Emanuel Merck Lectureship

In cooperation with the University of Darmstadt, the Emanuel Merck Lectureship honors scientists for outstanding contributions to chemical and pharmaceutical research.

Emanuel Merck Lectureship 2019

Prof. Susumu Kitagawa is awarded the Emanuel Merck Lectureship (EMLS) by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and the University of Darmstadt for his pioneering scientific work in the field of "Metal-Organic Frameworks" (MOFs).

His fundamental contributions to the development of this innovative class of nanoporous materials could lead to new ways of capturing, storing and releasing gases. Broadly speaking, MOFs could contribute to improving the state of our planet. Capturing and re-using gases in these "cages" could help develop sustainable technologies to tackle climate change and open up new possibilities in energy storage.

EML_2019_Kitagawa_Poster_Email_RZ EML_2019_Kitagawa_Poster_Email_RZ

My biggest motivation is... understanding and controlling the role of nanospace.

Susumu Kitagawa

About the Award

The award was jointly established by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and the University of Darmstadt in 1992. It recognizes globally renowned scientists who have made superb contributions to chemical and pharmaceutical research. Since 1993 until the present day the award has been granted to 16 eminent scientists from all over the world, from which four have received the Nobel Prize (now including Frances Arnold).

With the Emanuel Merck Lectureship, it is intended to offer the interested audience from universities, institutes, and companies with detailed insights into the forefront of scientific research in the fields of chemical sciences and pharmaceutical research.

Emphasizing the award’s importance, Prof. Dr. Klaus Griesar, Head of Science Relations, states: “This science prize not only serves to promote scientific exchange with internationally recognized researchers, but it also provides insights about front line scientific research. Moreover, it significantly contributes to the appeal of Darmstadt as a city of science and illustrates the importance of science to our society.”

2019 Laureate

(北川 進 Kitagawa Susumu, born July 4, 1951) is a Japanese chemist working in the field of coordination chemistry, with specific focus on the chemistry of organic–inorganic hybrid compounds, as well as chemical and physical properties of porous coordination polymers and metal-organic frameworks in particular.[1] He is currently Distinguished Professor at Kyoto University, in the Institute for Integrated Cell–Material Sciences, of which he is co-founder and current director.

2017 Laureate

In 2017 Prof. Phil S. Baran at Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California was honored with the Emanuel Merck Lectureship. He has developed elegant and efficient methods for the chemical synthesis of complex natural substances. Phil Baran is Professor of Chemistry, member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, and Darlene Shiley Chair in Chemistry.

Phil Baran about curiosity

Previous laureates of the Emanuel Merck Lectureship




2019 Prof. Susumu Kitagawa Kyoto University
2018 Prof. Jennifer Doudna University of California, Berkeley
2017 Prof. Phil Baran Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla


Prof. Paul T. Anastas

Yale University, New Haven


Prof. Frances H. Arnold

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena


Prof. Carolyn R. Bertozzi

University of California, Berkeley


Prof. Axel Ullrich

Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Martinsried


Prof. Sir Harold W. Kroto

University of Sussex, Brighton


Prof. George M. Whitesides

Harvard University Cambridge


Prof. Samuel J. Danishefsky

Columbia University, New York


Prof. Stuart Schreiber

Harvard University, Cambridge


Prof. Jean-Pierre Changeux

Institut Pasteur, Paris


Prof. Manfred Eigen

MPI Göttingen


Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn

University of Straßburg


Prof. Kenneth Wade

University of Durham


Prof. Albert Eschenmoser

ETH Zürich

View short summaries of the awardees here.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Griesar

Head of Science Relations