Research Alliance Ruhr

Top international research on pressing issues of the future - this is what the University Alliance Ruhr has been working on in four research centers and one college since 2021. The initiative of the Ruhr Conference is a testament to the Ruhr area’s transformation into a vibrant metropolis of knowledge. Unprecedented career opportunities are unfolding here and now for excellent scientists and scholars from all over the world.

Research Center Chemical Sciences and Sustainability

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The Research Center Chemical Sciences and Sustainability aims to understand chemical reactions, processes and products at the molecular level. These insights will open up technological applications in chemistry, building materials and pharmaceuticals that are innovative, environmentally friendly and economically competitive. It is essential to regard solvent molecules as active participants and not as an inert matrix in order to optimize processes in solvents such as water.

A combination of state-of-the-art spectroscopy, microscopy, computer-aided modeling and synthesis is used to improve complex (photo-)electrocatalytic and synthetic processes and to make reaction pathways more effective and sustainable. Specifically, new strategies are being developed to ensure renewable energy can be used and stored more efficiently. Using CO2 from industrial emissions to manufacture basic materials for the chemical industry is just as relevant as optimizing reaction pathways in civil engineering and in environmental sciences, in which liquid phases and processes under extreme conditions are of crucial importance. For instance, mixing additives into water determines the durability of concrete. Reactions in tiny liquid droplets, the aerosols, play a major role in atmospheric physics, making them vital to improving the predictive power of the next generation of climate models. New insights into the molecular interactions between target molecules, additives and solvents in pharmaceutical formulations will ultimately result in better life science products.

Interdisciplinary approach

The Research Center Chemical Sciences and Sustainability brings together expertise from various disciplines of the natural sciences and engineering:

  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Geochemistry
  • Civil Engineering 

Professor Gabriele Sadowski, Director:

“NRW is a chemistry hub: more than a third of the total turnover of the chemical industry in Germany is generated in NRW, and it secures 90,000 jobs. Due to the phase-out of fossil fuels, which are used for energy production and as a raw material for chemical products, the chemical industry is facing major challenges. We have to develop new chemical technologies in order to remain future-proof. In a nationwide competition, our Cluster of Excellence was chosen as one of only two to be funded in the field of chemistry.

Building on this success, we’ve already recruited a number of leading international researchers for our newly founded Research Center Chemical Sciences and Sustainability. In addition to finding alternatives to fossil fuels and reducing the CO2 footprint, its purpose is to address the question of ‘sustainable concrete’ with a fresh approach. Currently, the production of concrete accounts for 8% of CO2 emissions and 10% of industrial wastewater worldwide, and innovations are needed to lower these thresholds. Thanks to our new Research Center, we can cross borders between our three universities and boundaries between disciplines. Its flexible structure enables us to open up new, socially-relevant fields in the area of sustainability and circular economy that go far beyond traditional university structures, leading to the development of innovative, environmentally-friendly and economically-competitive technological applications in chemistry and pharmacy."

(Photo credit: S. Bierwald)

Infrastructure and collaborative projects

The Research Center Chemical Sciences and Sustainability has two research buildings with specialized equipment at its disposal, among other facilities:

A cluster of excellence and four collaborative research centers (CRC) / transregios (TR) ensure world-class cooperation across various locations:

Other academic partners

The Research Center Chemical Sciences and Sustainability maintains a strong network within the Ruhr metropolitan area and cooperates with the following partners in North Rhine-Westphalia:

The research center is successfully putting theory into practice with the help of established partners:


Contact for further information

Scientific Board Members:


Further Members:


Managing Director: 


The Research Center Chemical Sciences and Sustainability is part of the Research Alliance Ruhr.