We create new chemical value chains based on sustainable resources
Our strategy is rooted in fundamental catalyst design
Digitalization sets the foundation for accelerating technological development
Advanced tools to prepare and characterize catalysts and their performance in depth guide chemical discovery
Process implementation secures the translation of discoveries into competitive plant-ready technologies with tangible benefits to society
We will equip the next generation of chemists and engineers to tackle the grand challenges of society

Our challenge

Chemistry is an enabling foundation of modern society, directly contributing to economic growth and life quality. Switzerland’s chemical companies are among the world’s most successful, and the country has a long tradition of chemical research. But to preserve its leading position, the industry will need some vital prerequisites. It must adapt to face the grand societal challenges of the 21st century, such as the transition towards a carbon-neutral society, meeting the food and healthcare demands of a growing population, and safeguarding clean air, water, and soil. To succeed in this goal, it must learn to exploit the unique opportunities offered by advances in catalysis and digitalization to strengthen its capacity for continued innovation. Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, NCCR Catalysis will develop a framework that enables the creation of sustainable chemical value chains by accelerating the discovery and time-to-market of catalytic processes that enable the flexible production of customizable products from renewable feedstocks.
Javier Pérez-Ramírez
ETHZ, director

Jérôme Waser
EPFL, co-director

Our approach

Our strategy is rooted in fundamental catalyst design and tackles the identification of atom- and energy-efficient routes for the conversion of small molecules (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane, water, or nitrogen) to energy carriers and platform chemicals and for the subsequent transformation of these building blocks into societally relevant compounds, like fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and functional materials.
To achieve the fundamental understanding of relevant phenomena at length and time scales spanning ten orders of magnitude - from the atom to the full-scale process - NCCR Catalysis combines multidimensional and cross-disciplinary modes, including catalysis, chemistry, materials science, chemical and process engineering, and computer sciences with translational approaches in research, education, and society. Our approach embraces three enabling pillars:
  • Advanced tools including novel synthetic routes, high throughput experimentation, and multidimensional operando techniques to prepare and characterize catalysts and their performance in depth guide chemical discovery.
  • Digitalization sets the foundations for accelerating experimental and computational approaches to derive synthesis-property-performance relationships and molecular-level understanding at the catalyst, reactor, and process scales.
  • Process design and scale up tackling catalysts, feedstocks, reactors, and product and process assessment secures the translation of discoveries into competitive plant-ready technologies with tangible benefits to society.

Our vision

Against this background, NCCR Catalysis will shape a digital-driven accelerated shift to develop future catalytic technologies. Collaborating with the Swiss Chemical Society, Swiss Process and Chemical Engineers, Swiss Industrial Biocatalysis Consortium, and scienceindustries associations, it will build a fluid dialogue and strategic partnerships between universities and industry, fostering improved knowledge transfer through a stakeholder forum. The establishment of a Chemical Discovery Platform will bring game-changing innovations into reach. Alongside its scientific goals, NCCR Catalysis will reinforce education in catalysis, equipping the next generation of chemists and chemical engineers with the tools to tackle the long-term scientific vision. An outreach program will stimulate the technological awareness and interest of younger generations and enable the general public to take an informed part in social decisions. In this setting NCCR Catalysis will act as a national flagship to promote, coordinate, and advance catalysis science, ensuring Switzerland’s continued competitiveness.

Our community

With the aim of promoting and strengthening Swiss catalysis research, the NCCR Catalysis community welcomes collaboration and has strong links with academic and industrial partners throughout Switzerland and beyond. It is free to join. Please contact the NCCR Catalysis Directors for further information about our current activities. It will develop a number of schemes for interaction including seminars, and visitor and affiliate researcher programs.
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Contact us

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