Empa Research Award

Every other year, Empa grants a research award to honor outstanding Master's or PhD theses as well as publications by Empa researchers. The award serves to promote young researchers and is, therefore, primarily aimed at younger researchers.

Empa Research Award 2017
In 2017, yet another bi-annual call for the Empa Research Award was launched. More details (only on the Intranet)


Previous Winners

Empa Research Award 2015

At the PhD Symposium on 7 December, Gian-Luca Bona presented the Empa Research Award 2015 to Leopold Talirz for his outstanding PhD thesis. Talirz received the award for his exceptionally original work on graphene nanoribbons in the nanotech@surfaces lab, entitled "Challenges in the Characterization of Bottom-Up Fabricated Graphene Nanoribbons Addressed by Ab Initio Simulations". In his acknoledgement, Talirz underlined the importance of making research comprehensible to the general public, even when dealing with extremely complex problems. He encouraged all PhD students at Empa to apply for such awards.

Empa Research Award 2013

At the Empa PhD Symposium on 23 October, Debajeet K. Bora, a former PhD student at Empa's lab of High Performance Ceramics and at the University of Basel, received this year's Empa Research Award for his PhD thesis "Hematite and its hybrid nanostructures for photoelectrochemical water splitting: how do properties affect functionality?" The research project was financed by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).

Eighth Empa Research Award (2011): Nanocellulose as a new kind of composite material with nanocellulose

The Empa Research Award 2011 goes to Christian Eyholzer for his PhD theses on adhesives, hydrogels and biodegradable plastics with a novel nanocellulose powder. After having completed his thesis, Eyholzer left Empa and is currently working at Sika as a project manager in product development. The Empa Research Award 2011 was also awarded to the team of Pascal Ruffieux and Jinming Cai for their nature publication "Atomically precise bottom-up fabrication of graphene nanoribbons".

Seventh Empa Research Award (2009): Polymer with honeycomb structure

The Empa Research Award 2009 goes to Matthias Treier, co-author of a publication on the synthesis of a graphene-like polymer. The Empa Research Award was awarded for the seventh time at the annual PhD Symposium.

Sixth Empa Research Award (2008)

At the annual PhD Symposium, the veil was lifted and the new winners were announced: Valentin Lanz received the Empa Research Award for his PhD thesis on the development of a receptor model for organic aerosols.

Fifth Empa Research Award (2007): Innovation boost for the economy

Chunlei Liu was awarded the Empa Research Award 2007 for his PhD thesis on the physical processes involved in the "active soldering" of diamond with Cu-Sn-Ti-Zr alloys.

Fourth Empa Research Award (2006): Surface and plasma technology projects were convincing

Launched in 2003, the Empa Research Award was granted for the fourth time on 19 October 2006. The award was presented at the PhD Symposium, which was organised by Empa's PhD students, and went to Ruben Mäder and Enrico Körner for their outstanding Master's theses.

Third Empa Research Award (2005): Pollutants in nature (e) and heat conducting diamonds

At the annual PhD Symposium, the Empa Research Award went to Patrick W. Ruch for his outstanding diploma thesis "Interfacial Microstrucutre of Al (Si)-Diamond Composites" and to Stefan Reimann, Konrad Stemmler, Matthias Hill and Doris Folini for their excellent publication "Low European methyl chloroform emissions inferred from long-term atmospheric measurements" in "Nature".

Second Empa Research Award (2004): In the Sign of Chirality

On the occasion of the third research marketplace on 11 March 2004, the Empa Research Award went to Roman Fasel, Manfred Parschau and Karlheinz Ernst for their work on the chirality of molecules, which they published in "Applied Chemistry" and in "Nature".

First Empa Research Award (2003)

Outstanding PhD or diploma theses as well as scientific publications by younger Empa researchers will in future be honored by the Empa Research Award. On 26 March 2003, Frank Werner from Empa's Wood lab received the first Empa Research Award for his PhD thesis "Interdependencies between LC-modelling and the Use of LCA in Product Design-related Decisions".