Matthias Wessling Receives 2019 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize


The membrane technology expert from the RWTH Chair of Chemical Process Engineering is one of the six researchers that were awarded the prestigious Leibniz Prize on March 13, 2019, in Berlin.

  Professor Matthias Wessling Copyright: © Peter Winandy

According to the German Research Foundation, Wessling is one of the leading experts in the field of membrane technology and polymer research worldwide. He receives this recognition for his groundbreaking work on the description, understanding, and synthesis of semi-permeable membranes, that is synthetic membranes which are selectively permeable.

Membranes are thin layers of material which are capable of separating molecules, for example. They are used in a broad range of industrial processes, such as desalination, waste water and exhaust treatment processes. Moreover, they are important components of fuel cells and high-performance batteries.

Wessling’s research made it possible for the first time to precisely adjust various membrane functions as well as analyze and understand the underlying mechanisms of action. His research has formed the basis for many industrial and medical engineering applications, such as dialysis treatment. In his current research, Wessling seeks to bridge the divide between the worlds synthetic and biological membranes.

Matthias Wessling studied chemical engineering in Dortmund and Cincinatti. He completed his doctorate at the University of Twente, where he was appointed Chair of Membrane Science and Technology in 2000. In 2010, he was appointed Humboldt Professor at the Chair of Chemical Process Engineering, which belongs to RWTH Aachen University’s AVT group of process engineering departments. In Aachen he has also helped expand the Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials (DWI).

The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize

The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is the most important research award in Germany. The Leibniz Program, established in 1985, aims to improve the working conditions of outstanding researchers, expand their research opportunities, relieve them of administrative tasks, and help them recruit outstanding early career researchers. A maximum of 2.5 million euros is provided per award.

For further information on the 2019 Leibniz laureates, please visit the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prizes 2019 web page provided by the German Research Foundation DFG.