Sorbonne Université
4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris cedex 5
Tower 32-42, 4th floor, office 404
eMOCA Group 
Phone : +33 (0) 1 44 27 26 78

Research keywords

Electrochemistry; photochemistry; photoelectrochemistry; molecular catatysis; activation of small molecules; CO2 reduction; N2 reduction; mechanisms; proton-coupled electron transfers

Current research

His current interests include electrochemical, photochemical, and theoretical approaches of electron transfer reactions and reactivity in all facets of chemistry, as well as catalytic activation of small molecules, in particular CO2 and N2.

Scientific career

Marc Robert was educated at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan (now ENS Paris-Saclay, France) and gained his Ph.D. in 1995 from Paris Diderot University (now Université Paris Cité) under the guidance of Claude Andrieux and Jean-Michel Savéant. After a postdoctoral stay at Ohio State University (USA) with Matthew Platz, he joined the faculty at Paris Diderot University as Associate Professor (1997). He was promoted to Professor in 2004. He became a Junior Fellow of the University Institute of France (IUF) in 2007 and a Senior Fellow in 2017. In May 2022, he was renewed as Senior member and Innovation Chair at IUF for the next five years.

He joined Sorbonne Université in the summer of 2024 as Distinguished Professor.

Among several distinctions, M. Robert was awarded the first International Prize Essential Molecules Challenge from Air Liquide (2016), a French National Innovation Prize (2021) and the Senior Researcher Prize from the French Chemical Society (Physical Chemistry division, 2022). He has been recently listed as a Highly Cited Researcher in the field of Chemistry (2023) and in March 2024, he received the International Prize of the Society for the Coordination Chemistry of Japan. Since November 2020, he is the CSO of Carboneo, a start-up company that aims to develop CO2 electrolyzers.

Marc is also an International Advisory Board member at Angewandte Chemie International Edition, ChemSusChem (Wiley), Artificial Photosynthesis and ACS Electrochemistry (ACS).

Selected publications

20. “In-situ spectroscopic probe of the intrinsic structure feature of single-atom center in electrochemical CO/CO2 reduction to methanol” X. Ren, J. Zhao, X. Li, J. Shao, B. Pan, A. Salamé, E. Boutin, T. Groizard, S. Wang, J. Ding, X. Zhang, W.-Y. Huang, W.-J. Zeng, C. Liu, Y. Li, S.-F. Hung, Huang, M. Robert, B. Liu, Nat. Commun. 2023, 14, 3401.

19. “Improving molecular catalyst activity using strain inducing carbon nanotube supports” J. Su, C. Musgrave, Y. Song, L. Huang, Y. Liu, G. Li, Y. Xin, P. Xiong, B. Sheng, L. Song, H.Wud, M. Zhud, H. M. Chen, J. Zhang, M. Meng-Jung Li, B. Zhong Tang, M. Robert, W. A. Goddard III, R. Ye, Nat. Catal. 2023, 6, 818-828.

18. “Molecular electrochemical reductive splitting of dinitrogen with a Mo complex” L. Merakeb, S. Bennaamane, J. De Freitas, E. Clot, N. Mézailles, M. Robert, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, e202209899.

17. “Photocathode functionalized with a molecular cobalt catalyst for selective CO2 reduction in water” P. B. Pati, E. Boutin, R. Wang, S. Diring, S. Jobic, N. Barreau, F. Odobel, M. Robert, Nat. Commun. 2020, 11:3499.

16. “Efficient visible-light driven CO2 reduction by a cobalt molecular catalyst covalently linked to mesoporous carbon nitride” B. Ma, G. Chen, C. Fave, L. Chen, R. Kuriki, K. Maeda, O. Ishitani, T-C. Lau, J. Bonin, M. Robert, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 6188-6195.

15. “Selectivity control of CO vs. HCOO production in the visible-light-driven catalytic reduction of CO2 with two cooperative metal sites” Z. Guo, C. Cometto, G. Chen, L. Chen, B. Ma, H. Fan, T. Groizard, W-L. Man,S-M. Yiu, K-C. Lau, T-C. Lau, M. Robert, Nat. Catal. 2019, 2, 801-808.

14. “CO2 electrochemical catalytic reduction with a highly active cobalt phthalocyanine” M. Wang,K. Torbensen, D. Salvatore, S. Ren, D. Joulié, F. Dumoulin, D. Mendoza, B. Lassalle-Kaiser, U. Işci, C. Berlinguette, M. Robert, Nat. Commun. 2019, 10:3602.

13. “Molecular electrocatalysts can mediate fast, selective CO2 reduction in a flow cell”, S. Ren, D. Joulié, D. Salvatore, K. Torbensen, M. Wang, M. Robert, C. Berlinguette, Science 2019, 365, 367-369.

12. “Aqueous electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into methanol with cobalt phthalocyanine” E. Boutin, M. Wang, J. C. Lin, M. Mesnage, D. Mendoza, B. Lassalle-Kaiser, C. Hahn, T. F. Jaramillo, M. Robert, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 16172-16176.

11. “Highly selective molecular catalysts for the CO2-to-CO electrochemical conversion at very low overpotential. Contrasting Fe vs. Co quaterpyridine complexes upon mechanistic studies” C. Cometto, L. Chen, P-K. Lo, Z. Guo, K-C. Lau, E. Anxolabéhère-Mallart, C. Fave,T-C. Lau, M. Robert, ACS Catalysis 2018, 8, 3411-3417.

10. “Visible-light-driven methane formation from CO2 with an iron complex” H. Rao, L. Schmidt, J. Bonin, M. Robert, Nature 2017, 548, 74-77.

9. “Electrons, photons, protons and earth abundant metal complexes for molecular catalysis of CO2 reduction” H. Takeda, C. Cometto, O. Ishitani, M. Robert, ACS Catalysis 2017, 7, 70-88.

8. “Through-space charge interaction substituent effects in molecular catalysis leading to the design of the most efficient catalyst of CO2-to-CO electrochemical conversion” I. Azcarate, C. Costentin, M. Robert, J-M. Savéant, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 16639-16644.

7. “Dissection of electronic substituents effects in the multielectron-multistep molecular catalysis. Electrochemical CO2-to-CO conversion catalyzed by iron porphyrins” I. Azcarate, C. Costentin, M. Robert, J-M. Savéant, J. Phys. Chem. C, 2016, 120, 28951-28960.

6. “Highly efficient and selective photocatalytic CO2 reduction by iron and cobalt quaterpyridine complexes” Z. Guo, S. Cheng, C. Cometto, E. Anxolabéhère-Mallart, S-M. Ng, C-C. Ko, G. Liu, L. Chen,  M. Robert, T-C. Lau, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 9413–9416.

5. “Noncovalent immobilization of a molecular iron based electrocatalyst on carbon electrodes for selective, efficient CO2-to-CO conversion in water” A. Maurin, M. Robert, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 2492-2495.

4. “Current issues in molecular catalysis illustrated by iron porphyrins as catalysts of the CO2-to-CO electrochemical conversion” C. Costentin, M. Robert, J-M. Savéant, Acc. Chem. Res. 2015, 48, 2996-3006.

3. “An efficient and selective molecular catalyst for the CO2/CO electrochemical conversion in plain water” C. Costentin, M. Robert, J-M. Savéant, A. Tatin, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2015, 112, 6882-6886.

2. “Selective and efficient photocatalytic CO2 reduction to CO using visible light and an iron based homogeneous catalyst” J. Bonin, M. Robert, M. Routier, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 16768-16771.

1. “A local proton source enhances CO2 reduction to CO by a molecular Fe catalyst” C. Costentin, S. Drouet, M. Robert, J-M. Savéant, Science 2012, 338, 90-94.