Julien Bras honoured by IMT and the Academy of Science

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The prize, which was created by the Mines-Télécoms Institute (IMT) and the Academy of Science, rewards outstanding scientific contributions at a European level, in three areas : the science and technology of industry’s digital transformation, the science and technology of the energy transition and environmental engineering. The "Prix Espoir IMT - Académie des Sciences" is awarded to a scientist based in France, or working elsewhere in Europe in close conjunction with French teams, whose work has led to the emergence of breakthrough innovations and processes and who has contributed to research in partnership with the world of business.

Julien Bras has been Associate Professor at Grenoble INP-Pagora since 2006. He was previously employed as an engineer by a company involved in the paper sector in France, Italy and Finland. Not only is he Deputy Director of the Laboratory of Pulp and Paper Science and Graphic Arts (LGP2), he also heads the Multiscale biobased materials (MatBio) team.

For more than 15 years, his research on cellulose at a nanometric scale has been geared towards obtaining high-performance biomaterials and developing uses for these renewable resources. Closely controlling cellulose fibre destructuring and restructuring processes may open the way for a wide variety of materials that could be used in a vast range of fields with a minimal environmental impact. The originality of his work lies in his adoption of a cross-disciplinary and multiscale approach to the hybridisation of biological (enzymatic), chemical (alteration with acids or bases) and physical (grinding, homogenisation, extrusion) processes, so as to develop ways of controlling the structure of cellulose continuously from nanometric to metric scale and to obtain final products that are industrialisable and industrialised.

His scientific output stands at 111 journal publications with a high impact factor. The industrial potential of Julien Bras’s research is illustrated not only by his collaborations, but also by the nine patents he has filed and, in particular, the two start-ups that he has helped to set up : Poly-Ink, which specialises in the production of transparent conductive inks for the electronics industry, and InoFib, which produces nanocellulose for the paper, composites and chemical industries.