Distinguished University Teaching Professor Philippe Bühlmann receives President's Award for Outstanding Service

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (7/1/2024) – Distinguished University Teaching Professor Philippe Bühlmann was recently honored with the President's Award for Outstanding Service, one of the University’s highest awards for exceptional service to education and community. Bühlmann is recognized for his more than two decades of commitment to serving the department, the University, and the broader chemistry community.

Since joining the Department of Chemistry in 2000, Bühlmann has cultivated a research niche in electrochemistry, with special focus in fluorous materials and host guest chemistry. His research group is interested in the use of molecular recognition for chemical sensing, developing sensors for clinical and environmental applications. Bühlmann’s wearable patch research – a collaboration between Bühlmann, Chemistry Professor Andreas Stein, and Electrical Engineering Professor Sarah Swisher – was featured in the College of Science and Engineering’s Fall 2022 Inventing Tomorrow. His group’s research has produced over 175 peer-reviewed articles.

In addition to his productive research efforts, Bühlmann has built a reputation for exceptional service to the department, the college, and the University at large. He is a passionate advocate for improving mental health resources and responses at UMN. He has worked collaboratively with Boynton Health and Chemistry administration to raise awareness of mental health issues and equip staff and faculty with training and resources to recognize signs of distress and burnout. Bühlmann is also one of the Department of Chemistry's mental health advocates, and since 2016 he has hosted annual workshops on mental health awareness. As Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) from 2012-2020, he led many departmental initiatives, including the improvement of the annual progress report, creation of the annual training of teaching assistants on the topics of stress and mental health, introduction of a 4th-year milestone, introduction of the Plan C Master's degree, and an increased use of fellowships for recruiting a more diverse student body.

Chemistry Department Head Christy Haynes writes: "Phil is a standout example of a faculty leader who invests significant energy to serve students and faculty here at UMN, both in the Department of Chemistry and beyond. He is consistently willing to take on complicated but important issues such as graduate student mental health and university policy around sexual misconduct - this is a quality that I deeply admire, and I am pleased that Phil has been recognized with a well-deserved President's Award for Outstanding Service."

In 2023, Bühlmann was awarded the American Chemical Society’s Minnesota Award “for being an international authority in the field of ion-selective electrodes and related research fields, for his outstanding work in volunteering for MN ACS, for being an outstanding research advisor, mentor, scholar and teacher AND having a positive impact on the lives of many graduate students in his own research group, in the Chemistry Department, and beyond.” The award, administered by the Minnesota Local Section of the American Chemical Society (MN ACS) is given to an outstanding researcher who has shown strong commitment and innovative work in chemistry-related fields.

Bühlmann earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in chemistry from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Before joining the Department of Chemistry in September 2000, he was a postdoctoral fellow and then staff member at the University of Tokyo. In 2009, he was a visiting professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Bühlmann joined the Department of Chemistry in 2000 and served as Director of Graduate Studies from 2012 to 2020. He was named Distinguished University Teaching Professor in 2015, 3M/Alumni Professor in 2017, and CSE Distinguished Professor in 2022. In 2019, he was named an American Chemical Society Fellow.

President's Award for Outstanding Service

The University of Minnesota President's Award for Outstanding Service was established in 1997 to recognize faculty and staff (current or retired) who have provided exceptional service to the University, its schools, colleges, departments, and service units. Such service must have gone well beyond the regular duties of a faculty or staff member, and demonstrate unusual commitment to the University community. The award is accompanied by a $1,000 stipend.