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NFDI4Cat Digital Chemist Award 2023

Celebrating Dr. Mark Dörr's Innovations

NFDI4Cat and Chemistry Europe are proud to announce Dr. Mark Doerr as the winner of the Digital Chemist Award 2023. Jointly presented by NFDI4Cat and Chemistry Europe, this award underlines the importance of the FAIR principles – Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability – in scientific research.


Dr. Mark Dörr: The Winner’s Profile

A biochemist and programmer by profession, Dr. Doerr works at the University of Greifswald’s Department of Biotechnology & Enzyme Catalysis, in the group of Prof. Dr. Uwe T. Bornscheuer. His focus is on deep, mechanistic understanding of biocatalysts, which can also be tailored for industrial applications. The award, presented during the Annual Digital Catalysis-Related Sciences Conference 2023 (ADCR 2023) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, celebrates his innovative work on LARAsuite.


Special thanks to my wife and family for their unwavering support and to Stefan Born, Stefan Maak, Prof. Dr. Uwe T. Bornscheuer, the KIWI-bioblab and the NFDI4Cat TA1-3 teams for their invaluable support, as well as to the brilliant developers behind the tools that form the backbone of LARAsuite, your contributions have been instrumental in my journey.”  – Dr. Mark Doerr


LARAsuite: A Revolutionary Tool in Digital Chemistry

Dr. Doerr’s award-winning innovation, LARAsuite, is a comprehensive assembly of applications, databases, open communication protocols and tools aimed at enhancing and simplifying scientific research. It’s not just another Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN); it’s a next-generation, modular platform designed to cover all aspects of laboratory work, dramatically reducing the burden of manual documentation. LARAsuite excels in automated handling of large datasets, with a focus on Design-of-Experiments, AI, and machine learning applications. LARAsuite stands out as a comprehensive publicly accessible toolkit for the scientific community, aiming at scientists who can focus on their creative and explorative work, not on documentation.


Key Features of LARAsuite

  1. Modularity and Versatility: It encompasses a range of modules that represent various aspects of scientific work. It seamlessly merges the modularity of the open-source software Django with the concepts of the linked data/semantic web realm. As a result, data from LARASuite automatically build knowledge graphs, a feature not commonly found in other ELNs.
  2. Uniform Framework: LARAsuite aims to encapsulate all laboratory work steps within a standardised framework, using open communication protocols and data formats like SiLA2, JSON-LD (SciDat) and AnIML.
  3. Integration with Robotic Platforms: Its ability to integrate with robotic platforms for high-throughput catalyst development is a testament to its advanced capabilities in managing control and data in complex, modern automated laboratory environments.
  4. Education and Outreach: Dr. Doerr extends his expertise through his YouTube channel, educating users on the effective utilisation of LARAsuite.


About the Digital Chemist Award

The NFDI4Cat – Digital Chemist Award is not just an accolade; it’s a mission to empower scientists in chemistry, catalysis, and materials science. It underscores the importance of understanding and implementing the FAIR principles – Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability – in research. This initiative by NFDI4Cat and Chemistry Europe rewards scientists who have pioneered these principles with a cash prize, awarded by hte GmbH and BASF SE, and promoting their groundbreaking work.

The announcement of Dr. Doerr’s accomplishment was a highlight of the ADCR 2023, held at DECHEMA House in Frankfurt am Main. Here, the scientific community celebrated the intersection of digital innovation and catalysis research.

The presentation ceremony saw Dr. Katrin Friese from BASF SE and Prof. Stephan Schunk from hte GmbH joining hands with representatives from Chemistry Europe – Dr. Charlotte Gers-Panther and Dr. Sandra Gonzales Gallardo, along with NFDI4Cat’s spokesperson Andreas Förster, in honouring Dr. Doerr’s groundbreaking work.


Next Steps

Chemistry Europe has invited Dr. Doerr to write a “Perspective” article for ChemCatChem, presenting his innovative tool. Additionally, Dr. Doerr will be featured in a virtual symposium for Chemistry Europe, further raising awareness of the importance of the FAIR principles, Research Data Management (RDM), and data sharing in the field. The date will be announced soon….


Dr. Mark Doerr’s achievement in developing LARAsuite is a significant milestone in the realm of digital chemistry. It is intended to inspire the community to contribute and extend this framework for a next generation of science. His work exemplifies the essence of the Digital Chemist Award, advancing the application of the FAIR principles in a practical, innovative, and accessible manner. His contribution is not just a tool for today’s scientists but a foundation for the future of digital catalysis and catalysis-related sciences.

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