The executive committee of the IULTCS have announced the winners of the 2021 research grants with this news release as below and we are thrilled that a LASRA staff member is again conferred a winner. This is the fifth LASRA recipient in four years that has been an IUR Young Leather Scientist of the year.

Young Leather Scientist Grant 2021 Basic Research

Hon Wei Ng, Research Assistant from New Zealand Leather and Shoe Research Association (LASRA), Palmerston North, New Zealand. IULTCS has provided the monetary sponsorship for a single sum of €1,500 grant to Basic Research. The title of his project is “Study on Molecular Level Collagen Structure Changes of Enzymatic Depilation Using X-Ray Scattering”.

Hon Wei Ng’s project’s main objective is to evaluate the performance of a novel environmental isolate for enzymatic depilation of skin/hide for leather manufacturing. The study also aims to use small-angle X-ray scattering to elucidate molecular level structural features changes of collagen caused enzymatic depilation compared to a conventional unhairing process.

The second winner for the Professor Mike Redwood Young Leather Scientist Grant 2021 Sustainability / Environmental Award is:

Caroline Borges Agustini from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil, will be the beneficiary of the generosity of Leather Naturally who have sponsored the €1,000 grant for the project entitled “Hydrocarbon Release During the Biodegradation of Solid Waste from Tanneries for BIOGAS Production”.

 The objective of this project is to investigate the evolution of the hydrocarbon release, the energy efficiency and the efficiency of the treatment of the waste of the anaerobic digestion of the solid waste of tanneries. The originality of this study is gaining the innovation of how chemical, physical and environmental parameters work is an important step in improving the efficiency and process stability of anaerobic digesters to be able to adjust in which step of the batch process the continuous process must be designed and which pre-treatments are most suitable to increase the carbon depletion of the waste.

Dr Michael Meyer, the IUR Chair of the Selection Committee, stated “Both project proposals show technological knowledge at a very high level and demonstrate the competitiveness of research activities in the leather industry is comparable with other industries worldwide.” The IULTCS looks forward to seeing the outcomes of the projects and wishes all the Award recipients every success as they contribute to expanding our industry knowledge.

Congratulations to both winners.

Pictured, Hon Wei Ng