Gerhard Erker

Adjunct Professor

Office Location

University of Münster, Germany, Organic Chemistry Institute


Organic Chemistry


Prof. Gerhard Erker has been a member of the Münster University Council since March 2008. He was born in 1946 in Oberhausen and studied chemistry in Cologne. In 1973 he took his PhD in Bochum, where he was also made a professor in 1981.

From 1985 to 1990 he taught at the University of Würzburg and since then he has been a professor at the Institute of Organic Chemistry at Münster University. The recipient of numerous prizes, Prof. Erker was President of the Society of German Chemists in 2000 and 2001 and since 2002 he has been a member of the German Research Foundation.

Gerhard Erker has a strong research interest in organometallic chemistry and catalysis. Experimental studies carried out in his group at the Organic Chemistry Institute at the Universität Münster include projects about homogeneous Ziegler-Natta catalysis, olefin polymerization, metal-induced carbon carbon coupling, the design and discovery of novel structural types of organic and organometallic compounds, molecular surface chemistry, bio-organometallic chemistry as well as the chemistry of novel catalysts for the activation of dihydrogen and other small molecules.

Gerhard Erker studied chemistry at the Universities Köln and Bochum. He did his doctoral work with Wolfgang Roth at Bochum on the chemistry of diradicals and received his doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat.) in 1973. He was a postdoc at Princeton University with Maitland Jones, Jr. Back in Germany he did his Habilitation (Bochum 1981) and then became a Heisenberg Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung at Mülheim. He was a Professor at the Universität Würzburg from 1985 to 1990, before he was appointed at his present position at Münster. He had offers to join the chemistry faculties at the Universities Karlsruhe (1989) and München (1994). Gerhard Erker is a member of the Nordrhein-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Künste, a member of the Academia Europaea and a member of acatech. Among his scientific awards are the Winnacker Scholarship, the Chemistry Award of the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, the Krupp-Award, the Max-Planck-Research Award and the Otto-Bayer-Award. In 2001 he received the students' best chemistry teaching award at Münster. Gerhard Erker served on the board of the GDCh (German Chemical Society) for two consecutive periods and he was the GDCh President in 2000-2001. He was a member of the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) from 2002 to 2008. He is currently a member of the Hochschulrat of the WWU Münster and he is the German speaker of the International Research Training Group Müster/Nagoya "Complex Functional Systems in Chemistry". Gerhard Erker has published >450 papers in refereed scientific journals and has been the supervisor of >100 doctoral students. He loves classical music and art.