The Board's motivation:"Leonidas Matsakas is a Senior Lecturer in Biochemical Process Engineering at Luleå University of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial Biotechnology in 2015 from the National Technical University of Athens. Before completing his dissertation, he received an ERASMUS scholarship to do the last part of the dissertation at Luleå University of Technology. After completing his doctorate, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow and researcher in the subject Biochemical Process Engineering at Luleå University of Technology. He was appointed Assistant Senior Lecturer in 2019 and was shortly afterwards promoted to Senior Lecturer.
During the years at Luleå University of Technology, Matsakas has been a very active researcher, which has led to a rapid career development. In addition to an impressive scientific production with a number of peer-reviewed particles and conference papers, he has in a very short time built up many different networks at both national and international level. Matsakas has received external funding both as a main applicant and together with others. Despite a strong focus on a research career, he has also had time to gain extensive supervision and teaching experience. He is perceived as a good leader and a popular teacher.
Leonida Matsaka's research focuses on the production of biofuels, chemicals and materials from forest residues. The core of Matsaka's research is the development of new efficient methods that enable the fractionation of the three components of the forest raw material (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin), each with unique properties that can be used to produce bio-based products. By using residual materials from the forestry sector, his research can not only deliver a solution to reduce our environmental impact, but also has the potential to provide economic added value to the forest industry and thus promote the development of a bio-based circular economy.
Over the past year, he has also been involved in projects related to the mining industry, more specifically the development of a more sustainable and environmentally friendly flotation process for the extraction of valuable base metals. Leonidas Matsaka's research aims to replace today's fossil-based flotation collectors with biodegradable nanoparticles from lignin found in forest raw materials. The research enables a synergy between two important industrial sectors for Sweden, forestry and mining.
Matsakas is a very competent researcher with a promising future development. His success is not only of great importance for strategically important research at Luleå University of Technology. With his enthusiasm for research and the ability to inspire others, he is a great asset and source of inspiration for both students and other researchers."