The Selection Committee of the IULTCS Research Commission (IUR) has announced the fourth recipient of the Young Leather Scientist Grant.  The winner of the Euro 1500 grant is Mr Yi (Ethan) Zhang from New Zealand Leather and Shoe Research Association, (LASRA), Palmerston North, New Zealand.


Ethan’s research topic is an area of great practical interest for the leather industry: “What makes leather stronger? A mechanistic study on the effect of natural/artificial cross-links on tensile strength using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS)”.  From this research project, mechanisms which directly contribute to the production of strong leather will be established. The mechanisms can be further applied on the exploration of novel syntans or other tannages with similar cross-linking chemistry to the cross-links known to work by this study. Also, as important as the strength of leather, the project will help us understand the role of mineral tannages on physical properties and so as to find environment-friendly alternatives with equivalent effects.


This monetary award helps support the work of young talent in the leather sector and the IULTCS gratefully acknowledges sponsorship by the Lear Corporation. Dr. Luis Zugno, the IUR Chair, stated on this fourth year of the Young Leather Scientist Grant: “This year we have received a large number of innovative research topics and the quality of the applications has also improved”.  This indicates the growing importance and interest in this grant.  The Selection Committee is chaired by Dr. Michael Meyer who oversees the necessary independence, confidentiality, and integrity of the selection process.