17th November 2017

Miriam M. Unterlass (PI)

Miriam studied chemistry, materials science and chemical engineering in Würzburg, Southampton and Lyon. Between 2009 and 2011 she was working on her PhD thesis at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam-Golm, supervised by Markus Antonietti. Miriam then worked as a post-doc with Ludwik Leibler at the ESPCI in Paris. In December 2012 she established her junior research group “Advanced Organic Materials” at the Institute of Materials Chemistry of TU Wien. In September 2018 Miriam obtained her habilitation (venia docendi) in “materials chemistry”.

Miriam’s research interests are centered around (i) non-classical synthesis of advanced organic materials (high-performance polymers (HPPs), low-molecular weight aromatic and heterocyclic compounds, covalent organic frameworks (COFs), inorganic-organic hybrids) especially via and hydrothermal synthesis and solid-state reactions of preorganized precursor crystals; (ii) synthesis of new monomers; (iii) crystal engineering; (iv) crystallinity in organic solids; and (v) materials morphology. The UnterlassLab’s research projects spans over both basic and applied science. Miriam is committed to see her research implemented: In 2017 she co-founded her first company, UGP materials, where she acts as CSO.

Miriam is a passionate lecturer teaching several courses in materials chemistry, polymer science and inorganic chemistry at both BSc an MSc level (course overview). In May 2016, Miriam won two ProDidactica teaching awards (a bi-annual award honoring the best courses in the BSc curriculum “Technical Chemistry” based on students’ votes) in the categories “lectures – best presentation” (2nd place) and “lectures – fairest exam” (2nd place) for “Inorganic Chemistry I”. She also strongly values public outreach, especially when it comes to explaining natural science to lays and motivating children and adolescents for a scientific careers.

Researcher profiles:

Research keywords:

  • advanced organic materials
  • high-performance polymers
  • non-classical polymerizations (hydrothermal polymerization, solid-state polymerization)
  • crystalline polymers
  • synthesis of new monomers
  • organic dyes
  • crystal engineering
  • materials morphology

Memberships of scientific societies:

  • German Chemical Society (GDCh)
  • Austrian Chemical Society (GÖCH)
  • Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
  • German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV)
  • European Crystallographic Society (ECA)
  • Young Academy of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)

Honors and Awards:

  • 2018: Sallinger fonds S&B award (awarded to our company UGP materials)
  • 2018: Elected member of the Young Academy of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • 2017: PHÖNIX award (Austrian founders’ award) in the category prototypes
  • 2017: START prize of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
  • 2016: Member of Fast Track by the Robert Bosch Stiftung
  • 2016: Pro Didactica Teaching award 2016 (2. place) in the category lecture – fairest exam in the BSc curriculum “Technical chemistry”at TU Wien with the lecture Inorganic Chemistry 1
  • 2016: Pro Didactica Teaching award 2016 (2. place) in the category lectures – best presentation in the BSc curriculum “Technical chemistry”at TU Wien with the lecture Inorganic Chemistry 1
  • 2016: INiTS start-up camp award 2016 at the i2c StartAcademy
  • 2016: Named one of of the Young Talents 2016 by the Journal Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics
  • 2015: Named one of the Emerging Investigators 2015 by the Journal Polymer Chemistry
  • 2015: Young Participant of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
  • 2014: Anton-Paar-Science-Award of the Austrian Chemical Society
  • 2014: Finalist of the Austrian Innovator of the Year Award  


  • Acquired > 2.2 MEUR for own group
  • FWF START prize 2017 “The hydrothermal route to functional organic frameworks” (PI)
  • CDG-FWF PiR project “Polyimide Particle-Reinforced High-performance Composites”, project no. PIR 10 (PI)
  • WWTF Chemical Biology project “3C- Cellular Color Chart” (Co-PI)
  • FFG project “Power2020” (Co-PI; head of consortium: Infineon AG)
  • aws PRIZE project “Aqueous Polyimide Processing”, project no. P1621609 (PI)
  • aws PRIZE project “High-performance membranes”, project no. P1504501 (PI)
  • aws PRIZE project “Fluidized bed heat-exchanger”, project no. P1621702 (Co-PI)
  • FFG project “Turbocomp”, project no. 850447 (Co-PI)
  • FFG project “Advanced Regenerator”, project no. 858916 (Co-PI)
  • TU Wien Doctoral School “BIOINTERFACE” (10 PhD student positions, 1 for own group; Co-PI)
  • several projects with industry (confidential)

Services to the university:

  • Full Member of the faculty board (Fakultätsrat) of the faculty of technical chemistry, TU Wien, 01|2016 – current.
  • Substitute member for the faculty of technical chemistry of the equal opportunities committee of TU Wien, 12|2014-current.
  • Elected Member of 3 search committees for full professorships (one in 2015, two in 2016)
  • Member of the committee of study affairs of chemical engineering (Studienkommission “Verfahrenstechnik”) for the equal opportunities committee of TU Wien, 01|2016-current.
  • Member of the committee of study affairs of materials science (Studienkommission “Materialwissenschaften”) for the equal opportunities committee of TU Wien, 01|2016-current.

Services to the scientific community:

  • Editorial board member of iScience (Cell Press)
  • International advisory board member of Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics (Wiley)
  • Reviewer for scientific journals (Chem. Sci., Macromolecules, Polym. Chem., J. Polym. Sci. Part A: Polym. Chem., RSC Adv., Eur. J. Inorg. Chem., J. Mater. Sci., Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., J. Appl. Polym. Sci., Polym. Int., Macromol. Mater. Eng., Monats. Chem.)
  • Reviewer for funding bodies (NWO – Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, IOF – Industrial Research Fund Flanders, WTZ-OeAD – Austrian Scientific and Technological Cooperation)
  • Co-organizer of the conference DVSPM 2017
  • Guest editor of the special issue “Polymer Characterization and Morphology” of Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics (Wiley) together with Prof. Ophelia Tsui (Boston University) and Prof. Shinji Ando (Tokyio Institute of Technology)
  • Coordinator of the TU Wien the doctoral school “BIOINTERFACE 
  • Head of the division “Colloid research and rheology” of the Austrian Chemical Society (GÖCH)

Supervision of students:

  • currently supervising 14 students (1 Postdoc, 6 PhD student, 3 MSc students, 1 project assistant, 1 research assistant, 1 BSc student, 1 visiting MSc student)
  • past supervision at TU Wien: 2 PhD students, 4 MSc students, 11 BSc students, >30 research interns
  • awards to students: 3 best presentation awards (M. J. Taublaender, S. Thiele, T. Cavalli), 3 poster prizes (D. A. Cerron-Infantes, E. K. Bumbaris, B. Baumgartner), 1 diploma thesis award (B. Baumgartner), several travel fellowships for attending conferences