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Karl Kirchner

Ao.Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn.

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+43 (1) 58801 - 163611
+43 (664) 5009830
+43 (1) 58801 - 153 40
+43 (1) 58801 - 162 99

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Karl Kirchner was born in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, in 1960. He attended the Vienna University of Technology (VUT) from 1979 until 1987, where he received his Diploma and Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Roland Schmid.

After a two-year postdoctoral stay at Washington State University with Prof. John P. Hunt and an additional postdoctoral year with Nobel laureate Prof. Henry Taube at Stanford University he returned to Austria and joined the research group of Prof. Roland Schmid. He became associate Professor in 1994 at VUT and since 1998 he is Prof. of Organometallic Chemistry at the Institute of Applied Synthetic Chemistry (VUT). He is currently Head of the Division of Inorganic Chemistry. He is author of over 240 research publications in peer-reviewed journals (h-index 44).

The expertise of the group of Karl Kirchner is centered around the themes ligand design, synthesis of transition metal complexes, applications of transition metal complexes to homogeneous catalysis. The main research goal is to develop well-defined non-precious transition metal complexes, with emphasis on vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, and molybdenum, for catalytic transformations that are related to synthesis, energy, and sustainability. Towards this goal, we currently focus on metal-catalyzed hydrogenations of ketones, aldehydes, and carbon dioxide, C-C and C-N bond forming reactions which involve acceptorless dehydrogenations of alcohols, cross coupling reactions, hydroborations of alkynes, and activation of small molecules such as H2, N2, O2, and CO2. In addition, we are interested in the mechanisms of organic and organometallic reactions mediated by transition metal complexes which are investigated by means of NMR and IR spectroscopy, ESI MS, X-ray crystallography, and DFT calculations.


1999-2003 Visiting Scientist (total of 2 months), Acciones Integradas Joint Spanish/Austrian Research Project, University of Cadiz, Spain (with Prof. M. C. Puerta)
1999-2003 Visiting Scientist (total of 2 months), Scientific-technical Cooperation Joint Polish/Austrian Research Project, University of Wrocław, Poland (with Prof. A. M. Trzeciak)
2000 Visiting Scientist (4 months), Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan (with Prof. H. Nagashima)
2008 Visiting Scientist (1 month), National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, India (with Prof. R. Karvembu)
2014 Visiting Scientist (1 month), Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan (with Prof. H. Nagashima)
2017 Visiting Scientist (1 month), Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Japan (with Prof. K. Matsubara)


1991 Advisor to the United Nation Special Commission, Inspections of Iraq´s Chemical Weapons Facilities as Decontamination Specialist (Three Missions)


1995 JSPS Fellowship (1 month), Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
1999 Novartis Prize Austria
2012-2016 Pro Didactica Teaching Awards (VUT): Best Freshman Laboratory Course, Best Audio-visual Teaching Aid, Best Teaching Material


2003-2005 Advisory Board Member Organometallics
2005-2013 Advisory Board Member Eur. J. Inorg. Chem.
Since 2011 Austrian Delegate, EuCheMS, Division of Inorganic Chemistry
Since 1991 Austrian Chemical Society, American Chemical Society


244 Publications in peer-reviewed journals (h-index 44, citations: >6000; number of citations/paper: 23), 6 Book Chapters

143 Lectures (25 keynote and plenary lectures at international conferences, 92 at universities)


Since 1995 5 postdoctoral fellows, 25 Ph.D. students, 39 Master students, 16 Bachelor students


Since 2004 General Chemistry (1st semester, Bachelor students)
Since 2004 General Chemistry Laboratory Course (1st semester, Bachelor students)
Since 1998 Inorganic Chemistry (3rd semester, Bachelor students)
Since 2008 Advanced Organometallic Chemistry (1st semester, Master studies)


Prof. Maria J. Calhorda, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, DFT calculations (https://ciencias.ulisboa.pt/en/perfil/mjcalhorda)

Prof. Luis F. Veiros, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, DFT calculations (http://web.ist.utl.pt/veiros/english/)

Dr. Ernst Pittenauer, VUT, Mechanistic ESI MS studies

Prof. Liliana Ferreira, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, Mössbauer and SQUID studies

Prof. Nadia. C. Mösch-Zanetti, University of Graz, Austria, DFT calculations (https://chemie.uni-graz.at/de/bioanorganik-und-koordinationschemie/)

Dr. Luca Gonsalvi, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Florence, Italy, CO2 as building block for fine chemicals (http://www.iccom.cnr.it/gonsalvi/)


2006-2011 Management Committee (MC) of COST Action D40 “Innovative Catalysis: New Processes and Selectivities”
2013-2017 MC of COST Action CM1205 “Catalytic Routines for Small Molecule Activation (CARISMA)”
Since 2016 MC of COST Action CA15106, “C-H Activation in Organic Synthesis (CHAOS)”


2006 Organizer of Final Meeting of COST Action D17 “Oligomers, Polymers and Copolymers via Metal Catalysis” at TUW.
2007 Organizer (Chairman) of the 9th FIGIPAS Meeting in Inorganic Chemistry at TUW (350 participants).