Prof.dr.ing. Matthias Wessling has been announced as winner of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2019, Germany's most prestigious research prize. Matthias is currently Vice Rector of Research at the RWTH Aachen University, and is a guest professor at the Soft matter, Fluidics and Interfaces group at the University of Twente's MESA+ Institute.
The Joint Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) selected ten researchers, four women and six men, to receive the 2019 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. The recipients of the prize were chosen by the selection committee from 122 nominees. Three of the ten prizewinners are from the humanities and social sciences, three from the life sciences, two from the natural sciences and two from the engineering sciences. Each will receive prize money of €2.5 million. The awards ceremony for the 2019 Leibniz Prizes will be held on 13 March in Berlin.
"Matthias Wessling is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of membrane technology and polymer research. He has been selected to receive the Leibniz Prize for his seminal work on the synthesis, description and understanding of semipermeable synthetic membranes. Membranes are generally thin material layers that separate two spaces. This makes them important components in many industrial processes, such as water desalination and the treatment of wastewater and waste gas, as well as the production of high-performance batteries and fuel cells. Wessling’s research made it possible for the first time to precisely adjust the functionality of a membrane and to analyse and understand the resulting mechanisms of action. His fundamental work is now put to practical use in many products in industry and medical technology, for example in kidney dialysis. Wessling is currently working to combine synthetic and biological membrane technology.", the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft states.
Prof.dr.ir. Rob Lammertink, who is the chair of MESA+'s Soft matter, Fluidics and Interfaces group is excited on Wessling's selection: "Matthias has laid the strong foundation for membrane science in Twente. His vision on taking into account the full spectrum from molecule to process is still a leading principle within our work."
Matthias Wessling received his PhD at the University of Twente in 1993, and has been working for the University of Twente since 2000 in various roles, including Head of the Membrane Technology Group and interim dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology.