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Scientific Kick-Off

[17.04.2024] The University of Duisburg-Essen marked the start of the new ACTIVE SITES research center with a scientific kick-off event. Prof. Dr. Astrid Westendorf, Vice-Rector for Research at UDE, opened the program with a welcoming address. She emphasized that ACTIVE SITES is an important milestone for top international research at the University of Duisburg-Essen and also plays an important role in the water excellence cluster application REASONS.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stephan Barcikowski, spokesperson for ACTIVE SITES, began by summarizing the objectives of the research center and presenting the disciplines involved, which use their combined expertise to investigate the processes at the active centers of ultrafast and dynamic chemical reactions in their respective functional environment. In a series of presentations, the challenges and opportunities of the different research areas Preparation, Operando and Ambience were discussed. Read more

Two-day kick-off meetingCollaboration with Berkeley Lab

[Berkeley, 29.02.2024] In a two-day kick-off meeting at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) collaboration in the areas of genomics, structural biology, bioimaging and water research were intensified. The meeting was attended by key representatives from the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI), the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division and the Energy Storage & Distributed Resources Division of Berkeley Lab. Nine UDE scientists traveled to San Francisco Bay as representatives of ACTIVE SITES (ASC), the Center for Water and Environmental Research (ZWU) and the One Health Ruhr (OHR) research center. Read more about the LBNL-Visit.

Participants included Alexander Probst, Stephan Barcikowski, Lydia Didt, Anzhela Galstyan, Shirley Knauer, Beate Krok, Oliver J. Schmitz, and Kathrin Thedieck from UDE, alongside Nigel Mouncey, Hoi-Ying Holman and Tanja Woyke, Lauren Belisario, Greg Hura, Jan Kern, Nikos Kyrpides, Trent Northen, Robert Kostecki, Susan Tsutakawa, Junko Yano, and Petrus Zwart from Berkeley Lab.

International collaboration Visit of the Bioscience Division at NASA Ames Research Center

[23.02.2024] Our multidisciplinary UDE delegation with members of the research centers ACTIVE SITES, ZWU and One Health met with Parag Vaishampayan and his team of the Space Biosciences Division at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley. Together we held a one-day workshop to explore potential research collaborations for the development of methods in the fields of nanoscience, biology and water research. The presentations and lab tour gave us a closer look at NASA's cutting-edge programs, like the Space Biology Program, the Human Research Program, and the Open Science Program OSDR. Numerous scientific topics and synergies for potential future project collaborations were identified.


Funding of the research project "Natural Water to H2" for sustainable hydrogen production

[20.10.2023] NRW Science Minister Ina Brandes presented a three-million-euro grant to ACTIVE SITES vice speaker Corina Andronescu for the "Natural Water to H2" project. Within this research project, the University of Duisburg-Essen aims to achieve a breakthrough for more sustainability in hydrogen production. The Ministry of Culture and Science is funding the project as part of NRW's ´Profilbildung 2022´with three million euros for three years. In the long term, the new research profile will be located at the new ACTIVE SITES research building.

In the new research project "Natural Water to H2" the research fields of "water research" and "hydrogen" are being brought together at the UDE. 14 research groups of the UDE and 22 associated partners from academia and industry will work together to increase the sustainability of hydrogen production through anion exchange membrane (AEM) water electrolysis. For the first time, a fundamental understanding is to be gained of how water quality, electrodes and membranes influence each other. Using organic and inorganic lead substances, it will be quantified how or to what extent water needs to be purified before and during electrolysis. ​The projects involved cover multiple disciplines including water electrolysis, electrocatalysis, water technology and purification, membrane technology, nanomaterial synthesis, surface science and theoretical chemistry.  UDE Press release

©Maksim Sokolov

Important contributions to the identification of active sites and reaction mechanisms for electrochemical reactionsKai Exner receives Nernst-Haber-Bodenstein Prize

[09.06.2023] The German Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry awarded the prestigious Nernst-Haber-Bodenstein Prize 2023 to Kai Exner. The prize recognizes his outstanding scientific achievements in the theoretical description of electrocatalytic processes at electrified solid/liquid interfaces, in particular his contributions to the understanding of trends using volcano curves. Read more on CENIDE news.


Recent Publication in Water Research - Microorganisms ward off parasitesPotential new function of CRISPR-Cas system discovered

[28.07.2023] Microorganisms use the CRISPR-Cas system to fight viral attacks. In genetic engineering, the microbial immune system is used for the targeted modification of the genetic make-up. Under the leadership of Professor Dr. Alexander Probst, microbiologist at the Research Center One Health Ruhr at the Research Alliance Ruhr a research team has now discovered another function of this specialised genomic sequence: archaea – microorganisms that are often very similar to bacteria in appearance – also use them to fight parasites. The team has now published its findings in Nature Microbiology. Read the full press release here.


New theoretical approach addresses the oxygen evolution reaction (OER)

The latest publication of ACTIVE SITES member Kai Exner addresses the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), a process of high relevance due to its application in electrolyzers for hydrogen production or metal–air batteries for energyconversion and storage. Until now, the application of electronic structure theory to improve OER materials has been based on a supposed single reaction mechanism. Kai Exner was able to show that, especially in the case of highly active OER catalysts, several reaction mechanisms take place depending on the applied electrode potential, with the favored reaction pathway changing with increasing overvoltage. The theoretical approach presented can also be applied to other electrocatalytic processes. View  article , view UDE press release.

In the picture: In January, Prof. Kai S. Exner (right), was appointed to the Board of the Electrochemistry Division of the German Chemical Society (GDCh).

© Bettina Engel-Albustin, Fotoagentur Ruhr moers

Awarded by the German Chemical Society (GDCh)Kai Exner receives Carl Duisberg Memorial Prize

[23.03.2023] Kai Exner was awarded the prestigious Carl Duisberg Memorial Prize of the German Chemical Society (GDCh) during the Chemistry Lecturers' Conference at the Technical University of Dresden. The GDCh honours Kai Exner for his outstanding conceptual contributions in the highly topical and competitive fields of theoretical electrocatalysis and battery research. The prize is endowed with 7500 euros and has been awarded since 1936 to young university teachers who work at a German university or as Germans at a foreign university, do not yet hold a W2/W3 or comparable position and have not yet exceeded the age of 40. Congratulations on the award!


Jochen-Block-Preis 2023 for Corina Andronescu

[16.03.2023] The Jochen-Block-Preis 2023 of the German Catalysis Society was awarded to Corina Andronescu at the German Catalysis Meeting in Weimar. The award recognises Corina Andronescu`s significant contributions to method development for the stable immobilisation of catalysts on electrodes for energy conversion and storage. Congratulations!


UA RuhrFirst One Health Ruhr-Professorship for Alexander Probst

[10.11.2022] The RC One Health Ruhr is one of four research centres in which the UA Ruhr of the universities of Bochum, Dortmund and Duisburg-Essen organises its cutting-edge research on urgent issues in an international and interdisciplinary way. Our colleague Alexander Probst is the first research professor at One Health Ruhr. Congratulations!

Read more: UDE Press Release


Award for Corina AndronescuGottschalk-Diederich-Baedeker-Prize

[02.11.2022] Corina Andronescu has been awarded the Gottschalk-Diederich-Baedeker Prize for Young Scientists for her research on electrocatalytic materials and their sustainable use in water electrolysis or CO2 reduction. This prize is awarded by the Essen-based G.D. Baedeker Foundation to scientists who bring their outstanding research to industry. With the prize, the foundation wants to make the benefits of UDE research visible for the Ruhr metropolitan region.

Read more: UDE Press Release, WAZ report

Research building approvedNew methods for top-level research

Funding for the new ACTIVE SITES research building has been secured: Following the Science Council, the Joint Science Conference (GWK) has now also given green light for the new 70-million-euro building. The costs are shared by the federal and state governments and the UDE. With ACTIVE SITES the UDE gains a centre of international renown at which so-called active sites are researched in an aqueous environment. These have an important role in chemical and biological processes, such as energy conversion, water purification and active subtances development. Starting 2026, scientists from various disciplines will conduct research together in state-of-the-art laboratories. Read more