium oxides
  • Virgil Andrei, University of Cambridge – Scalable Perovskite-BiVO4 Photoelectrochemical Devices for Solar Fuel Production
  • Won Jun Jo, Berkeley Lab – Photocatalytic Core-Shell Nanotube Array Converting CO2 and H2O to Fuels
  • Isabel Craig, Berkeley Lab – Towards predictive models of transition metal intercalation: A study of non-dilute Fe diffusion in TaS2

Awards Details

Graduate Student Research Paper Award

The Molecular Foundry User Executive Committee (UEC) is pleased to continue the annual Graduate Student Research Paper Award of $1,500 to be given to an exceptional first-authored student paper published between 2018-2020.  The paper must be based on work performed at and acknowledging the Molecular Foundry, and the first author must have been a student when the majority of the work was performed, graduating no earlier than 2018.

Eligibility and Criteria

  • Research paper must be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Date of first publication should be 2018 or later.
  • The paper must be based on work performed at the Molecular Foundry.
  • Use of the Molecular Foundry must be acknowledged in the paper.
  • The first author graduate student should have graduated no earlier than 2018.
  • Nominations can be submitted by the student’s research advisor or by Molecular Foundry staff. Self-nominations are not allowed.
  • Previous nominees who meet eligibility criteria, and have not won this award, may be nominated again. 
  • Co-first-authored papers will be accepted. The contribution of each first author should be explained in detail.
  • Abstract submissions for an oral or poster presentation at the User Meeting are still encouraged, but the winner of the student paper award will be excluded from the poster competition.
  • The winner must participate in the virtual event.

Nomination and Selection Process

  1. A statement summarizing the novelty and impact of the work (20 words maximum)
  2. A nomination letter from the student’s Principal Investigator or Foundry Staff contact
    • Letters should clearly articulate:
      • What was the student’s contribution to the work?
      • What is the scientific merit of this work?
      • What were the challenging aspects of this work?
      • Which Foundry capabilities were engaged, and how central were these to the work?
    • Because of the Foundry’s highly multidisciplinary nature, the nomination letter should use language suitable for non-experts in the field.
  3. Student Curriculum Vitae
  4. PDF copy of the manuscript

Nominations will be evaluated by the User Executive Committee.

Submission Process and Deadline


A $1,500 prize is awarded to the best first-author graduate student paper. The award winner will give a 20-minute Plenary Talk at the User Meeting.

Please direct questions to Shannon Ciston (

Outstanding Staff Service Award

Nomination materials

  • A nomination statement (300 word maximum) highlighting the nominated staff member’s efforts in supporting and assisting users, providing specific examples of the outstanding service.
  • Nominations may list additional users supporting the nomination. Supporters will be contacted by the User Executive Committee and required to confirm their support to the nomination.


  • Nominations closed on June 30th, 2020.
  • The winner will be announced at the plenary session on the second day of the User Meeting, August 21st, 2020.

Please direct questions to Shannon Ciston (

Poster Competition

The poster competition is organized and judged by the User Executive Committee.

Eligibility: Students and postdocs are eligible to participate in the poster competition, as well as industry researchers who hold equivalent, non-PI positions. To be included in the competition, participants must opt in when they submit their poster abstract.

Judging: The User Executive Committee will judge the poster competition. Judges will review the summary slides prior to the live event to select poster competition finalists. During the live poster fair, the judges will meet with finalists to hear their lightning talks, ask questions, and complete a poster scoring rubric.

Awards: 3-4 winners will be selected. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded during the second plenary session on August 21, 2020. Winners will receive a certificate and a $100 prize.