Understanding and Utilizing Networks in Catalysis

The aim of the UniSysCat Cluster of Excellence is to combine individual catalytic processes within an overall system

More than 85 percent of all products come into contact with a catalyst during production. Catalysis research is therefore regarded as both one of the most important research areas in chemistry and the main driver of “green chemistry”. Green chemistry focuses on sustainability and resource conservation. The UniSysCat Cluster of Excellence, proposed by Technische Universität Berlin, will play a key role in Germany, building on a decade of outstanding work undertaken by UniCat, the predecessor cluster of the Excellence Initiative

Certain individual catalytic reactions are already well understood. The challenge now is to decipher reaction networks in chemical and biological catalysis to enable their examination and simulation. Which key parameters enable and control chemocatalytic and biocatalytic networks? How can chemical and/or biological processes be combined to create catalytic systems with new functions? These are the central research questions addressed by UniSysCat.

Three key aims

UniSysCat will focus on a wide range of topics within five interdisciplinary research areas. The aim is to fundamentally understand how reactants, intermediates, and reaction products come into customized contact with the various catalysts involved. In pursuit of this goal, researchers will be able to build on a wide range of experimental and theoretical methods pursued by the predecessor cluster UniCat.

UniSysCat has set itself three essential structural goals: Firstly, sustainable support of junior scholars . Within UniSysCat, young PhD students have an opportunity to work in an outstanding research environment, such as in the further development of the previously cluster-internal Berlin International Graduate School of Natural Sciences and Engineering (BIG-NSE 2.0) within the framework of the Einstein Center for Catalysis (EC2). Targeted recruitment strategies, including internationally competitive tenure options and the Chemical Invention Factory (CIF) for the promotion of spin-offs and start-ups, help open up various career paths for young talents. The aim is to optimally prepare junior scholars for their professional careers, both in academia and beyond.

The second goal is to achieve gender equality for women in science and to increase the proportion of women in professorships and the postdoctoral qualification phase. The third area of focus is the expansion of national and international cooperation.