14 September 2010

Francesco Stellacci Appointed Full Professor at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, EPFL

Alcan Engineered Products – a business unit of Rio Tinto – has announced a major step in the implementation of a multi-year cooperation agreement between Alcan Engineered Products and the EPFL, aiming at accelerating the technical and commercial development of lightweight materials for applications in major industry sectors, such as Aerospace, Automotive, Construction & Building, and Transportations. In this context, Francesco Stellacci was appointed full professor at the Institute of Materials Science for the Supramolecular Nanomaterials and Interfaces Laboratory at EPFL. He has started in his new position in September 2010.

Commenting the appointment, Christel Bories, President and CEO of Alcan Engineered Products said: “We want to encourage technological partnerships between universities and the industry as they offer to key industry leaders such as our company true crucial innovation opportunities based on unique cross-fertilisation. In our 100 years of existence, innovation has always been at the core of our business. The close collaboration with EPFL helps us maintain our leadership in high-performance material solutions and develop eco-friendly, cost-effective materials and manufacturing solutions for our customers”.

Francesco Stellacci has made many significant contributions in nanoscience and nanotechnology, as well as in the science of supramolecular materials. He was the first to show the influence of morphology and curvature on controlling the distribution of the ligands in a monolayer molecular shell surrounding a metal nanoparticle. He is also well known for developing a powerful innovative technique (supramolecular nanostamping) that can repeatedly stamp both spatial and chemical information based on the reversible hybridization properties of DNA molecules.

The appointment of Professor Stellacci is part of a multi-year cooperation agreement between Alcan Engineered Products and the EPFL, including the “Innovation Cells” programme located at EPFL’s Science Park. It is composed of a cross-functional team where commercial, business development, technical, and scientific experts work together to deliver market ready innovations in minimal time.

The implementation of our Innovation Cells team on the EPFL campus has already resulted in a range of potential new products and businesses”, said Christophe Villemin, President of Alcan Global Aerospace, Transportation and Industry and Executive Sponsor Alcan Engineered Products Innovation Cells. “The research content of our co-sponsored chair will lead to new generations of multi-material and hybrid solutions leveraging our long-standing aluminium expertise to address light weighting, cost efficiency and environmental challenges for the aerospace and transportation industry as well as for other markets.

About Professor Stellacci

Francesco Stellacci was born in 1973. In 1998, he completed a doctorate in materials engineering at Politecnico di Milano. He continued his studies as a postdoc at the University of Arizona. He then joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 2007 and tenured associate professor in 2009. He also co-founded two nanotechnology companies.

For his work at MIT he received the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, the 3M Untenured Faculty Award, the DuPont Young Professor Award, and the NSF Career Award. His business activities brought him the 3M Innovation Award and a listing in Technology Review as one of the “Top 35 Innovators Under 35.” Finally, he was named among the “Brilliant Ten” by Popular Science magazine.

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About Alcan Engineered Products

Alcan Engineered Products is a global sector-leader strongly committed to developing innovative, value-added aluminium products for a broad scope of markets and applications, including aerospace, mass transportation, automotive, packaging, energy and building. With around 10,000 employees located in 26 countries and a commercial presence in more than 60 markets across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region, Alcan Engineered Products is organised around businesses dedicated to performance materials in the areas of aluminium rolled products, extrusions and automotive structures, and international trade.

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.



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