Researchers of our faculty are regularly lauded for their work nationally and internationally. We are particularly pleased that our young members have won many prizes and secured competitive external funding again this year. Three of our scientists have been accepted into the DFG Heisenberg Programme in a single year – an unprecedented achievement for any faculty of the University of Duisburg-Essen. The similarly competitive junior research groups awarded to Faculty members within the scope of the NanoMatFutur programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the academic returnee programme of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia underscore the great achievements of our early-career researchers. We have already talked about their work in the research highlights.

Alexander Probst, Professor of Aquatic Microbial Ecology, has been funded under the NRW academic returnee programme since 2018. He has been awarded the 2020 research prize of the Association for General and Applied Microbiology (VAAM) for his study of bacteria, archaea and viruses in Earth’s crust.

Professor Reinhard Zellner has won the Carl-Duisberg-Plakette, one of the highest distinctions of the German Chemical Society (GDCh). The board of the GDCh awards the Plakette to chemists who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to promoting chemistry and the goals of the GDCh. Professor Zellner received the prize for his extensive contributions to the Society’s Advisory Committee on Existing Chemicals (BUA) and his achievements in the fields of climate research and atmospheric chemistry.

The Polish Academy of Sciences’s committee for analytical chemistry has awarded the 2019 Professor Andrzej Waksmundzki Medal to Professor Oliver J. Schmitz for his achievements in the field of analytical separation and chromatographic techniques, in particular.

Professor Elke Sumfleth and her colleagues at the University of Duisburg-Essen have jointly received the Society of Empirical Educational Research’s (GEBF) prize for promoting interdisciplinarity in educational research. The jury highlighted that the awardees spent nearly 20 years systematically developing unique and innovative interdisciplinary structures in various projects and functions, which have significantly shaped the standards of interdisciplinary research.

The first prize of the AVRiL 2019 competition, jointly organised by the German Informatics Society’s group on VR/AR learning and the Stifterverband, went to Dr Sebastian Habig for his project ‘Augmented Reality Chemistry’, which is based at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

In 2019, Dr Holger V. Lutze received the Water Chemistry Society’s prize for his work on oxidative processes in aqueous systems. The prize is funded by the Walter-Kölle-Stiftung and only awarded every two to four years.

In 2020, Dr Kai S. Exner was awarded the biennial Joachim Walter Schultze Prize of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Elektrochemischer Forschungsinstitutionen (AGEF) for expanding the volcano concept in electrocatalysis by incorporating overvoltage and kinetic effects. The Joachim Walter Schultze Prize goes to early-career researchers who have achieved a discernible degree of academic independence through a significant contribution to an electrochemical field.

The LUKE project, an industry collaboration on purifying contaminated groundwater headed by PD Dr Ursula Telgheder, was lauded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as a model of success within the scope of the Central Innovation Programme for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (ZIM) and is recommended for the German Environmental Award.

Junior Professor Michael Giese, Jochen Niemeyer and Junior Professor Jens Voskuhl won the 2019 UDE teaching prize for their outstanding contributions to teaching and their commitment to their students. The three early-career researchers work in the field of supramolecular chemistry with their research groups. They redesigned the master’s lecture on functional supramolecular materials and delivered the new version for the first time in the 2018 summer semester. Their lecture received an ‚excellent’ result in the student-led course evaluation. Beyond lectures, the three young academics demonstrated exemplary commitment to supporting their students.

Dr Stéphane Kenmoe, post-doctoral researcher in CRC/TRR 247 (theoretical chemistry), received the 2020 Diversity Leadership Award of the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Appointment at another institution is considered particularly potent proof of high achievements in academia. In the last two years, seven members of the Faculty of Chemistry received external calls. The current spokesman of CRC/TRR 247, Professor Malte Behrens, accepted an appointment to a renowned professorship of inorganic chemistry at the University of Kiel. Endowed junior professor André Gröschel, funded by Evonik Industries, has been appointed to a professorship of physical chemistry at the University of Münster. PD Dr Bilal Gökce has been appointed to a professorship of Materials in additive manufacturing at the University of Wuppertal. Dr Holger Lutze has been appointed to a professorship for environmental analytics and pollutants at TU Darmstadt.

Professor Stephan Barcikowski received a call as Managing Director of the Institute of Technical Chemistry in conjunction with a professorship of technical chemistry at Leibniz University Hannover. Two members of our faculty, Professor Maik Walpuski and Professor Mathias Ropohl, took the first two spots on a list of potential candidates for a professorship of chemistry education at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. This high demand for our scientists underscores the excellent reputation of chemistry education at UDE. The Faculty is delighted that the University was able to match these three external calls and convince the colleagues to stay at UDE.