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Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation & Economic Development

Professor Jean M.J. Fréchet

  • Mission and Vision
  • Biography
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Research Interests

Research is the central pillar and mission of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. The Office of the Vice President for Research champions and advocates excellence in all basic and goal-oriented research endeavors at the University.

Mission

The Office of the Vice President for Research develops strategies, initiates programs and manages resources to support interdisciplinary, collaborative research bridging science and engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

The Vice President for Research works in close collaboration with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and with the Deans of the Divisions. His primary responsibilities are to ensure the high quality of research across all sectors of the University and to oversee funding of the research activities within KAUST as well as collaborative research with external institutions. The VPR establishes and communicates the University's research policies, supports responsible conduct of research and maintains the highest research standards for faculty members, Research Centers and Core Laboratories.

Research Support Offices

Professor Jean Fréchet, an accomplished chemist and researcher, is vice president for research at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. He assumed his duties in June 2010.

Fréchet joined KAUST after 14 years at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was the Henry Rapoport chair of organic chemistry and professor of chemical engineering. While at Berkeley, he also served as a principal investigator in the Materials Science Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and as the scientific director of the Organic and Macromolecular Facility for the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

In his role at KAUST, Fréchet is a leader in developing strategies and managing resources to support interdisciplinary, collaborative research bridging science and engineering. Fréchet is tasked with helping KAUST realize its vision of becoming a globally renowned research university with an entrepreneurial culture through the management of research resources and the facilitation of scientific achievement and technological innovation.

Fréchet oversees the University's Core Laboratories and interdisciplinary Research Centers, ensuring that both researchers and staff members conduct collaborative research in various areas of science and engineering at the highest scientific standards. He plays a key role in fostering an enabling environment for interdisciplinary education and research that leverages the theme-focused projects in the Research Centers and the capabilities in the academic divisions' core disciplines of science and engineering. By leading efforts to realize synergies arising from the University's matrix structure, Fréchet develops strategies to place KAUST at the forefront of innovation and enterprise.

A polymer chemist best known for his contributions in a wide range of fields, including modern electronics and biotechnology, Fréchet has authored more than 800 scientific papers with more than 100,000​ citations as well as 100 U.S. and international patents. Fréchet developed the chemically amplified photoresists used in the fabrication of microprocessors and memory chips that are ubiquitous in today's consumer goods. Other notable achievements include the development of novel separation media and polymers for therapeutic uses and his long service as an editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Born in France, Fréchet received his first university degree at the Institut de Chimie et Physique Industrielles (now CPE in Lyon, France) before moving to the United States for graduate studies in organic and polymer chemistry at Syracuse University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He joined the chemistry faculty at the University of Ottawa in Canada in 1973 and remained there until 1987, when he became IBM professor of polymer chemistry at Cornell University in the United States. In 1995, he was named the Peter J. Debye chair of chemistry at Cornell.

His numerous awards and honors include the Japan Prize and multiple recognitions from the American Chemical Society, including the Arthur C. Cope Award, and awards in polymer chemistry and applied polymer science.

Fréchet is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the U.S. National Academy of Inventors and the Academy of Europe.
​Curriculum Vitae
  • Ph.D., Syracuse University, United States, 1971
  • Ph.D., State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, United States, 1971
  • M.S., Syracuse University, 1969
  • M.S., State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1969
  • Ingénieur-Chimiste, Institut de Chimie et Physique Industrielles, France, 1967
Professional Profile
  • 2003-present: Rapoport Chair of Organic Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
  • 2004-present: Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
  • 2004-present: Scientific Director, The Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, United States
  • 2000-present: Faculty Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • 1996-present: Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1993-1997: Peter Debye Chair of Chemistry, Cornell University, United States
  • 1987-1997: IBM Professor of Chemistry, Cornell University
  • 1983-1987: Vice Dean, School of Graduate Studies & Research, University of Ottawa, Canada
  • 1979 and 1983: Visiting Scientist, IBM Research Laboratory, United States
  • 1973-1987: Assistant/Associate/Full Professor of Chemistry, University of Ottawa
Scientific and Professional Memberships (current)
American Chemical Society, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Academia Europaea.
Associate Editor: Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2004-present.

Past professional activities
Scientific Advisor/Founder: Ardelyx; Dendritic Nanotechnologies; Symyx; Intermolecular; Wildcat; Xenoport; Novomer; Pharmacopia; Aquanano, Xagros, Siros; Optitek; Ilypsa; Argonaut Technologies; Aspira; Galileo Laboratories.
Venture Partner: NGEN Partners, Physic Ventures.
Consultant: Arkema, Unilever, Merck, Akzo Nobel, IBM Corporation, Exxon-Mobil, Xerox, Eastman Kodak, Bayer, BASF, Dupont, ICI, Amoco, Novartis, Rhone Poulenc, Rhodia, Allied Signal, Bausch and Lomb, 3M; Mitsubishi Chemical, Loctite, Kimberly Clark, Pharmacia, Genzyme, Nanosolar.

Awards and Recognition
  • Award in Applied Polymer Science, American Chemical Society, 1996
  • Award in Polymer Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 2000
  • Arthur C. Cope Award, American Chemical Society, 2007
  • Nagoya Gold Medal in Organic Chemistry, 2009
  • Erasmus Medal, 2010
  • Grand Prix de la Maison de la Chimie, 2011
  • Japan Prize, 2013
  • The U.S. National Academy of Inventors, 2015 

Professor Fréchet is the author of about 800 publications with 95,000 citations and 100 patents. His work at the interface of organic, polymer and materials chemistry is in the broad area of nanoscience and nanotechnology and encompasses both academic and entrepreneurial activities.