For talented, creative, and passionate young female researchers working in the field of active and interactive materials

We are living in a material world. Static materials can be rendered dynamic by programming them to respond and even interact with their environment in a spatio-temporally controlled manner, giving rise to new properties and functions. They are designed to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to assure the efficient use of resources and energy, high-quality personalized healthcare, and smart information and communication technologies. At the DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials in Aachen, Germany, an interdisciplinary team of synthetic macromolecular chemists, chemical engineers, biotechnology experts, and physicists is developing materials with advanced properties and active functions, inspired by nature’s life-based materials.

Financially supported by the Association of Friends of DWI and by the ALTANA Group, a global leader in specialty chemicals for innovative technologies, we initiated the ‘Women Interactive Materials Award’ for talented, creative, and passionate young female researchers working in the field of active and interactive materials.

A summary of the last WIMA Symposium can be found here.

Application, organization and timeline

The award is aimed at accomplished female researchers on the postdoc career level. However, very accomplished late-stage Ph.D. students with a clear research vision and very early-stage independent group leaders (max. 5 years after recieving Ph.D. + possibly maternity break) will also be considered in the competition. Scientists with faculty or tenure track positions are not eligible to participate.

Download and fill out the application form. Afterwards plese send the form to @email

  • Open Call for Contributions: starting 2nd May
  • Deadline: 30th June
  • Selection of candidates: End of August
  • WIMA on-site event, Aachen: 30th September
  • 1st place 10.000€ prize money and 2.500€ for each of the 2 runner-ups

The travel expenses of all invited laureates to Aachen will be covered by DWI and ALTANA.

 

The jury will be chaired by:

Rachel O'Reilly

Rachel O'Reilly holds a Chair in Chemistry within the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham. From 1st August 2018 she became the Head of the School of Chemistry. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1998 with a BA in Natural Sciences, and in 1999 with an MSc in Chemistry and completed her PhD in 2003 from Imperial College London. She has held a number of prestigious fellowships from the EPSRC, Royal Society and Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.

She has published over 175 research papers in scientific journals as well as reviews and book chapters in the fields of polymer synthesis, self-assembly, catalysis and DNA nanotechnology. She has given over 170 invited lectures and was recognised as one of the Royal Society of Chemistry's 175 faces of Chemistry. She has received major grants and research support from the ERC, BP and EPSRC. She leads a large interdisciplinary team working at the interface of chemistry, materials and biology. Since 2006 she has graduated close to 25 PhD students and mentored over 20 postdoctoral researchers.

Rachel was appointed on the EPSRC strategic advisory network (SAN) in 2009 and served for almost 7 years. During this time she most significantly contributed to white papers on developing more flexible support for early career researchers, managing diversity and delivering impact. She holds a position as a review editor for Science and is an associate editor of the leading journal in her field, Macromolecules, which is published by the American Chemical Society.

Rachel leads the Rachel O'Reilly Group. Her group’s work has received numerous national and international awards for her polymer and material efforts, including, uniquely, four from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and, young researcher medals from the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the world authority on chemical nomenclature and terminology.

Rachel is also part of the Birmingham Plastics Network, an interdisciplinary team of more than 40 academics working together to shape the fate and sustainable future of plastics.  This unique team brings together chemists, environmental scientists, philosophers, linguists, economists, and experts in many other fields, to holistically address the global plastics problem.

Petra Severit

Petra Severit is a passionate, authentic and truly international leader with over 20 years of diversified background in engineering, R&D and business in global executive positions in the automotive supplier industry and the chemical industry. R&D management experience in product development, innovation, analytical laboratories, basic research and application development. Additional to the technical background work experience in strategy, strategic sourcing, business development and as managing director, as well as board member. Lived and worked in Germany, USA, China and the Netherlands.

Petra studied chemistry at the University of Cologne. After her diploma thesis at Bayer AG Leverkusen she finished her PhD in Polymer Chemistry at the Fraunhofer Organization Teltow, Germany in 2000.  She started her professional experience in the same year working in Product Development at NISSHINBO GROUP Leverkusen, Germany (TMD Friction GmbH). In 2003, she changed to NISSHINBO GROUP Troy, Michigan, USA (TMD Friction Inc.) doing Project Management, while in 2004, she returned to Leverkusen as Head of Global Raw Material Portfolio Management. In 2009, she became Director of Advanced Product Development at FEDERAL MOGUL in Bad Camberg, Germany and in 2013 she accepted an additional role in the Business Development Department for China of the same company in Shanghai. From 2014 until 2018, she became Director of Research and Technology at Royal DSM in Geleen, The Netherlands and accepted the position as Managing Director (2015 – 2018) at Royal DSM in Düsseldorf, Germany. Since 2018, she is Chief Technology Officer at ALTANA AG in Wesel, Germany and joined Velox Digital Tel Aviv, Israel in 2019 as a Board Member. Grants and Awards include the SAE Excellence in Oral Presentation Award, EuroBrake - Best Presentation Award, and the Award for excellent thesis with significant efficiency in practice from the Stiftung Industrieforschung.

Laura De Laporte

Laura De Laporte is an associate professor at the DWI-Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials and the RWTH University Aachen. She is a member of the Institute for Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry and the Institute of Applied Medical Engineering. She studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Ghent, Belgium, and finished her Ph.D. (2009) in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University in the US. From 2009 until 2012, she did her postdoctoral research in Life Sciences at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. She began an academic career as junior research group leader at the DWI-Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials in 2013, received an ERC Starting Grant in 2015, and did her Habilitation in Chemistry in 2017. In 2018, she was awarded with the Leibniz Professorinnenprogramm, resulting in a joined W2 tenure track position at the RWTH and DWI. She received tenure in 2020. Her research group focusses on designing biomaterials that control and direct the interaction with cells. Low-invasive, polymeric regenerative hydrogel therapies, consisting of nano –and micron-scale building blocks assemble into structured and dynamic 3D constructs in situ to repair soft anisotropic tissues in vivo or study mechanobiology in vitro. In 2020, Laura became part of the Scientific Advisory Board of Advanced Healthcare Materials.