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“Unifying Concepts in Catalysis” (UniCat) was a Cluster of Excellence within the framework of the German Initiative for Excellence researching the economically important field of catalysis (2008-2018). More than 250 chemists, physicists, biologists and engineers from four universities and two Max Planck research institutes from Berlin and Potsdam were involved in this interdisciplinary research network. The Cluster was hosted by the Technische Universität Berlin.

UniSysCat (Unifying Systems in Catalysis) involves senior and junior researchers from the four universities in Berlin and Potsdam, the Charité, and the research institutes FHI, MPI-KGF, HZB, and FMP, providing expertise, methods, and approaches from molecular and structural biology, biochemistry and biophysics, chemical synthesis, physical and theoretical chemistry, and physics, as required for a highly interdisciplinary program. During the ten years of successful research within UniCat, we have learned to master the challenge of combining researchers from quite diverse disciplines and different institutions in a team and focusing their efforts to solve key scientific questions.

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company – The Chemical Company. Through science and innovation enables customers in almost all industries to meet the current and future needs of society. BASF has summed up this contribution in a corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. In 2012, BASF invested about €1.75 billion in R&D projects. At about 70 research and development centers, more than 10,000 researchers are engaged in about 3,000 research projects around the world.

The department of Inorganic Chemistry in the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society (AC-FHI) aims to gain a generalized understanding of hetero-geneous catalysis as a multi-scale phenomenon. To achieve this goal the department develops and applies in situ methodology and combines the obtained information with kinetic data.

The “Berlin International Graduate School of Natural Sciences and Engineering” (BIG-NSE) is part of the Cluster of Excellence “Unified Concepts in Catalysis” founded in November 2007 by the TUB and five further Institutions in the Berlin area within the framework of the German government’s “Excellence Initiative”. The BIG-NSE offers a structured curriculum for obtaining the degree of “Doctor” within 3 years. The main characteristic of the BIG-NSE is a comprehensive integration and mentoring programme for its students, especially foreign students.

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