DuPont membrane scientist named Society of Chemical Industry America’s 2024 Gordon E Moore medalist

Caleb Funk, PhD, a lead R&D scientist at DuPont, is this year’s recipient of the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) America’s annual Gordon E Moore medal.

Caleb Funk, PhD.
Caleb Funk, PhD.

SCI established the Gordon E Moore medal to recognize early-career success in innovation, as reflected both in market impact and improvement to quality of life.

Funk will be presented with the award at Innovation Day, hosted jointly by SCI and the Science History Institute, on 9 September 2024, at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

"Through his research at DuPont, Caleb developed a new polyamide chemistry that changed multiple aspects of the traditional membrane process and applied these innovations to multiple membranes that are now commercialized,” said Roger Kearns, president and CEO of Nova Chemicals and chair of SCI America. “In dedicating his scientific career to creating new and improving existing membranes, Caleb has significantly contributed to improved recovery and better reliability in industrial wastewater. His work has direct and measurable impacts on sustainability and energy conservation and we are thrilled to recognize his achievements.”

Funk has led the technical development of multiple reverse osmosis and nanofiltration membrane breakthroughs over the last 15 years that have improved the transport properties, energy efficiency, and sustainability of membrane separations. His membrane innovations, fully realized in an expanding range of DuPont Water Solutions products, have led to improved sustainability and financial advantages for a wide array of applications.

“Caleb represents the essence of what it means to be a fearless innovator at DuPont. He has elevated the field of research in the area of nanofiltration and used it for the benefit of our customers and for the purpose of helping humanity thrive,” said Alexa Dembek, chief technology & sustainability officer at DuPont. “It is in this unique space where chemistry, innovation and sustainability intersect that Caleb excels. I’m so very proud to call Caleb a colleague and on behalf of all his teammates at DuPont, I offer him our deepest congratulations on this career milestone.”

Much of Funk’s career has been spent on membrane manufacturing process R&D, scaling up new process technologies from lab to pilot to full-scale, as well as process advancements for element fabrication. His current role includes nanofiltration membrane chemistry development and new quality control technology development for reverse osmosis membranes.

He has been recognized with several awards including the DuPont Engineering Excellence Award in 2022 and 2023 for his work solving challenges with NF membrane manufacturing and Seawater RO membrane testing. DuPont has launched a portfolio of products incorporating a number of his membrane innovations including the FilmTec Fortilife NF1000 nanofiltration membrane for industrial wastewater separations, winner of a 2023 R&D100 Award from R&D Magazine, the Edison Award-winning FilmTec LiNE-XD nanofiltration membrane for direct lithium extraction, and the FilmTec SWBR product line for seawater mineral recovery.