Creativity Prize - 9th Award


The team of Dr. Sherif El-Safty – National Institute for Materials Science, Japan

The work of Dr. Sherif El-Safty and his team pertains to the development of a unique nano-porous filter medium, which is prepared by wet-dry processing with various hierarchal configurations (pellets, tubes, rods, strips, combs and sponge membranes) so that a chemical scavenger is immobilized to achieve a dual detection/chemical sorption process for decontamination during water filtration. This can be applied to virtually any water pollution problems, including the elimination of chemicals, pesticides, pathogens, and radioactive substances. This nano-captor membrane can be applied as a detector/sensor to provide a visual warning of hazards and radioactive species in permeate. His monolithic medium enhances selective monitoring and removal, and provides energy-efficient high volume filtration without applying any pressure, so that hazards can be removed from the water while healthy minerals are retained.

Winner Profile

Dr. Sherif El-Safty

Dr. El-Safty is Managing Researcher of the National Institute for Materials Science, Japan, and Visiting Professor of Nanomaterials at the Faculty of Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, University of Sunderland, UK.


• 2000 – Ph.D; Tanta University, Egypt (Inorganic and Physical Chemistry)

Selected Awards:

2017– Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC)
2013 – Creativity Award, Arab Thought Foundation (Synthetic Nanomaterials)
2007– JSPS Invitational Fellow Award, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
2001– JSPS Fellow Award, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
1997– Doctoral Fellow, Ministry of Higher Education, Egypt



Acceptance Speech

safty300x300Your Excellencies, members of the council, ladies and gentlemen

It is an enormous honour to be awarded 2020 Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water in the category of the Creativity Prize. I am earnestly grateful for the recognition I have received for our work in addressing and raising awareness about many of the critical water safety issues that the world is facing today. This award has humbled me to further reflect on my work. I will keep contributing to create a truly sustainable society in which everyone has access to sanitary facilities in the time that global warming and natural disasters are becoming more and more serious now and in the near future.

I’m deeply grateful for this prestigious award which has become the mark of our research achievement on nanotechnology for environment, especially “the access to safe drinking water”. I have developed a family of nanomaterials for various utilization purposes to help worldwide communities, particularly to treat the water crisis, and to produce green energy, and to improve the healthcare. However, the water purification has been my most important research theme “science-for-life”.

The development of a unique nano-porous sponge filter medium in large scale manufacturing processes (tons/h) for various materials required structural control of materials at nano-scales. And the biggest challenge for us was to maintain cost-effectiveness, simplicity, and environmentally friendly process to meet the market needs in the access of safe drinking water for households. The nano- filter medium is prepared by simple wet-dry cooking process, leading to control various chemical scavengers in shape configurations (pellets, tubes, rods, strips, combs and sponge membranes).

This nano-sponge membrane can be applied to virtually any water pollution problems, including the elimination of chemicals, pesticides, pathogens, and radioactive substances in one step during water filtration. This nano-filter membrane can be applied as a detector or sensor to provide a visual warning of hazardous and radioactive species, or radioactive adsorbent. It can also remove all hazards selectively from the water while healthy minerals are retained. Our technology has been dedicated to clean up the radioactive water contaminates for Fukushima victims due to Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, Japan in 2011. The disastrous event followed by the strong earthquake and subsequent tsunami and enabled releasing massive amounts of very dangerous radioactive substances to water. It was great motivation that led us detecting and removing radioactive elements in any water sources at a victim region.

Being a Japanese living in Japan more than 20 years, I feel winning this award could never have without my origin. I’m from Egypt, where I received the continuous love and support from my families, brothers, seniors and colleagues, for whom I have the deepest respect, and from whom I have derived the strength to challenge myself and achieve goals at each stage by Grace of Allah.

I have faced many challenges, but each one of them has strengthened to make me the person I am today; a scientist who pursues passion to make the world a better place; someone who sets eyes on a goal and does not lose sight of it, unless it is achieved, Alhamd to Allah.

To conclude my speech, first and foremost, I would like to thank the Prize Organization, the judges, for encouragement and recognition of our work. I also would like to thank my organization, National Institute for Materials Science in Japan, for nominating me. Without their caring support, the success of our research would not have been possible. Last but not least, I sincerely thank the members of my team who have worked with me, and my family for their love and support. They helped me to reach a stage where I have tremendous honour to receive this award.

As you all know very well, humanity is facing a water crisis, with the inspiration of the founder of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, we shall go forward.

Once again, I am very grateful for this incredible honour, and I will be happy to see our contribution in good use improving the people’s live in need.

Thank you very much.

Winning Work

[1] Sherif A. El-Safty, A. Shahat, K. Halada, M. A. Shenashen, A. Abouelmagad, H. Yamaguchi, "Nanostrcuture Material Supporting Arsenic Ion Adsorption Compound and Method to Remove Arsenic lon Using the Same", Patent, US0009187343B2, 2015.

[2] H.G. Gomaa, H. Khalifa, M. Selim, M. A. Shenashen, S. Kawada, A.S. Alamoudi, A. Azzam, A. Alhamid, Sherif. A. El-Safty, "Selective, photo-enhanced trapping/detrapping of arsenate anions using mesoporous blobfish head TiO2 monoliths". ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 5 (2017) 10826-10839.

[3] H. Gomaa, Mohamed A. Shenashen, Hitoshi Yamaguchi, Ahmad S. Alamoudi, Mohamed Abdelmottaleb, Mohamed F. Cheira, Tarek A. Seaf El-Naser, Sherif. A. ElSafty. "Highly-efficient removal of As(V), Pb2+, Fe3+, and Al3+ pollutants from water using hierarchical, microscopic TiO2 and TiOF2 adsorbents through batch and fixedbed columnar techniques". Journal of Cleaner Production, 182 (2018) 910-925.

[4] W. Warkocki, Sherif A. El-Safty, M.A. Shenashen, E. Elshehy, H. Yamaguchi, N. Akhtar, "Photo-induced recovery, optical detection, and separation of noxious SeO3 2-using a mesoporous nanotube hybrid membrane." Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 3 (2015) 17578-17589.

[5] Sherif A. El-Safty, Masaru Sakai, Mahmoud Selim, Awatif A Hendi. "Mesosponge Optical Sinks for Multifunctional Mercury lon-Assessment and Recovery from Water Sources". ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 7 (2015) 13217-13231.

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