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Karl Kirchner

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

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+43 1 58801 - 163611
+43 664 5009830
+43 1 58801 - 153 40

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Karl Kirchner was born in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, in 1960. He attended the Technische Universität Wien (TUW) 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 TUW and in 1998 associate Professor in the field of Organometallic Chemistry. Since 2020 he is Professor of "Base Metal Catalysis" at the Institute of Applied Synthetic Chemistry (TUW), where he is currently the Head of the Institute. He is author of over 270 research publications in peer-reviewed journals (h-index 50).

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 alkenes, alkynes, 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, hydrosilylation of alkenes, and activation of small molecules such as H2, 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 (TUW): 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


277 Publications in peer-reviewed journals (h-index 50, citations: >8000; number of citations/paper: 25), 8 Book Chapters

158 Lectures (131 keynote, plenary, and invited lectures at international conferences and universities)


Since 1995|8 postdoctoral fellows, 30 Ph.D. students, 44 Master students, 23 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, TUW, 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).