Catalyst concepts for the global energy transition: Helmholtz Association funds newly established Young Investigators Group

A total of ten excellent young scientists have been selected by the Helmholtz Association to establish their own research groups on their topics. Over a period of five years, the Young Investigator Groups will receive a total of at least 1.5 million euros in funding for this purpose. At the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy (HI ERN), a branch of Forschungszentrum Jülich, Prof. Marc Ledendecker will establish the Helmholtz Young Investigators Group "Design of New Catalysts" and pass on his knowledge to students and young researchers, also in cooperation with Technical University of Munich, Germany.

The focus of the new Young Investigator Group (YIG) is on electrochemical processes as one of the most important key technologies in the energy scenario of our future. These processes take place, for example, during water electrolysis, electrochemical CO2 reduction or in hydrogen fuel cells, and are thus becoming increasingly important for the global energy transition. Core components of these electrochemical processes are catalysts. The electrochemical splitting of water makes it possible to convert electrical energy into chemical energy in the form of hydrogen. However, large-scale application is still hindered by the use of critical materials and their low stability. Reducing these critical elements and increasing the long-term stability of the catalysts is the focus of the new junior research group.

Katalysatorkonzepte für die globale Energiewende: Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft fördert neue Nachwuchsgruppe
Prof. Marc Ledendecker is head of the new Helmholtz Young Investigators Group at HI ERN

"The funding provided by the Helmholtz Association underscores the critical role of catalyst research in driving the success of the ongoing energy transition. Our team aims to advance this field by developing innovative catalyst concepts that can significantly prolong their operational lifespan. By doing so, we hope to minimize the ecological impact of industrial processes, and pave the way for a more sustainable future.", says Marc Ledendecker.

Catalyst concepts for the global energy transition: Helmholtz Association funds newly established Young Investigators Group
Nothing works without catalysts: hydrogen production in focus.
Prof. Marc Ledendecker

Successful young researchers: Second Helmholtz Young Investigators Group at HI ERN already

In the selection process for junior research group leaders, an interdisciplinary and international jury of the Helmholtz Association has selected ten talents from the 34 applicants remaining in the last round. As a candidate of Forschungszentrum Jülich, Prof. Marc Ledendecker received the funding commitment.

"I am very pleased to have such an outstanding young researcher on board in Marc Ledendecker. His interdisciplinary approach fits very well into the existing infrastructure of HI ERN and provides an excellent basis for international and interdisciplinary collaborations," says Prof. Karl Mayrhofer, Managing Director of HI ERN.

The new Young Investigators Group is already the second at HI ERN to be funded by the Helmholtz Association. The research group will work closely with the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, as a university partner. The networking of research institution and university enables the funded leaders to gain valuable experience in teaching as well as to establish important networks and to acquire all qualifications for a successful scientific career.

About the "Helmholtz Young Investigators Groups" funding program

The Helmholtz Association's research program supports highly qualified young scientists who completed their doctorates between two and six years ago. The selected talents thus have the opportunity to further establish themselves within their research field and to gain high visibility within the scientific community. The heads of these Young Investigators Groups are supported by a tailored training and mentoring program and are given a long-term perspective of their Helmholtz Center. One goal of the program is to strengthen the networking between Helmholtz centers and universities.

Helmholtz Association

The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers is Germany's largest organization for the promotion and funding of research. With nearly 44,000 employees and a budget of over 5.8 billion euros, it is one of the largest scientific research organizations in the world.

As a branch of Forschungszentrum Jülich, HI ERN is part of the Helmholtz Association.


Prof. Marc Ledendecker

Head of Research Department "Novel Catalyst Design (YIG)"

    Building Erlangen /
    Room 5003
    +49 9131-12538205

    Jessica Pölloth

    PR and Communications

      Building HIERN-Cauerstr /
      Room 5025
      +49 9131-12538204

      Last Modified: 08.05.2023