• School of Chemistry, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa


  • Distinguished Professor of Biocatalysis Engineering

Tel:   +31 (0)6 30738451
        +27 117176727

June 24, 1942, Nottingham (U.K.)


  • Married to Janna (Jetty) Kornelia Dijkstra
  • Two children, Annemarie (1975) and Frank (1976)
  • Five grandchildren, Jason (2004), Femke (2006),Tessa (2008), Thomas (2011), Eva (2014)


  • 1964 Graduate Royal Institute of Chemistry
  • 1967 Ph.D. University of Leicester (U.K.), Organic Chemistry
  • 1967-1969 Post-doctoral Fellow with Jay Kochi, Case Western Reserve University and Indiana University


  • 1958-1964 Boots Pure Drug Co., Laboratory Technician
  • 1969-1979Koninklijke Shell Laboratories, Amsterdam, Research Chemist
  • 1980-1990 DSM-Andeno, Fine Chemicals, Vice President R&D
  • 1991-2015 Delft University of Technology, Professor of Biocatalysis & Organic Chemistry (since 2007 as emeritus professor)
  • 2002-2015 CEO and founder of CLEA Technologies
  • 2008-2012 Leuven University (Belgium) Professor (Part Time)
  • 2015-present University of the Witwatersrand, School of Chemistry, Distinguished Professor of Biocatalysis Engineering.


  • 1974 Royal Society of Chemistry Essay Prize for the essay “Chemistry and the Quality of Life”
  • 1979 Royal Society of Chemistry Award in Hydrocarbon Oxidation Chemistry
  • 1982 Berzelius Medal in Catalysis (University of Lund, Sweden)
  • 1997 Fellow Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science
  • 1997 Paul Rylander Award, Organic Reaction Catalysis Society
  • 1998 Elected Member of the Academia Europaea
  • 1999 Doctor Honoris Causa Russian Academy of Sciences
  • 2001 Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers, Prof. K.Venkataraman Award for outstanding contributions to Chemical Technology.
  • 2004 Awarded D.Sc degree by the University of Leicester
  • 2005 1st EuCheMS Lectureship, “Combining organometallic catalysis and biocatalysis in catalytic cascade processes” FECHEM conference, Budapest.
  • 2006 Green Chemistry Presidential Challenge Award (USA)
  • 2010 Royal Society of Chemistry Green Chemistry Award
  • 2010 Biocat 2010 award for outstanding achievements in Biocatalysis
  • 2015 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society
  • 2018 Elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry


  • Chairman of the Organic Chemistry Division of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society, 1990-1996
  • Member of the Programme Coordination Committee of the Netherlands National Innovative Research Programme on Catalysis, 1988-1998
  • Member of the Scientific Board of the Netherlands Institute for Research on Catalysis (NIOK)
  • Chairman of the 6th International Symposium on the Activation of Oxygen and Homogeneous Catalytic Oxidation, Noordwijkerhout, 1996.
  • CoChair Gordon Research Conference on Green Chemistry, Oxford (UK) July 11-16, 1999
  • Chairman of the 6th International Symposium on Catalysis Applied to Fine Chemicals, Delft, The Netherlands, April 6-10, 2003
  • Chairman of Biotrans 2005, International Conference on Biocatalysis, Delft 2005
  • Chairman of the 3rd International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Delft (2007)
  • Member of the International Advisory Board of numerous International Conferences, e.g. the World Congress on Selective Oxidation, the International Symposium on Homogeneous Catalysis (ISHC), the Tokyo Conference on Advanced Catalytic Technology (TOCAT) ,International Conference on Biocatalysis (Biotrans) , the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Network Conference (Japan), the International Congress on Ionic Liquids (COIL), the International Conference on Protein Stabilization.
  • Member of the Management Committee of COST D29 Action on Green / Sustainable Chemistry & Chemical Technology, European Commision / European Science Foundation, 2002-2007.
  • Member of the Management Committee of COST D25 Action Applied Biocatalysis: Stereoselective and Environmentally-friendly Reactions Catalysed by Enzymes.
  • Member of the Advisory Board of The UK Centre of Excellence for Biocatalysis, Biotransformations and Biomanufacturing (CoEBio3)
  • Member of the Management Committee of the Section of Applied Biocatalysis of the European Federation of Biotechnology
  • Appointed(2007) International Fellow of the QUILL Institute of the Queen’s University of Belfast
  • Member of the Management Committee of COST Action CASCAT on Catalytic Cascade Processes.
  • Chairman of the Management Committee of COST action CM0903 (UBIOCHEM) Utilisation of Biomass for Sustainable Chemicals and Fuels (2009-2013).
  • Visiting Professor: University of Osaka (Japan), University of Campinas (Brazil), University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris), Dalian University of Technology (China) and Catholic University of Valparaiso, Chile.


  • 1995-2012 Editor-in-Chief, J. Molecular Catalysis B: Enzymatic
  • 1996-2015 Editorial Board Organic Process Development
  • 1996-present Editorial Board Japanese Catalysis Surveys
  • 1999-2002 Editorial Board Chairman Green Chemistry
  • 2002-present Editorial Advisory Board Green Chemistry
  • 2000-present Editorial Board Catalysis Communications
  • 2000-2013 Editorial Advisory Board Advanced Synthesis & Catalysis
  • 2007-present Editorial Board of ChemSusChem
  • 2012-present Editorial Board Current Green Chemistry
  • 2013-present Editorial Board Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining
  • 2016-present Editorial Board Current Opinion in Green & Sustainable Chemistry
  • 2016-present Editorial Board Current Catalysis
  • 2017-present Editor Biocatalysis & Biotransformations


  • 1964-present Royal Society of Chemistry (Hon FRSC)
  • 1967-present American Chemical Society
  • 1969-present Royal Netherlands Chemical Society
  • 1998-present Academia Europaea
  • 1992-present Netherlands Biotechnology Society
  • 2015-present Fellow of the Royal Society


Primary research interests are in the field of Green Chemistry and Catalysis and encompass the application of catalytic methodologies – homogeneous, heterogeneous, organocatalytic and enzymatic – in organic synthesis, particularly in relation to fine chemicals production. He developed the concepts of E factors and atom utilisation for assessing the environmental footprint of chemical processes. Related areas of interest are (bio)catalysis in alternative reaction media, in particular water and ionic liquids, and catalytic conversions of renewable raw materials (carbohydrates, triglycerides and terpenes). Current interests are focused on the immobilisation of enzymes, particularly as cross-linked enzyme aggregates and catalytic methodologies for biomass conversion and defining metrics to measure their sustainability.


Consultant for various chemical and pharmaceutical companies and government organizations world-wide in the area of Green and Sustainable Chemistry. For example:

  • 2015-present Member of the Apple Green Chemistry Advisory Board tasked with advancing Apple’s efforts to minimize or eliminate toxins from its products and supply chain.

H-Index : Google Scholar: 110 (Total citations 64,381) / Scopus: 94 (Total citations 43,602)

He is the author of more than 480 scientific publications (including 78 book chapters) and 56 granted patents.

He is also the author of five books on catalysis:

  1. 1981 “Metal Catalyzed Oxidations of Organic Compounds” (with Jay Kochi)
  2. 1983 “Chemicals from Syn Gas: Catalytic Reactions of CO and H2”
  3. 1993 “Chirotechnology: Industrial Synthesis of Optically Active Compounds”
  4. 2001 “Fine Chemicals Manufacture: Technology and Engineering” 2001 (with A. Cybulski, J. A. Moulijn and M. M. Sharma)
  5. 2007 “Green Chemistry and Catalysis” 2007 (with Isabel Arends and Ulf Hanefeld)

And the editor of three more books on catalysis:

  1. 1994 “Metalloporphyrins in Catalytic Oxidations”
  2. 1995 “ Catalytic Oxidations: Principles and Applications” (with R. A. Van Santen)
  3. 2001 “Fine Chemicals through Heterogeneneous Catalysis” (with Herman van Bekkum)

And co-editor of the series: “Sustainability, Science & Engineering”.


  • "Biocatalysis & Biomass Conversion: Enabling a Circular Economy" Royal Society Discussion Meeting, "Science enabling a circular economy", Royal Society, London, 24-25 June, 2019.
  • " Engineering Sustainable Organic Synthesis with Green Chemistry & Biocatalysis", Frank Warren Conference on Organic Chemistry, Drakensburg, South Africa, July 7-11, 2019
  • "Green Chemistry & Biocatalysis: Engineering a Sustainable Future", European Conference on Green & Sustainable Chemistry, EUGSC-4, Tarragona, Spain, 22-25 September, 2019
  • "Engineering a more Sustainable Future with Green Chemistry and Biocatalysis", 1st Brazilian Symposium on Sustainable Chemistry, Sao Pedro, Brazil, 1-3 October 2018.
  • “Engineering a Sustainable Future with Green Chemistry and Catalysis”, Silk Road Forum on Green Chemistry, Lanzhou, China, 15-16 July, 2017.
  • “Metrics of Green Chemistry & Sustainability: Past, Present & Future”, Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, ACS Green Chmistry Institute, Reston, VA, USA, 13-15 June , 2017
  • “Engineering a Sustainable Future with Green Chemistry and Catalysis”, International Symposium on Green Chemistry and Catalysis, La Rochelle, France, 16-19 May, 2017.
  • “Paving a more Sustainable Future through Green Chemistry and Catalysis”, Magna Conference celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences: “A Century of Science; Paving a Better Future”, Rio de Janeiro, 4-6 May, 2016.
  • “Engineering a Better World through Green Chemistry and Catalysis”, South African Chemical Institute (SACI) Annual Convention, Durban, 29 November – 4 December 2015.
  • “Engineering a more Sustainable World through Catalysis and Green Chemistry”, Inaugural Seminar by Election to Fellow of the Royal Society, London, 9 July, 2015.
  • “Green Chemistry and White Biotechnology for a Sustainable Bio-based Economy”, Gordon Research Conference on Green Chemistry, Hong Kong, 27 July- 1 August, 2014
  • “Biocatalysis in Ionic Liquids: Past, Present and Future”, EUCHEM 2014, Tallinn, Estonia, 6-11 July, 2014.
  • “Biocatalysis and Biomass Conversion in Ionic Liquids”, Catalysis Society of South Africa, Johannesburg, 9-12 November, 2014.