Prof. Dr. Johannes A. Lercher


Chemical Technology

Professor emeritus since 01.04.2023

Academic Career and Research Areas

Professor Lercher’s (b. 1954) research is focused on heterogeneous catalysis. He aims to gain an elemental understanding of the chemical reactions on surfaces and in the pores of nanostructured catalysts in order to develop new catalysts and reaction channels. Processes like the sustainable generation of clean energy sources through selective conversion of biogenous or fossil raw materials are examined. Organization and dynamics at solid/liquid interfaces are of particular interest in this context.

Professor Lercher studied chemistry at TU Vienna, where he completed his doctorate (1980) and his postdoctoral teaching qualification (1985). In 1982, he was a visiting professor at Yale University. In 1990, he became Head of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Heterogeneous Catalysis, and was appointed to a professorship at the University of Twente, NL, in 1993, and joined the faculty of TUM in 1998. He is a member of several academies, such as the Academia Europaea and the US National Academy of Engineering. Professor Lercher is editor in chief of the Journal of Catalysis, the leading journal in the field of catalysis.


  • Alwin-Mittasch-Prize (2021)
  • David Trimm and Noel Cant Lectureship Award, Australian Catalysis Society (2017)
  • ENI Award Hydrocarbons (2016)
  • R. B. Anderson Award, Canadian Catalysis Society (2015/16)
  • Kozo Tanabe Prize for Acid Base Catalysis (2013)

Grundner S, Markovits M, Li G, Tromp M, Pidko EA, Hensen EJM, Jentys A, Sanchez-Sanchez M, Lercher JA: “Single site trinuclear copper oxygen clusters in mordenite for the selective methane to methanol conversion”. Nature Communications. 2015; 6: 7546. 


Liu Y, Müller S, Berger D, Jelic J, Reuter K, Tonigold M, Sanchez-Sanchez M, Lercher JA: „Formation Mechanism of the first Carbon-Carbon Bond and the first Olefin in the Methanol Conversion into Hydrocarbons“. Angewandte Chemie (Int. Ed.). 2016; 55: 5732. 


Shi H, Eckstein S, Vjunov A, Camaioni DM, Lercher JA: “Tailoring nanoscopic confines to maximize catalytic activity of hydronium ions”. Nature Communications. 2017; 8: 15442. 


Luo W, Shi H, Schachtl E, Gutiérrez OY, Lercher JA: “Active Sites on Nickel‐Promoted Transition‐Metal Sulfides That Catalyze Hydrogenation of Aromatic Compounds”. Angewandte Chemie (Int. Ed.). 2018; 57: 14555. 


Zhao C, Kou Y, Lemonidou AA, Li X, Lercher JA: “Highly selective catalytic conversion of phenolic bio-oil to alkanes”. Angewandte Chemie (Int. Ed.). 2009; 48: 3987.