DFG Funding Success for Franco-German Research in Chemistry
Professor Werner Nau (left) and Professor Ulrich Kortz are thrilled to receive DFG funding for their Franco-German chemistry research project. (Source: Jacobs University) ,

October 27, 2022

Together with two French colleagues, Professor Ulrich Kortz and Professor Werner Nau from Jacobs University Bremen form the CHAOPOM Consortium. Their bi-national research project "Chaotropic Polyoxometalates: From Fundamentals to Applications" is now being funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and its French counterpart, the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), with almost one million euros for the next three years.

The potential for collaboration has been in the works for years. Ulrich Kortz, Professor at Jacobs University, and Emmanuel Cadot, Professor at the Université Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, have known each other for over 25 years and have already published jointly on the topic of polyoxometalates (POMs). Their counterparts, Pierre Bauduin, a scientist at the Institut de Chimie Séparative de Marcoule, and Werner Nau, University Dean and Professor at Jacobs University, also share a common thread: In 2015 they both - independently of one another - described a new chemical effect that assigns "superchaotropic" properties to charged cluster molecules. The Franco-German CHAOPOM Consortium now investigates this chaotropic effect of polyoxometalates and its applications. The focus is mainly on polyoxopalladates (palladium-oxo clusters), which were discovered by the Kortz team in 2008 and systematically developed since.

The chaotropic effect of this class of compounds is particularly new. Chaotropism is the term used to describe a driving force that exerts significant influence on the interaction of certain ions with other molecules due to their low charge density. "Large cluster ions such as polyoxometalates are superchaotropic, meaning that the interactions here are particularly pronounced," Nau elaborates. The goal, he says, is to determine the structure-property relationships of polyoxometalates with biomolecules and biomembranes and apply them to pharmaceuticals and drug development.

The research interests of the four scientists are highly complementary. Kortz is an inorganic chemist focusing in the synthesis and structural characterization of POMs and their catalytic and biomedical properties, while Nau works in physical-organic chemistry and is interested in fundamental interactions between molecules in aqueous solutions. Cadot specializes in the supramolecular host-guest chemistry of POMs, and Bauduin in physicochemical measurement methods and theoretical studies of superchaotropic metal-oxo clusters.

Many steps had to be taken to arrive at today’s result: The evaluation of the bilateral application took almost a year, preceded by another year of preparation. Only after a positive evaluation by the DFG selection committee was the proposal forwarded to France, where it also had to receive a positive assessment. "We are thrilled. The funding helps us to work systematically on our project ideas with young scientists in order to achieve the desired results," Kortz said. The first meeting of the Consortium is scheduled for November.

Questions are answered by:
Prof. Ulrich Kortz | Professor of Chemistry
Email: u.kortz [at] jacobs-university.de | Tel.: +49 421 200-3235