Heh-Won Chang, PhD Fellowship in Green Chemistry

Fellowship at a Glance

Recipient Student
Category Green Chemistry,  Research
Amount$5,000 (Graduate students are eligible; open to U.S. & International applicants)
DeadlineNovember 15, 2024


The Heh-Won Chang, Ph.D. Fellowships provide financial support to full-time graduate students conducting research in green chemistry and/or engineering.


The Heh-Won Chang Fellowship was established in 2019 in honor of composites research expert, Dr. Heh-Won Chang. Fellowship funds may be used for any purpose (e.g., conference travel, professional development, and/or living expenses) while the recipients are in graduate school. Heh-Won Chang, Ph.D. Fellowship awardees receive a one-time (non-renewable) payment of $5,000. Two fellowship winners are selected annually.


Full-time graduate students (U.S. or international) are eligible to apply for this award. Applicants must demonstrate the relevance of their research to green chemistry and/or engineering (see below, under “Award Scope and Objectives”) and have at least one full year of study remaining in their graduate program from the time of the expected award. (For example, students applying for the 2025 Fellowship should intend to continue research at least through the end of the 2025-26 academic year.)

Conference Participation

Fellowship winners are responsible for meeting the abstract deadline date for the annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference where the awards symposium and ceremony will be held. Winners should be prepared to give an oral or poster presentation relevant to their graduate research. In addition, after the conclusion of the conference, all winners are required to submit a brief report that summarizes their conference experience.


The deadline for the 2025 Heh-Won Chang, Ph.D. Fellowship in Green Chemistry is 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT-5) on November 15, 2024.

Award Scope and Objectives

Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry encompasses all aspects and types of chemical processes, including synthesis, catalysis, analysis, monitoring, and separations, and reaction conditions that reduce impacts on human health and the environment relative to the current state of the art. Research being conducted by students applying for the Chang Fellowship must address one of the following focus areas:

1. The use of greener synthetic pathways. This focus area involves designing and implementing novel, greener pathway(s) for the synthesis of a chemical product. Examples include synthetic pathways that:

  • Use feedstocks that are of lower inherent hazard to humans or the environment, and/or that are renewable (e.g., biomass, natural oils).
  • Use novel reagents or catalysts, especially those that use earth-abundant metals, organocatalysts, biocatalysts, and microorganisms. Catalytic systems that contain precious metals (e.g., Pt, Pd, Ru, Rh, Ag, Os, Ir, Au) at concentrations greater than 10 ppm are strongly discouraged unless they are heterogeneous and greater than 95% recyclable.
  • Are natural processes, such as fermentation or use biomimetic processes.
  • Are mass and energy efficient and show economy of process (number of steps, separations, purifications, etc.).

2. The use of greener reaction conditions. This focus area involves improving conditions other than the overall design or redesign of a synthetic pathway. Greener analytical methods often fall within this focus area. Examples include reaction conditions that:

  • Replace hazardous chemicals (starting materials, reagents, etc.) and solvents with alternatives that have a lower impact on human health and the environment.
  • Use solventless reaction conditions and solid-state reactions.
  • Use novel processing methods that prevent pollution at its source.
  • Eliminate energy- or material-intensive separation and purification steps.
  • Improve energy efficiency, including reactions running closer to ambient conditions (temperature and pressure).

3. The design of greener chemicals. This focus area involves designing and implementing chemical products that are less hazardous than the products or technologies they replace. Examples include chemical products that are:

  • Less hazardous (environmental, health and safety) than current products.
  • Inherently safer with regard to accident potential.
  • Recyclable or biodegradable after use.
  • Safer for the environment (e.g., do not deplete ozone or form smog).

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted starting September 1, 2024. Applicants must be summited through the ACS Green Chemistry Institute application portal. To use the portal, you will need to have or create a free ACS ID.

Please Note: Applicants may not apply for multiple Green Chemistry awards during a given year; only one application per person is allowed. Please be certain that you meet the requirements for the Heh-Won Chang, Ph.D. Fellowship before applying and do not submit applications for other awards (Breen, CIBA, McClelland, Hancock) administered by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute.

Be prepared to submit the following information: 

  • Name and contact information,
  • Name of applicant's faculty advisor and contact information,
  • Academic information including institution, department or field of study, degree expected, projected date of degree completion, green chemistry research interests, and career plans,
  • A description of the applicant’s research in green chemistry or engineering, addressing one or more of the focus areas described in the “Award scope and objectives” section. This description should include a title and abstract of the research. Where applicable, applicants should specifically address the potential human health and/or environmental benefits of the research, as well as the innovation and scientific merit of the project. A discussion of impacts across the lifecycle should be included if such data are available. (5 page maximum)
  • A curriculum vitae or résumé no more than two pages in length (Word or PDF file). Make sure to include: 
    • Field of study, degrees (including month and year earned or expected), education experience, including GPA or another measure of class standing, and work experience (if any).
    • List of recent presentations and publications (if any).
  • Letter of nomination from the applicant's faculty advisor, supervisor, or department chair (Word or PDF file no more than two pages in length). The applicant will send their advisor a link to directly upload the letter into the portal.
  • Brief statement of financial need for travel support from the applicant’s advisor, supervisor, or department chair (Word or PDF file not exceeding one page). The applicant will send their advisor a link to directly upload the statement into the portal.

Judging Process

An independent panel of experts selected by the ACS GCI will judge the applications. This panel may include members of the scientific, educational, industrial, government, and environmental communities. The judging panel may request verification of any activities described or claims made in applications that are selected as finalists. The judges will select the students whose projects best meet the selection criteria for the award.


The ACS Green Chemistry Institute will notify applicants of award acceptance on or before January 24, 2025. The ACS will transfer the award via direct deposit upon acceptance of the fellowship and submission of relevant paperwork.


ACS Green Chemistry Institute®

Contact Information

Email gci@acs.org 


The Heh-Won Chang Fellowship was established in 2019 in honor of composites research expert, Dr. Heh-Won Chang. Born in 1939, Heh-Won Chang earned a B.S. in chemistry at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, in 1961. He then moved to the U.S. to earn an M.S. in 1969 and a Ph.D. in 1971, both in physical chemistry from Kansas State University.

After serving as an instructor and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Rochester and the University of Toronto, he joined Bendix Research Laboratories in Southfield, Michigan, conducting research on carbon-carbon composites for aircraft brakes. In 1980, he transferred to the Bendix Advanced Technology Center in Columbia, Maryland, researching the physical properties of polymers and continuous fiber composites. For the last ten years of his career, Chang was a manager for Allied-Signal’s Spectra composite business. He and his team developed more than 50 applications for customers across 15 countries.

Chang is credited with numerous papers in publications including the Journal of the American Chemical Society and the Journal of Chemical Physics, and he presented his research at many industry conferences.

He died in 1994, but his memory lives on in the green chemistry award bearing his name, the Heh-Won Chang, PhD Fellowship in Green Chemistry, which was established in 2019 by his wife, Cecilia P. Chang.

Past Recipients


Georgia Douglas, University of Victoria
Research: Chitosan-based hydrogels for arsenic detection in drinking water

David Kenney, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Research: Sustainably maximizing carbon throughput from post-consumer municipal solid waste


Elanna NeppelMichigan State University
Research: Zero to Hero: Zero-Valued Plastic Waste Upcycled into Kevlar®

Ming-en FeiWashington State University
Research: Modifications of epoxy vitrimer systems and their applications


Jianan GaoNew Jersey Institute of Technology
Research Focus: Electrified membrane flow-cell technology for more sustainable water filtration and the upcycling of nitrate removed to valuable commodity chemicals.

Cristián Pacheco WorochStanford University
Research Focus: Sustainable performance-advantaged polyamides sourced from lignocellulose and CO2.


Gabriela GasteluNational University of Córdoba, Argentina
Research Focus: Design of new synthetic strategies for the utilization of captured CO2 to make organocatalysts that assist in the transformation of CO2 into C1 building blocks.

Tessa MyrenUniversity of Colorado, Boulder
Research Focus: Greener and safer closed-loop recycling of CO2 and plastics using electrochemistry, mild conditions and earth-abundant electrocatalysts to break down polymers into CO and building material (carbonate).


Heather LeClercWorcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA
Research Focus: Hydrothermal liquefaction to produce bio-crude from municipal food waste.

Nakisha MarkUniversity of the West Indies, Trinidad
Research Focus: The conversion of furfural into biofuels using nanocatalysts comprised of earth-abundant metals.

Related Opportunities

  • Teaching Green Fellowship This award will be given to a pedagogical innovator who has reimagined one or more parts of the chemistry curriculum to better prepare students for future careers in which they can work toward addressing grand global challenges such as those addressed by the U.N. SDGs. The award will consist of a certificate, $10,000 dedicated to faculty summer salary, $5,000 for summer stipend(s) for student(s) working in conjunction with faculty on greener curriculum materials, and travel support for the awardee and one student (up to $1,000 each) to attend the annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference to receive the award and present their work.

  • The Jonathan L. Sessler Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Bioinorganic and Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry Recognizing emerging leaders in bioinorganic and medicinal inorganic chemistry.

  • ACS International Research Experience for Students (IRES) Program Enabling talented young chemical and materials scientists to spend a summer conducting research in another country.

  • Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship Supporting the participation of a young international green chemistry scholar in a green chemistry technical meeting, conference, or training program.