Nemitsas Prize 2014

Press Release 8 October 2014


The presentation ceremony for the Takis and Louki Nemitsas Award took place last night (Tuesday) at the Presidential Palace.
It was presented to Kyriacos C. Nicolaou, Professor at Rice University in Houston, Texas, for his work in the field of chemistry.
The President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades – in a speech presented by Panayiotis Antoniou, the Director of the President’s Office – praised the laureate’s work and the role of the Foundation.
We are proud because people like Kyriacos Nicolaou, go beyond the narrow borders of our island and project our country’s intellectual achievements internationally. For this, we thank him. Rewarding people such as these in their homeland is the least we can do to honour them and to reciprocate. We are also obliged to give our thanks to the Takis and Louki Nemitsas Foundation because, through its efforts and work, it spotlights and rewards our worthy and distinguished compatriots across the globe. Such initiatives confirm the greatness and selflessness of our people and our readiness to be useful and beneficial to our country and the world.“, said President Anastasiades, among other things.
Presenting the award to Professor Kyriacos C. Nicolaou, the winner, on behalf of the Nemitsas Foundation, Marios Mavronicolas, Professor and Vice Chancellor of the University of Cyprus, spoke of a scientist who is considered as of right as one of the leading international scientists in Chemistry.
I am proud to say that he is a pioneering, talented and multi-faceted human being who, through his scientific work, brings honour to Cyprus internationally“, said Mr. Mavronicolas, stressing that Kyriacos C. Nicolaou has published more than 760 scientific contributions to leading international periodicals in his field and in prestigious first class international conference proceedings. He also holds more than 60 Patents, said the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cyprus.
Referring to the work of the winner, Mr. Mavronicolas said that Professor Kyriacos C. Nicoalou’s speciality is total synthesis of natural products with a complex structure.
As for Professor Kyriacos Nicolaous’ most representative research successes in Synthetic Chemistry, I will restrict myself, due to lack of time alone, to two, the total synthesis of anti-cancer drugs Taxol and Calicheamicin“, stated Marios Mavronicolas, who made specific reference to Taxol.
It was first extracted in 1971 from coniferous trees of the Taxus family, but its introduction as a drug in the pharmaceutical industry was delayed due to the low concentration of its natural raw material, that is to say the drug. Because of the observed potency against cancer, Taxol quickly became a promising anti-cancer agent and thus it turned into the “Apple of Discord”, with many research teams, around the world, competing to achieve its total synthesis in the laboratory. The breakthrough was made by the research team of Professor Nicolaou who achieved in publishing the total synthesis of Taxol for the first time in 1994“.
The prizewinner, Professor Kyriacos C. Nicolaou expressed his heartfelt thanks and began his speech with a reminder of his childhood years in Karavas:
Both my grandfathers were farmers, cultivating their fields to feed their families and to make a living. My father could only make a career out of building, having only attended school up to the third grade of the elementary school. He wanted me to become an architect, but I was more enchanted by the stars and the universe“, said Mr. Nicolaou.
Referring to Taxol he stressed that this is probably the most widely-used anti-cancer drug today. “Due to its very promising action as an effective anti-cancer agent, Taxol has became famous and many scientific teams of chemists all over the world were involved in the battle to complete the total synthesis in the laboratory. Finally, the successful total synthesis of Taxol was published for the first time by our team in 1994“, said the Professor, who movingly stated that he would not exchange this honour from his home country for anything.
Takis Nemitsas, the Chairman of the Foundation, gave thanks for the efforts made in supporting the Foundation and welcomed everyone, with particular reference to the Dean of Rice University, Seiichi Matsuda, who came from Houston especially for this ceremony.
The Nemitsas Foundation was created to accomplish something that was much-needed in Cyprus, a way of honouring Cypriot scientists and artists who excel in their fields all over the world. Along the way we have found that there are many of them, said Mr. Nemitsas in his speech, stressing that professor K.C. Nicolaou was distinguished globally for his enormously important research, which helped doctors all over the world to treat and cure a wide range of diseases with special emphasis on the battle against cancer. With regard to the Foundation, Mr. Nemitsas said that this year, for the first time, the monetary award had been reduced from 50.000 euros to 30.000 euros, due to the impact of the economic crisis on the Foundation. At the same time, however, he expressed the certainty that with the gradual improvement in our economy, the efforts of the Foundation would be successful. The Foundation would then be able to continue with the presentation of its annual awards in the long-term. Finally Mr. Nemitsas announced that the next annual award of the Takis and Louki Nemitsas Foundation in 2015 – the ceremony of which will once again be at the Presidential Palace – would be dedicated to the Arts and in particular to painting.


With great pleasure we announce that the International Experts’ Committee has selected Professor Kyriakos C. Nicolaou for THE NEMITSAS PRIZE 2014 in CHEMISTRY. The Foundation’s Board of Directors at its meeting on Saturday 12/7/2014, confirmed this decision unanimously, with the following reference:-

The Nemitsas Prize 2014 in Chemistry is awarded to Professor Kyriacos C. Nicolaou «For his pioneering contributions to Chemical Synthesis, resulting to molecules that changed the world; in particular, for the application of organic synthesis of natural and designed molecules of biological and medical importance to the mankind.»

Professor Kyriacos C. Nicolaou

For more information about the life and work of Professor K. C. Nicolaou click here

Costas Kalli
General Manager

Award of the Nemitsas Prize 2014 in Chemistry

We are very pleased to announce that the Office of the President of the Republic of Cyprus has determined Tuesday 7th of October 2014 as the date of the award of the Nemitsas Prize 2014 in Chemistry.
The award ceremony shall take place in the Presidential Palace, and the Prize shall be awarded by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Nicos Anastasiades.

Details will be announced shortly.


Costas Kalli
General Manager

The Nemitsas Prize 2014 in Chemistry

The deadline for the submission of Applications/nominations for the Nemitsas Prize 2014 was the 30th of April, 2014.
Upon the end of the deadline, the Foundation’s Secretariat forwarded all received applications to the International Experts’ Committee for their evaluation and the selection of the Laureate.
The whole procedure, including the validations of the selection, will have been completed by 12th July, 2014.


Costas Kalli
General Manager