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BASF and Heidelberg University Inaugurate New Catalysis Research Laboratory


Research cooperation on research for tomorrow’s innovations

Joint Press Release from Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg and BASF Aktiengesellschaft

It’s all systems go for the new catalysis research laboratory (CaRLa) of BASF Aktiengesellschaft and the Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg’s Technology Park. Günther H. Oettinger, premier of the state of Baden-Württemberg, officially opened the €1.5 million project today (November 16, 2006) in the presence of Dr. Stefan Marcinowski, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF Aktiengesellschaft and Research Executive Director, and Prof. Peter Hommelhoff, President of Heidelberg University.

From today, an international research team consisting of six university and six BASF scientists will be working to develop new homogeneous catalysts in the Heidelberg Technology Park. “This collaboration is a brand new and path-breaking form of technology transfer in Germany”, emphasized premier Oettinger. “I hope that cooperation between researchers from universities and industry on joint campus-based projects will become increasingly common.”

“Our cooperation underlines the quality of the research environment in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, which we hope our commitment will continue to enhance”, added Dr. Marcinowski. “The laboratory’s proximity to Heidelberg University and BASF offers ideal conditions for outstanding catalysis research and a swift transfer of technology to industry.”

CaRLa covers the entire spectrum of research from basic research to industry-specific applications. “This makes CaRLa an ideal project for conducting research jointly with industry, a goal contained in our strategy paper”, stated Prof. Hommelhoff. “Knowledge transfer and applications are playing an increasingly big role in our university’s strategy for the future.”

CaRLa will be headed by BASF researcher Dr. Christoph Jäkel, who has been working since 2002 on the development and use of homogeneous catalysts in BASF’s Chemicals Research & Engineering field. Together with Prof. Peter Hofmann, head of the special research field “Molecular Catalysts: Structure and Functional Design”, Dr. Jäkel will also assume scientific management of the laboratory.

Catalysis is the single most important technology in the chemical industry. More than 80 percent of all chemical products come into contact with catalysts at least once during their synthesis process. Unlike heterogeneous catalysis, which uses catalysts in their solid form to mediate reactions, homogeneous catalysis makes use of catalysts that have been dissolved in the reaction mixture. High-performance catalysts have huge benefits, both environmental and economic. They help to significantly reduce the resources used for substance reactions while producing fewer by-products; open up new, more cost-effective ways of manufacturing established products; and enable the efficient manufacture of new products.

Note for editors:
A photo of the inauguration ceremony can be downloaded after 7 pm from BASF’s website at, keyword “BASF Aktiengesellschaft”, under the search term “Inauguration CaRLa”.


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