Gerhard Ertl Young Investigator Award

The purpose of the Gerhard Ertl Young Investigator Award is to recognize one individual for his or her outstanding research in surface science. The journal Surface Science through Elsevier Scientific Publishing is the official sponsor of the award.

About Gerhard Ertl

Gerhard Ertl

Gerhard Ertl is a German physicist and a Professor emeritus at the Department of Physical Chemistry, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin, Germany. Ertl’s research laid the foundation of modern surface chemistry, which has helped explain how fuel cells produce energy without pollution, how catalytic converters clean up car exhausts and even why iron rusts, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.He won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces.

The Nobel academy said Ertl provided a detailed description of how chemical reactions take place on surfaces. His findings applied in both academic studies and industrial development, the academy said. “Surface chemistry can even explain the destruction of the ozone layer, as vital steps in the reaction actually take place on the surfaces of small crystals of ice in the stratosphere,” the award citation reads.

Application process

Young researchers, with no restrictions to nationality or home institution, are invited to apply - the procedure is as follows:

  1. The applicant's PhD certificate must not date back longer than 6 years from the first day of the conference.
  2. Young investigators who wish to compete for the "Gerhard Ertl Young Investigator Award" must submit an extended CV (including a list of publications, talks, awards, professional experience) and an abstract for a talk (DPG abstract format) plus a two page description of the work to the vice-chairperson of the DPG Surface Science Division (a pdf attachment should be sent to Christof Wöll, The abstract must also be submitted as a regular contribution to the DPG Spring Meeting of the Surface Science Division following the standard procedure. (
  3. The candidate must also arrange for two confidential support letters to be sent directly to the vice-chairperson of the DPG Surface Science Division.
  4. The prize committee will select up to five top candidates and these will be asked to give 30-minute (25 min. talk and 5 min. discussion) oral presentations in a special session at the DPG Spring Meeting of the Surface Science Division.
  5. The prize committee will select the winner and she/he will receive a certificate plus the cash prize of EUR 3,000. The other runner ups at the DPG Spring Meeting will receive EUR 500 as recognition of their efforts.