Ezio Rizzardo

By September 19th, 2014


Ezio Rizzardo was born in Onigo, Province of Treviso, Italy on 26 December 1943.

He graduated with First-Class Honours in Applied Organic Chemistry from the University of NSW in 1966 and was awarded a PhD in Organic Chemistry by the University of Sydney in 1969 for his studies on the photochemistry of organic nitro compounds with John Pinhey.

He joined David Solomon‘s group at CSIRO in 1976 after postdoctoral work on the synthesis of biologically active compounds with Richard Turner (Rice University, Houston, Texas), Sir Derek Barton (Research Institute for Medicine and Chemistry, Boston, Massachusetts) and Arthur Birch (Australian National University in Canberra).

At CSIRO he turned his attention to polymer science and has led research teams in the fields of Free Radical Polymerisation, Polymeric Biomaterials and Engineering Polymers, and was the inaugural Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Polymer Blends. His principal research interests are in the development of methods for understanding and controlling polymerisation processes so as to produce polymers of better-defined structure and properties.

Research highlights from the teams he has led include radical trapping with nitroxides, nitroxide mediated polymerisation, chain transfer and ring opening polymerisation by addition-fragmentation, and the RAFT process.

From 1992 to 1994, he served as Inaugural/Interim Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Polymer Blends and in 2000 was promoted to the position of CSIRO Fellow, the highest scientific position in the organisation.

Research interests

  • Kinetics and mechanisms of radical polymerization
  • Development of new methods for polymer synthesis: co-inventor of Nitroxide Mediated Polymerization (NMP) and Reversible Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT)
  • Use of RAFT for the synthesis of polymers for commercial applications including: biomedical, electrochemical, agricultural, personal care, lubricants and coatings

Honours and awards

In 2005, he was honoured by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute who named their Applied Research Award the Ezio Rizzardo Medal. Each year the Applied Research Award is named after a distinguished RACI senior applied research chemist, who most usually has been aN RACI medal winner. The name, which has to be approved by the Board, is chosen by the Adjudicating Panel of the Award.

He has received several honours and awards for his outstanding contributions to polymer chemistry the most outstanding being his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2010.


2010 Fellow of the Royal Society
2002 Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA)
2000 Fellow of CSIRO
1994 Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
1981 Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI)


2018 Companion of the Order of Australia (for eminent service to scientific technological research, and as an author and mentor)
2018 CRC for polymers and ATSE establish the Rizzardo Polymer PhD Scholarship
2015 Named in Thomson Reuters’ list of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds”
2015 Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher
2014 ATSE Clunies Ross Award for technological innovation and commercialisation
2014 Royal Society of Chemistry: Macro Group UK Medal for Outstanding Achievement
2014 Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate (with Graeme Moad and San Thang)
2011 Ranked 18th in the world’s top 100 chemists by the US information and analysis company Thompson Reuters. Published to mark the International Year of Chemistry, it is based on citation impact scores for papers published in the period 2000-2010.
2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science (with David Solomon)
2011 Named a luminary of Australian Chemistry by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI)
2009 CSIRO Award – ‘Most Highly Cited Paper’
2009 CSIRO Medal for Lifetime Achievement
2007 CSIRO Strategic Excellence Award – ‘Go for Growth’ (Team member)
2004 CRC for Polymers Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Commercialisation
2004 Named in the Bulletin magazine’s Australia’s Smart 100
2003 Victor Chang Medal and Barbara Ell Lecture
2003 RACI HG Smith Memorial Medal
2003 CSIRO Molecular Science Award for Innovation
2003 CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement (team leader) for innovation in polymer science
2003 CRC for Polymers Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Commercialisation
2003 Named in the Bulletin magazine’s Australia’s Smart 100
2001 CSIRO Most Prolific Inventor Award
2003 Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society and Polymer Science
1996 RACI Applied Research Medal for innovation through applied research
1992 CSIRO Chairman’s Medal for outstanding contributions to polymer science and technology
1992 RACI Australian Polymer Medal for outstanding achievements in polymer science
1991 Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Polymer Division Citation for leadership and world ranking research
1990 CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement (team leader) for innovative methods of preparing polymeric materials

Invitation to present named lectures

2009 Richard B Turner Memorial Lecture, Rice University (Houston, USA) – to be delivered
2005 G Stafford Whitby Memorial Lecture, the University of Akron (Akron, USA)
2004 Pedersen Lecture, DuPont Central Research (Wilmington, USA)
2004 HG Smith Memorial Lecture, (Melbourne)
2003 Barbara Ell Lecture, Victor Chang Research Institute (Sydney)
2002 The Rauscher Lecture, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (New York, USA)
2000 The Melville Lecturer, Cambridge University (UK), Durham University (UK), Imperial College (London, UK)

Membership of Organisations and Committees

2015 Member of panel that reviewed Melbourne University’s School of Chemistry
2014 Member of selection panel for the Victorian Government Postdoctoral Fellowships
2014-15 Chair of the Australian Academy of Science Chemistry Awards Committee
2013 Member of the Australian Academy of Science Chemistry Awards Committee
2011-14 Member of the Sectional Committee 3 of the Royal Society (London)
2010- Member of the IUPAC Nominating Committee
2009- Member of the Science and Industry Endowment Fund Advisory Council
2009- Member of the Science and Industry Endowment Fund Expert Panel
2009- Editorial Board, Polymer Bulletin
2005-06 International Advisory Committee/Co-organiser SML’06 International Symposium
2005 Australian Research Council Federation Fellowships Selection Committee
2004-06 Australian Research Council College of Experts
2004 Review Committee of Swinburne University Centre for Molecular Simulation (Nov 2004)
2004-05 International Advisory Board of Chemical Society Reviews
2003-05 Australian Academy of Science Fellowship Committee
2000-05 RACI Fellowship Committee
2000- Editorial Board, European Polymer Journal
1998-2002 Advisory Committee, ANU Centre for Science and Engineering of Materials
1995-2000 Council Member of the Pacific Polymer Federation
1995-2000 RACI Polymer Division International Affairs Committee
1994- Member of Technical Committee of CRC for Polymers
1994- Member of Management Committee of CRC for Polymers
1994 Editorial Board, Progress in Polymer Science
1990 – 95 Advisory Committee, Australian Journal of Chemistry
1990 Chairman Organizing Committee, 18th Australian Polymer Symposium
1989 – 90 Chairman, RACI Polymer Division
1988 Chair, Advisory Committee, Applied Chemistry, Swinburne University of Technology
1984 – 85 Chairman, RACI Victorian Polymer Group


  • Rizzardo E, 2009, Personal communication.

Further information