ICRA researcher Jelena Radjenovic, winner of the 2021 National Young Talent Research Award for her work on water treatment with graphene sponges

The Government of Catalonia and the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI) have awarded Dr. Jelena Radjenović, ICREA research professor at the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) where she directs the European project Electron4water, with the National Research Award for Young Talent 2021.

The National Research Awards recognise and reflect the different facets of both research activity and initiatives in scientific communication and dissemination, scientific patronage and public and private cooperation in R&D projects in Catalonia. The National Young Talent Research Award category aims to stimulate and recognise the efforts of young researchers in the Catalan research and innovation system who have contributed during their professional career to the advancement of a scientific discipline in any of its fields. Other aspects such as technology transfer and the social impact of their research will also be valued.

In the case of Dr. Jelena Radjenović, the award is given for her work on the Electron4water project for the development of low-cost nanostructured graphene sponge electrodes for water treatment. These new elements enable, for the first time, an electrochemical treatment of persistent, toxic and carcinogenic water pollutants, such as perfluorinated compounds, and without producing toxic by-products typically observed in electrochemical treatments using commercial materials.

Biographical profile of Jelena Radjenović

Jelena Radjenović (Belgrade, Serbia, 1980) is an ICREA research professor and researcher at the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) in Girona, where she has been working since November 2014. She holds a degree in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology from the University of Belgrade (2004) and a PhD in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Barcelona (2009) with cum laude distinction, having worked, from 2009 to 2014, at the prestigious Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) of the University of Queensland (Australia). She is an expert in the advanced chemical and electrochemical treatment of water and wastewater, removal of organic and inorganic pollutants, working at the interface of electrochemistry and nanotechnology.

Jelena Radjenovic is currently on a three months sabbatical stay at the University of California at Berkeley. In collaboration with Prof David Sedlak, she is working on the further development of electrochemical treatment systems based on graphene materials developed at ICRA, for water treatment applications. Prof Sedlak is director of the Berkeley Water Center, one of the leading institutions in the field of water in the US, and co-director of ReNUWIt (Re-Inventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure), the interdisciplinary center that involves the most influential universities in the US in the field of water: UC Berkeley, Stanford University, Colorado School of Mines, and New Mexico State University.

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