Keynote Speakers

We are glad to announce the confirmation for the following keynote lectures by

Prof. Serena DeBeer

Since 2017, Prof. Dr. Serena DeBeer is director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (MPI CEC) and leads the department of Inorganic Spectroscopy. Additionally, she is group leader of the PINK Beamline (Energy Materials In-Situ Laboratory) at the Helmholtz Zentrum in Berlin.

Serena DeBeer studied Chemistry at Southwestern University and received her doctoral degree at the Stanford University in 2002. She then worked as beamline scientist (2001-2003) and later as staff scientist (2003-2009) at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory). In 2009, she became Assistant Professor at the Cornell University. Three years later, she moved to Germany and started her work as research W2 professor and research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Bioinorganic Chemistry in Mülheim an der Ruhr (today MPI CEC) until 2017. Currently, she holds associate and honorary professorships at the Cornell University (since 2012) and the Ruhr University Bochum (since 2014), respectively.

Her research focuses on the development and application of advanced X-ray spectroscopy to investigate fundamental processes in biological and chemical catalysis.



Prof. Lutz H. Gade

Lutz H. Gade holds a chair of inorganic chemistry at the University of Heidelberg and is a director of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry. After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Bonn and the Technische Universität München, he went to Cambridge (United Kingdom) to work for his Ph.D. with Jack Lewis. After defending his doctoral thesis in 1991, he joined the Chemistry Department at the University of Würzburg, were he completed his habilitation in 1996 and where he subsequently worked as a lecturer. In 1998 he moved to the Université Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg, France) to take up a full professorship in inorganic chemistry and to become the Head of the Laboratory of Organometallic Chemistry and Catalysis. He moved to his present position in Heidelberg in October 2003 where he has also been Dean of the Faculty.

His research interests are centered around molecular catalysis and N-heteropolycycles as functional materials. For both he has acted as chairman of two collaborative research centre (SFB 623 and SFB 1249).


Prof. Dr. Clare Grey

Clare P. Grey studied Chemistry at the University of Oxford where she received her doctorate in 1991 under the supervision of Prof. A. K. Cheetham. Following her postdoctoral position at the University of Nijmegen, she worked as visiting scientist at DuPont Central Research and Development. After two years at DuPont she became Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, later Associate Professor (1997-2000), Professor (2001-2015) and adjunct Professor (since 2015). In 2009, she was appointed as Geoffrey Moorhouse Gibson Professor in Materials Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and as director (2009-2011) and associate director (2011-2015) of the Northeastern Chemical Energy Storage Center at Stony Brook University. She is a Fellow of Pembroke College Cambridge (since 2011) and of the Royal Society and currently the director of the Centre of Advanced Materials for Integrated Energy Systems (CAM-IES).

Her research focuses on the development, application and combination of different techniques (including solid state NMR and diffraction) to determine the local structure of technologically important materials and their role in improving physical properties.


Prof. Atsushi Urakawa

Atsushi Urakawa currently holds a professorship for Catalysis Engineering at Delft University of Technology. He obtained his BSc degree (with one year stay in the USA) in Applied Chemistry at Kyushu University (Japan) and he studied Chemical Engineering at Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) for his MSc degree. In 2006, he obtained his PhD from ETH Zurich (Switzerland) where he worked as Senior Scientist and Lecturer until he joined ICIQ as Group Leader in Spain in 2010. In 2019, he undertook a new challenge as Professor of Catalysis Engineering at Delft University of Technology. His research team combines fundamental and applied research and focuses on the rational development of heterogeneous catalysts and processes aided by in situ and operando methodologies.


Invited Speakers

Prof. Matthias Bauer

Matthias Bauer holds a full professorship at the University of Paderborn and in the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry. After completing his undergraduate studies at the Universities of Stuttgart, Berlin and Edinburgh, he worked on his Ph.D in Stuttgart with Prof. Bertagnolli. During his postdoctoral studies he also worked at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble. In 2010 he became Head of division for “Modern spectroscopic methods” at KIT (Karlsruhe). In 2011 he moved to the Technical University of Kaiserslautern as a Carl-Zeiss assistant professor, before joining the University of Paderborn in 2013.

His research interests combine sustainable chemistry like CO2 reduction or water splitting with Photochemistry and Synchrotron spectroscopy.


Prof. Guido Clever

Guido Clever holds a full professorship for Bioinorganic Chemistry at the Technical University of Dortmund. After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Heidelberg, he worked on his Ph.D in the group of Prof. T. Carell until 2006. Afterwards, he moved for a postdoc position to the University of Tokyo, where he became Project Assistant Professor in 2009. In 2010 he started a Jun.-Prof. position at the Georg-August-University Göttingen. After a promotion to a W2 professorship, he joined the TU Dortmund as W3 Prof. in 2015. He was awarded an ERC Consolidator grant exploring the “Rational Assembly of Multifunctional Stimuli-Responsive Encapsulation Structures” (RAMSES).

His research interests focus on designing, constructing and analysing complex artificial devices and aggregates on a molecular scale, which are inspired by biological systems.


Prof. Christian Hess

Prof. Christian Hess holds a professorship at Technische Universität Darmstadt since 2008. During his chemistry studies, he did undergraduate research at University of Cambridge, UK,  and completed his Ph.D. at the Fritz-Haber-Institut in Berlin in 2001. After his work as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Texas A&M University and UC Berkeley in USA between 2001 and 2003, he was Emmy Noether Group Leader at the Fritz-Haber-Institut in Berlin between 2004 and 2008.

Currently, his research group at Technische Universität Darmstadt is working on understanding the mode of operation of catalysts, gas sensors and batteries at a molecular level. Novel spectroscopic approaches are developed and applied to the characterization of materials under working conditions (operando approach). Relations between (defect) structure and activity are studied by combining a variety of spectroscopic techniques. Controlled synthesis as well as nanoscale structuring using atomic-layer deposition enable the design of surfaces for applications in catalysis and alternative energy.

Dr. Stephan Andreas Schunk

Dr. Stephan Andreas Schunk holds the position of an Executive Expert/Vice President within BASF SE and hte GmbH and is one of the founding members of hte GmbH. He studied chemistry at Mainz and Frankfurt University and holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Frankfurt. He has over 20 years of experience in heterogeneous and homogeneous catalyst R&D. Stephan also teaches on a regular basis in his role as Lecturer at the Department of Technical Chemistry of the University Leipzig.

For outstanding contributions to the field of catalysis he received the Jochen Block award in 2000, the Science Prize of the Max-Planck Society in 2001 and was awarded by the WCOC in Sapporo 2005 for his work in gas phase partial oxidation catalysis. In 2019 Lindes DryRef © Process and BASF´s Synspire © Catalyst Generation have been awarded with the ICIS Innovation Award – Stephan has been intensively involved here in catalyst and process development.

His fields of research are partial oxidation in gas and liquid phase, syngas production and conversion, use of renewables, and the development of alternative concepts for materials synthesis to foster new approaches in heterogeneous catalysis. Stephan has a special interest in advancing research and development through digitalization and has contributed to the foundation of NFDI4Cat, the digitalization initiative of the German Catalysis Society.


Dr. Eckhard Bill

Eckhard Bill received his doctorate from the Saarland University, Saarbrücken in 1985. He then worked as scientist at the University of Lübeck (1985-1994). Since 1995, Eckhard Bill joined the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion and is senior scientist and group leader.

His research focuses on advanced Mössbauer Spectroscopy in combination with other spectroscopic techniques and quantum chemical calculations to understand the molecular paramagnetism in transition metal complexes.

Dr. George E. Cutsail III

George Cutsail studied Chemistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and received his Ph.D. at the Northwestern University in 2014. He then moved to Germany and accepted a postdoctoral position at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (2015-2019). Currently George is a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion and the University Duisburg-Essen.

His research focuses on advanced Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy and other advanced spectroscopic techniques to determine electronic and structural properties of (bio)inorganic systems.


Dr. Alexander Schnegg

Alexander Schnegg earned his diploma and his doctorate in physics at the Free University of Berlin. In 2004 he started to work as postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute or Bioinorganic Chemistry (since 2012 Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, MPI CEC). Following his postdoctoral position at the Helmholtz Center Berlin for Materials and Energy (HZB) from 2006 to 2013, he became staff scientist in the EPR laboratory of the HZB. In 2016, Alexander Schnegg has been appointed as an adjunct professor at the Monash University, Melbourne and is currently research group leader of the EPR group at the MPI CEC.

His research group develops and applies advanced electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques to monitor and characterize paramagnetic states of catalytically active transition metal ion complexes and proteins, which are relevant to energy conversion and storage processes.