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

The WIMA is a young scientist award launched in 2021 initiated by DWI's working group "Equal Chances and Diversity", specifically targeting female scientists from the research field of active and interactive materials.

The aim is to specifically support women in their early academic careers and provide them with a platform to increase their visibility.


We are honored to host our 4th WIMA edition in Aachen this year.

The final of the award will take place on-site in Aachen on September 26, 2024.

This is made possible by the generous financial support of the ALTANA Group, a global leader in specialty chemicals for innovative technologies, the Association of Friends of DWI and the Leibniz Research Alliance Leibniz Health Technologies.

In the end, three winners will be chosen and honoured with prize money of 15,000 EUR in total: 1st place 10,000 EUR prize money and 2,500 EUR for each of the 2 runner-ups.

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


Application and timeline

  • Usage of this application form is mandatory.
    Only complete applications will be considered.
  • Eligable to apply are:
    • Accomplished female researchers on the postdoc career level
    • Very accomplished late-stage Ph.D. students with a clear research vision
    • Very early-stage independent group leaders (max. 7 years after receiving Ph.D. + explained reason for break) will also be considered in the competition
  • Scientists with faculty or tenure track positions are not eligible to participate
  • Application phase is open until 23rd June 2024
  • Selected candidates for the final in Aachen will be contacted until End of August

Science communication and public relations

+49 241 80 233 47 | +49 241 80 233 36
E-Mail Adresse anzeigen


The jury will be chaired by:

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.

Esther Amstad

In 2014, Esther Amstad joined the material science department (IMX) of EPFL where she helds a tenure track assistant professor position and is leading the Soft Materials Laboratory (SMAL). Esther studied material science at ETH in Zurich. She also carried out her PhD thesis at the same University under the supervision of Prof. Marcus Textor; for her thesis, she worked on the surface modification and steric stabilization of oxide nanoparticles. As a postdoctoral fellow, she joined the experimental condensed soft matter group of David A. Weitz at Harvard University where she used droplet based microfluidics to assemble different types of functional micro- and nanomaterials. In addition, she developped new microfluidic devices that enable the production of very small, airborne drops as well as devices that produce highly monodisperse emulsion drops at a very high throughput.

Laura De Laporte

Laura De Laporte is an 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.