prof. dr. ir. B.M. (Bert) Weckhuysen
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Anorganische Chemie en Katalyse
Benoemingsdatum 01-10-2000
Oratiedatum 04-10-2001

Hoogleraar Anorganische Chemie en Katalyse

Faculteitshoogleraar van de Faculteit Bètawetenschappen


Strategische thema's / focusgebieden

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Curriculum vitae

Prof. Bert Weckhuysen (49) received his master degree in chemical and agricultural engineering with greatest distinction from Leuven University (Belgium) in 1991. After obtaining his PhD degree from Leuven University with honours (highest degree) in 1995 under the supervision of Prof. Robert Schoonheydt, he has worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Israel Wachs at Lehigh University (USA) and with Prof. Jack Lunsford at Texas A&M University (USA). From 1997 until 2000 he was a research fellow of the Belgian National Science Foundation. He has been a visiting scientist at Hokkaido University (Japan), Amsterdam University (The Netherlands), Manchester University (United Kingdom) and Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel).

Weckhuysen is since October 1 2000 Full Professor Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis at Utrecht University (The Netherlands). Weckhuysen has been appointed as Distinguished Professor of the Faculty of Science at Utrecht University as of September 2012. He has been a visiting professor at Leuven University (2000-2005) and Stanford University (USA, 2012) and is currently a visiting professor at Stanford University & SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (2013-onwards) and University College London (UK, 2014-onwards). 

Weckhuysen authored or co-authored ~ 475 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals with an average number of citations per paper of ~ 41 and a Hirsch index of 75. Furthermore, Weckhuysen is the author of 21 conference proceedings publications, 29 other journal publications and editorial material, 24 book chapters and 10 patents/patent applications. Furthermore, he is the (co-) editor of three books.

He serves/served on the editorial advisory boards of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, ChemCatChem, ChemPhysChem, Vibrational Spectroscopy, Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Journal of Applied Chemistry, Applied Catalysis A: General, Topics in Catalysis, Catalysis Letters, Chemical Society Reviews, Faraday Discussions, Chem, Catalysis Today, The Journal of Catalysis and Angewandte Chemie, International Edition.

He obtained prestigious VICI (2002), TOP  (2006 and 2011) and Gravitation (2013) grants from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). In 2012 he has been awarded an Advanced ERC grant from the European Research Council (ERC).

Weckhuysen has received several research awards, including the:

- 2006 Gold Medal of the Royal Dutch Chemical Society

- 2007 Dechema Award of The Max Buchner Research Foundation

- 2009 Netherlands Catalysis and Chemistry Award

- 2009 Eminent Visitor Award of the Catalysis Society of South Africa

- 2011 Paul H. Emmett Award of the North American Catalysis Society

- 2012 International Catalysis Award of the International Association of Catalysis Societies

- 2013 Vladimir N. Ipatieff Lectureship in Catalysis of Northwestern University

- 2013 John Bourke Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry

- 2013 Spinoza Award of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

- 2017 Kozo Tanabe Prize in Acid-Base Catalysis of the Acid-Base Group

- 2017 Xing Da Lectureship of Peking University

- 2018 Robert B. Anderson Award of the Canadian Catalysis Foundation

Weckhuysen has been the scientific director of the Dutch Research School for Catalysis (NIOK) in the period 2003-2013. Currently, he directs the Smartmix research program CatchBio on Biomass Catalysis funded by the Dutch government and chemical industries (2007-2016; ~ 29 M€;, a Gravitation research program MCEC on Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversions (2013-2023; ~ 32 M€; funded by the Dutch government and ARC CBBC (Advanced Research Center Chemical Building Blocks Consortium), a 10 years-consortium by government, industries and universities (2016-2026; 11 M€/year, 

Weckhuysen is also:

- An elected member of the European Academy of Sciences (Academia Europaea, 2010-onwards), the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW, 2011-onwards), the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and Arts (KVAB, 2015-onwards); the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation (ACTI, 2009-onwards) and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences (KHMW, 2010-onwards);

- An alumnus elected member of The Young Academy (DJA) of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (2005-2010);

- An elected fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC, 2007-onwards), American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2015-onwards) and ChemPubSoc Europe (2015-onwards); and 

- Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion (2015).

Weckhuysen serves on many boards and panels for national and international research.

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Selection of Multidisciplinary Journal Publications: 

  1. Y. Liu, F. Meirer, C.M. Krest, S. Webb, B.M. Weckhuysen, Relating Structure and Composition with Accessibility of a Single Catalyst Particle using Correlative 3-dimensional Micro-spectroscopy, Nature Communications, 2016, 7, 12634. 
  2. B.M. Weckhuysen, Porous Materials: Zeolites Shine Bright, Nature Materials 2016, 15, 933-934 (News & Views article).
  3. D.E. Perea, I. Arslan, J. Liu, Z. Ristanovic, L. Kovarik, B.W. Arey, J.A. Lercher, S.R. Bare and B.M. Weckhuysen, Determining the Location and Nearest Neighbors of Aluminum in Zeolites with Atom Probe Tomography, Nature Communications 2015, 6, 7589.
  4. F. Meirer, S. Kalirai, D. Morris, S. Soparawalla, Y. Liu, G. Mesu, J.C. Andrews, B.M. Weckhuysen, Life and Death of a Single Catalytic Cracking Particle, Science Advances 2015, 1, e1400199.
  5. W. Luo, M. Sankar, A.M. Beale, Q. He, C.J. Kiely, P.C.A. Bruijnincx, B.M. Weckhuysen, Highly Active, Selective and Stable Supported Nano-alloys for the Hydrogenation of Levulinic Acid to Gamma-valerolactone, Nature Communications 2015, 6, 6540.
  6. P.C.A. Bruijnincx, B.M. Weckhuysen, Biomass Conversion: Lignin Up for Break-down, Nature Chemistry 2014, 6, 1035 (News & Views article).
  7. I.L.C. Buurmans, B.M. Weckhuysen, Heterogeneities of Individual Catalyst Particles in Space and Time as Monitored by Spectroscopy, Nature Chemistry 2012, 4, 873.
  8. E.M. van Schrojenstein Lantman, T. Deckert-Gaudig, A.J.G. Mank, V. Deckert, B.M. Weckhuysen, Catalytic Processes Monitored at the Nanoscale with Tip-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy, Nature Nanotechnology 2012, 7, 583.
  9. I.L.C. Buurmans, J. Ruiz-Martinez, W.V. Knowles, D. van der Beek, J.A. Bergwerff, E.T.C. Vogt, B.M. Weckhuysen, Catalytic Activity in Individual Cracking Catalyst Particles Imaged Throughout Different Life Stages by Selective Staining, Nature Chemistry 2011, 3, 862.
  10. L. Karwacki, M.H.F. Kox, D.A.M. de Winter, M.R. Drury, J.D. Meeldijk, E. Stavitski, W. Schmidt, M. Mertens, P. Cubillas, N. John, A. Chan, N. Kahn, S.R. Bare, M. Anderson, J. Kornatowski, B.M. Weckhuysen, Morphology-dependent Zeolite Intergrowth Structures leading to Distinct Internal and Outer-surface Molecular Diffusion Barriers, Nature Materials 2009, 8, 959.
  11. B.M. Weckhuysen, Heterogeneous Catalysis: Catch Me if You Can!, Nature Chemistry 2009, 1, 690 (News & Views article).
  12. E. de Smit, I. Swart, J.F. Creemer, G.H. Hoveling, M.K. Gilles, T. Tylisczak, P.J. Kooyman, H.W. Zandbergen, C. Morin, B.M. Weckhuysen, F.M.F. de Groot, Nanoscale Chemical Imaging of a Working Catalyst by Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy. Nature 2008, 456, 222.
  13. B.M. Weckhuysen. Catalysts Live and Up Close. Nature 2006, 439, 548 (News & Views article).

Publication Track Record:

  • Hirsch-index of 75 (based on 25 years of research, including the 4-years PhD period)
  • Author or co-author of ~ 475 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, which have attracted ~ 22,000 citations (Web of Knowledge analysis of November 4, 2017).
  • Author/co-author of high-impact multidisciplinary and chemistry articles: Nature (# = 1 + 1 News & Views), Nature Materials (# = 1 + 1 News & Views), Nature Nanotechnology (# = 1), Nature Chemistry (# = 2 + 2 News & Views), Nature Communications (# = 3 + 1 in press), Nature Catalysis (# = 2 in press) Science Advances (# = 1), Chemical Reviews (# = 3), Chemical Society Reviews (# = 6), Accounts of Chemical Research (# = 1), Angewandte Chemie-International Edition (# = 47), Chemical Science (# = 1), Journal of the American Chemical Society (# = 29) and Chemical Communications (# = 18).
  • Author/co-author of articles in proceedings (# = 21), other scientific journals (# = 17), editorial material (# = 13) and books (# = 21).
  • Guest editor of themed scientific journal issues: Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics (# = 3), Catalysis Today (# = 1), ChemSusChem (# = 1), Topics in Organometallic Chemistry (# = 1), Green Chemistry (# = 1), Topics in Catalysis (# = 1) and Chemical Society Reviews (# = 2).
  • Editor or co-editor of three scientific books.

The complete publicationlist can be found at the personal webpage of Bert Weckhuysen.



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The central research theme of the Weckhuysen group is the development of structure-activity relationships and expert systems in the field of heterogeneous catalysis and materials science with special emphasis on the development and use of advanced in situ characterization techniques.

  • Development and use of in-situ spectroscopic methods applied on heterogeneous catalysts during catalyst preparation and real operation in order to develop relevant structure-activity relationships and expert systems for catalytic processes. Systems of interest are supported metal and metal oxide catalysts, zeolites as well as lanthanide and alkaline earth metal oxides. The main emphasis is on combined space and time-resolved in-situ UV-Vis, Raman, IR, and fluorescence spectroscopy as well as X-ray absorption spectroscopy and diffraction methods. Catalytic reactions under study are alkane, methane and methanol activation, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, chlorinated hydrocarbons re-arrangements as well as selective oxidation, hydrogenation and hydro-deoxygenation reactions.
  • Catalytic conversion of biomass to fuels and bulk chemicals, more specifically the valorization of polyols, e.g. glycerol and sugars, via telomerization, hydrogenolysis and etherification, valorization of lignin and humins and related model compounds and the conversion of C5- and C6-sugars, including the selective hydrogenation of sugar-derived compounds. Development of in-situ spectroscopic methods for monitoring biomass conversion processes in the liquid phase (i.e., water at relatively high temperatures and pressures), including issues as catalyst stability. 
  • Synthesis and characterization of ordered (micro-) porous materials with catalytic potential. The focus is on the fundamental understanding of the principles governing the assembly processes of porous oxides, the development of spectroscopic tools to evaluate the synthesis parameters and the structural aspects of porous materials, including intergrowth structures, spatiotemporal zoning of elements, such as aluminum, and the processes of dealumination and desilication. The materials focus is on zeolites and metal organic frameworks (MOFs and ZIFs).
  • The molecular design of transition metal ion complexes in inorganic hosts for catalyst applications. Enzymes, the most effective catalysts in nature, are the inspiration source for this research. Catalytic reactions of interest are NO decomposition, methane activation and selective oxidation reactions.

More information can be found at the research page of Bert Weckhuysen.

The Weckhuysen group has been active for many years in the design, synthesis, characterization and application of catalytic solids for the conversion of fossil (crude oil & natural gas) and renewable (biomass) feedstock into transportation fuels, chemicals and materials. The group is internationally renowned for the development of in-situ and operando spectroscopy and microscopy for studying catalytic solids under realistic conditions. This approach has provided unique insights in the working and deactivation mechanisms of catalytic processes, as well as in the internal architecture of functional materials.

Some research highlights include:

  • Unique insights have been obtained in the dynamics of the elementary steps of catalyst preparation (i.e., impregnation, drying and calcination) of mm-sized catalyst bodies in space and time. With the aid of Raman and UV-Vis micro-spectroscopy in combination with X-ray tomography (XRD-CT), diagonally offset Raman spectroscopy (DORS) and magnetic resonance imaging MRI), experimental protocols have been established for the deliberate synthesis of egg-shell, egg-yolk, egg-white and uniform metal/metal oxide distributions, in particular cobalt, nickel, molybdenum, chromium and palladium, within porous Al2O3 catalyst bodies (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 14548; 2005, 127, 5024; 2005, 127, 11916;2009, 131, 6252; and 2009, 131, 16932; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2007, 46, 7224; 2007, 46, 8893; 2011, 50, 10148; 2012, 51, 957; Acc. Chem. Res. 2010, 43, 1279).
  • Development of a very active and stable low-temperature catalyst based on supported lanthanide oxide chlorides, for the low temperature catalytic hydrolysis as well as metathesis of chlorinated hydrocarbons and the elucidation of its working principle and related catalyst tailoring (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2002, 41, 4730; and 2008, 47, 5002; Chem. Eur. J. 2004, 10, 1637; and 2007, 13, 9561). This finding has been selected as a major breakthrough in 2002 by the editorial team of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN).
  • Development of novel very active homogeneous and heterogeneous catalyst materials for the telomerization of 1,3-butadiene with renewable alcohols, sugars and sugar alcohols, including shedding new insight in the working mechanism of the catalyst material developed (ChemSusChem 2008, 1, 193; 2009, 2, 855; Green Chem. 2009, 11, 1155; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2010, 49, 7972; ChemCatChem 2011, 3, 845; ACS Catalysis 2011, 1, 526).
  • Development of new catalytic routes and realted catalyst materials for the use of lignin and lignin model compounds as a sustainable source for the production of aromatics-based bulk and fine chemicals (Chem. Rev. 2010, 110, 3552; Green Chem. 2010, 12, 1225; 2011, 13, 671; 2013, 11, 3049; ChemSusChem 2011, 4, 369; 2012, 5, 1602; Appl. Catal. A: General 2011, 384, 79; J. Catal. 2012, 285, 315).
  • Elucidation of the synthesis mechanism and related organic-inorganic template interactions of microporous crystalline aluminophosphates by the design and construction of a unique in-situ set-up combining spectroscopy (Raman, UV-Vis and XAFS) and X-ray scattering (SAXS and WAXS) methods at the European Synchrotron Research Facility (Grenoble, France) (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2000, 39, 3419; J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 14454; 2006, 128, 11744; and 2006, 128, 12386). This work was highlighted in a 2006 Nature News & Views article.
  • In-situ X-ray nanoscale imaging of individual Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis (FTS), Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) and Methanol-To-Olefins (MTO) zeolite catalyst particles has been accomplished, shedding detailed insights in the role of e.g. carbon compounds, metal poisons, metal seggregation and local Al and P gradients on the deactivation of these catalyst materials(Nature 2008, 456, 222; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2009, 48, 3652; 2012, 51, 3616; 2012, 51, 11986; Chem. Soc. Rev. 2008, 37, 2758; 2011, 39, 4656; Chem. Commun. 2013, 49, 4622; 2015, 51, 8097; Chem. Eur. J. 2014, 20, 16922; J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 17774; 2015, 137, 102). The work has been highlighted in 2008 and 2012 Nature News & Views, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) and Chemistry World articles as well as in a 2009 Angewandte Chemie and 2013 Chemistry World highlight article. A recent article on imaging of FCC particles appeared in Science Advances 2015, 1, e1400199, and has been featured in Chemical & Engineering News
  • External and internal molecular diffusion barriers have been elucidated within large zeolite ZSM-5 crystals, their complex intergrowth structure determined (and by doing so resolving a debate in the literature), determining the location of aluminum, and developing a new spectroscopic probe for Brønsted acidity imaging (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2007, 46, 3652; 2007, 46, 7228; 2008, 47, 3543; 2008, 47, 5637; 2009, 48, 8990; 2010, 49, 6790; 2012, 51, 1343; 2013, 52, 13382; J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 1916; Nature Materials 2009, 8, 959). This work was selected for a 2008 Angewandte Chemie highlight article and highlighted in C&EN.
  • The active zeolite component within industrial fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) particles has been selectively stained revealing intra- and interparticle heterogeneities with submicrometer resolution in 3D. By integrating fluorescence, electron microscopy, μ-X-ray diffraction Brønsted acidity could be correlated with local zeolite collapse and mesopore generation. (Nature Chemistry 2011, 3, 862; 2012, 4, 873; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 1428; 2013, 52, 5983; 2015, 53, 1836 and Chem. Eur. J. 2012, 18, 1094; 2013, 19, 3847; 2014, 20, 3667). This work was selected for a 2011 Nature Chemistry News and Views article and highlighted in Chemistry World and C&EN.
  • Development of surface- and tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS and TERS) as operando probes for monitoring and understanding heterogeneous catalysis (Nature Nanotechnology 2012, 7, 583; Chem. Commun.  2012, 48, 1742; ChemCatChem 2014, 6, 3342; ChemPhysChem 2015, 16, 547; Catal. Lett. 2015, 145, 40).
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Uit hoofde van of samenhangend met de functie van (faculteits-) hoogleraar:

  • Wetenschappelijk Boegbeeld van het Topteam Chemie en lid van de Raad van Bestuur van de TKI Chemie, geïnstalleerd door de Minister van Economische Zaken (EZ), sinds 2014 (voorheen Lid van het Topteam Chemie, 2011-2014). Herbenoemd door het Ministerie van EZ per 1 september 2015 voor de periode 2015-2019. (onbezoldigd)
  • Expert in panels voor het Ministerie van Economische Zaken, het Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap en NWO. (onbezoldigd)
  • Voorzitter van de adviescommissie Chemie van het domein Exacte en Natuurwetenschappen (ENW) van de Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO). (onbezoldigd)
  • Wetenschappelijk Directeur van Advanced Research Center Chemical Building Blocks Consortium (ARC CBBC;, sinds 2016. (onbezoldigd)
  • Wetenschappelijk Directeur van MCEC (Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion;, sinds 2014. (onbezoldigd)
  • Visiting Professor of Photon Science bij Stanford University/SLAC, sinds 2013. (onkostenvergoeding ten gunste van de Universiteit Utrecht)
  • Lid van het bestuur van de European Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS) sinds 2003; sinds 2011 penningmeester; en sinds 2017 President van EFCATS (periode 2017-2019). (onbezoldigd)
  • Bestuurslid van de Stichting Hoogewerff-Fonds, sinds 2015. (onbezoldigd)
  • Lid van de International Advisory Board van het Institute of Nanochemistry and Catalysis of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest (Hungary), sinds 2009; State Key Laboratory of Catalysis in Dalian (China), sinds 2014; Cardiff Catalysis Centre in Cardiff (United Kingdom), sinds 2016; Max-Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim an der Ruhr (Germany); and Center for Catalysis and Surface Science of Northwestern University in Evanston (USA). (vergoedingen ten gunste van de Universiteit Utrecht)
  • Member of the Solvay Scientific Committee for Chemistry (2017-2022). (vergoedingen ten gunste van de Universiteit Utrecht) 
  • Lid van de HERCULES (Higher Education, Research, and Culture in European Society) expert group van de Academia Europaea, sinds 2015. (onbezoldigd)
  • Titular Member van de Fysisch-chemische en Biofysisch-chemische Divisie (Division I) in IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) (2016-2019). (onbezoldigd)
  • Derde geldstroom contractonderzoek met o.a. Shell, Albemarle, Total, BASF, AkzoNobel, SCG Chemicals en ExxonMobil. (inkomsten ten gunste van de Universiteit Utrecht)
  • Zitting in de ‘editorial boards’ en ‘internationaly advisory boards’ van Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, ChemCatChem, Chemical Society Reviews, Catalysis Letters, Topics in Catalysis, Catalysis Today, Journal of Applied Chemistry, Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, ChemPhysChem, Faraday Discussions, Chem & Angewandte Chemie. (onbezoldigd)
  • Editor van The Journal of Catalysis (bezoldigd; ten gunste van de Universiteit Utrecht)
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Volledige naam
prof. dr. ir. B.M. Weckhuysen Contactgegevens
David de Wiedgebouw

Universiteitsweg 99
Kamer 4.82

Telefoonnummer direct 030 253 4328
Telefoonnummer afdeling 030 253 7400
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Laatst bijgewerkt op 11-11-2017