WACKER maintains close ties to universities throughout the world. Our researchers are frequently invited to give presentations and guest lectures at universities. Similarly, university groups visit our sites for a glimpse of work at an industrial corporation. WACKER offers students plant jobs and internships, as well as opportunities to write doctoral theses and papers for bachelor’s and other degree programs.
WACKER has traditionally maintained a close relationship with the Technical University of Munich (TUM). This collaboration led, in 2008, to the Institute of Silicon Chemistry in Garching (near Munich) – a pioneering example of practical support for the next generation of scientists. We are supporting this interdisciplinary silicon institute and the WACKER Chair at the TUM with initial funding of €6 million in total, for a period of 6 years. Ten students receiving WACKER grants completed their dissertations during the period under review, and 14 new grant recipients have begun theirs. Members of the first graduating class have now left the institute and begun their careers in industry – and some have started working in research at WACKER.
In 2010, the Technical University of Munich set up the TUM University Foundation, which WACKER supported with an initial donation of €250,000. In the future, this charitable foundation will promote research projects of outstanding merit, provide grants, and help cut through red tape whenever leading academics are recruited from abroad.
WACKER’s support of young scientific talent extends beyond its collaboration with the Technical University of Munich. In 2009 and 2010, for instance, we commissioned research papers and theses from students at over 30 universities. In China, WACKER also awards grants to students attending the Southern YangTze University in Wuxi and the Nanjing Forest University (both in Jiangsu province).
Every year since 2008, WACKER’s Burghausen site has held summer courses for process-engineering and chemical-engineering students. Through lectures and plant tours, the courses offer participants insights into work at a chemical company.
In collaboration with schools of bioengineering and chemical engineering, WACKER has been organizing project development courses for several years now, providing practical experience for students nearing the end of their studies. When engineering students from the University of Dortmund participated in the program in 2009, WACKER challenged them to design a chloromethane production plant. Through such initiatives, we want to strengthen universities’ ties to WACKER, raise our profile among students and meet potential applicants in a work situation.
Every two years, we present the WACKER Silicone Award, one of the world’s most significant honors in the field of silicon chemistry. In 2009, the €10,000 award went to Prof. Ulrich Schubert, a professor at the Technical University of Vienna. His work (due to its practical relevance) is of considerable importance in the industry. In addition to his research on topics such as metal-silicon complexes, Prof. Schubert has also published material-science studies on the sol-gel process.
Distinguished scientist: Prof. Ulrich Schubert of the Technical University of Vienna receives the 2009 WACKER Silicone Award.