Robert Holyst (born 1963, MSc Physics 1986, Ph.D. Chemistry 1989, full professor 1998) is a principal investigator of the Soft Condensed Matter Group (since 1993) after a postdoc at the University of Washington (physics) (1989-1992), with extensive experience in leadership and management. He spent 2,5 years in Ecole Normale Superieure Lyon (as a visiting researcher/professor) and 0,5 years in Max Planck Institute for Polymer Science Mainz.
He was the v-Director (2007-2011) and Director (2011-2015) of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He introduced several measures to reform the old system of science organizations. The introduction of a flat structure with independent PIs in place of the old hierarchical system with big departments resulted in the following outcomes during the period 2007-2020: the number of high impact publications per year grew four times, the amount of money for research (grant money per year) increased ten times, the number of patents increased 40 times, the number of citations per year increased three times. The number of Ph.D. students increased five times. Now in the Institute, 25% of PIs and 50% of Ph.D. students are from abroad. The Institute is in the top 5% in Poland (A+ category, since 2017).
He is/was a member/reviewer of several research funding committees, incl. ERC PE5 panel (several times), RCL-Lithuania, NSF-USA, NSERC-Canada, NCN-Poland, NCBIR-Poland, Foundation for Polish Science. For two terms (2007-2011), he served as the editor of Physical Review E. Currently; he is a member of the Committee for Evaluation of Polish Science in the Ministry of Education and Science in Poland.
He has a solid record of collaboration with the business sector (Mitsui Chemicals Inc., Samsung, and Unilever, Scope Fluidics Inc.). He is a co-inventor in 40 granted patents. In 2003 he co-founded the company Advanced Science and Technology Investment Group Ltd. and acted as CEO 2003-2004. In 2011 he co-founded Scope
Fluidics Ltd. (Inc. since 2017) and is currently a member of the Board of Directors. He also co-founded Curiosity Diagnostics – a daughter company of Scope Fluidics Inc.
He gave lectures at top scientific Institutions, e.g., in USA – Harvard (at physics and chemistry departments), MIT, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT (biology oriented institute), Yale, Princeton, Brandeis, Univ. of Chicago, University of Washington, etc., England - Oxford, Cambridge, etc., Germany numerous Max Planck Institutes, University of Gottingen, Mainz, Saarbrucken, etc., France: Ecole Normale Superieure (Paris, Lyon), etc., Japan - the University of Tokyo, University of Nagoya, also in the Netherlands (Leiden, AMOLF), China, Russia, Canada, Poland, Belgium.
Research: soft matter, transport in cells, biological chemistry, material chemistry, spectroscopy, analytical chemistry, statistical physics. Robert Holyst published ~270 papers (plus three books, one in Springer Verlag 2012 on thermodynamics). They gathered ~6700 citations, with h-index=46 (google scholar). He was a co-inventor in more than 40 patents (incl. EPO, USA, the Netherlands, Switzerland, China, Russia, Germany). Total grants as PI ~20 Meuro, including four from EU Brussels (Names, PD2PI, Noblesse, Create). He supervised ~30 PhDs and 30 postdocs (8 of his students are currently professors, including Piotr Garstecki ERC grant recipient (PE8 panel).
He created the Dream Chemistry Award (in 2012), a unique worldwide contest for young researchers http://www.dreamchemistryaward.org/. The prize is not for actual achievements but a dream project that may materialize in years to come. He also created a contest "Gold Medal of Chemistry" (in 2010) for the best bachelor thesis in Poland in chemistry.
In 1999 he sailed around Cape Horn on a sailing yacht in an expedition on Antarctica.