PhD candidate wins prestigious Green Talents award for contribution to sustainable development

Wednesday 6 November 2019 by Kaitlyn Blanchard, Communications and Media

Swinburne PhD candidate Mohammad Ramezani Taghartapeh and Germany's Parliamentary State Secretary, Dr Michael Meister.

Mohammad Ramezani Taghartapeh was presented with his award by Germany’s Parliamentary State Secretary, Dr Michael Meister | Image: greentalents.de

In summary

  • PhD candidate Mohammad Ramezani Taghartapeh has received a Green Talents award from the German government for his contribution to creating a more sustainable future
  • Mohammad's prize included a two-week tour of Germany’s sustainability hotspots, where he met leading researchers
  • He is invited to return to Germany in 2020 for a fully-funded three-month research stay

Swinburne PhD candidate Mohammad Ramezani Taghartapeh has been recognised for his contribution to creating a more sustainable future, receiving a prestigious Green Talents award.

The annual Green Talents competition – established by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research – celebrates emerging researchers in sustainable development and promotes the international exchange of innovative green ideas.

Mohammad is one of 25 young researchers chosen to receive the award. He was selected by a panel of renowned German sustainability experts from a record 837 applicants across 97 countries.

Mohammad, who is completing a PhD in Chemistry and Materials Science, aims to design a fully rechargeable organic battery with high capacity and long cycle life that can compete with current lithium-based batteries. This will contribute to the sustainability of energy storage systems.

“Recent statistics show Australian lithium-ion battery waste is increasing by 20 per cent each year and only two per cent of this waste has been recycled over the past few years. Moreover, the materials used in these batteries like cobalt, magnesium and nickel are becoming rarer due to overuse, and the significant amount of battery waste ending up in landfill is causing contamination of soil and water,” says Mohammad.

“Hence, there is a need for greener and more sustainable energy storage systems that meet the increasing energy storage requirements, while keeping the world safe and clean.”

Exploring the German research landscape

As an awardee, Mohammad was invited to participate in the Green Talents International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development – a two-week tour of Germany’s sustainability hotspots, which ran from 14 – 26 October.

The tour gave the awardees unique access to some of the country’s leading sustainability researchers from renowned companies and institutions, including the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence; the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security; environmental NGO, Germanwatch; RWTH Aachen University; the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy; and high-tech polymer materials manufacturer, Covestro.

“I was honoured to visit these fantastic places where people are working on different aspects of sustainability in a variety of research fields,” says Mohammad.

“It provided me with ideas for how my own research could be improved by applying the technologies I encountered and harnessing the expertise of the people that I met.”

The tour concluded in Berlin with a networking conference bringing together the awardees, German sustainability experts and Green Talents alumni, as well as ambassadors and representatives of the awardees’ home countries. There, Mohammad was presented with his award by Germany’s Parliamentary State Secretary, Dr Michael Meister.

The 25 awardees, including Mohammad, are invited to return to Germany in 2020 for a fully-funded three-month research stay at an institution of their choice.