Vincent Baeten, a visiting professor at UCLouvain, received the prestigious Tomas Hirschfeld Award from the International Council for Near Infrared Spectroscopy (ICNIRS) during a ceremony organised by China on 21 October as part of the 20th ICNIRS conference. The award recognises his work and career in the field of near infrared spectroscopy, a technique that allows rapid, non-destructive and simultaneous determination of the major organic constituents of products, particularly foodstuffs.
Prof. Baeten teaches infrared spectroscopy to bioengineering students at UCLouvain. This is where he started his career in this field of research, under the supervision of Prof. Marc Meurens, whose infrared spectrometry laboratory made him a pioneer in the field. After his PhD, Prof. Baeten joined Pierre Dardenne’s team at the Walloon Agricultural Research Centre (CRA-W) and currently heads the Product Quality and Authentication Unit. The unit aims to develop, validate and apply knowledge, analytical methods and innovative and sustainable tools to ensure the product quality and authentication.
The collaboration between UCLouvain and CRA-W took a particular turn when Prof. Baeten left UCLouvain to take up a statutory position within CRA-W. Since 1999, numerous joint studies with Profs Yvan Larondelle and Cathy Debier have been carried out on subjects as diverse as the authentication of olive oils, the characterisation of milk fat, and the detection of adulteration in animal feed, the characterisation of polyphenols, the analysis of feed refusals from laying hens, the monitoring of oil oxidation, and more recently the analysis of plastic residues in the stomachs of seabirds and the analysis of egg yolks enriched with bioactive fatty acids.
The Tomas Hirschfeld Award is a recognition of an innovative and/or important scientific contribution to NIR spectroscopy. It’s awarded on the basis of research excellence by an internationally renowned scientist.