Wolfgang Kautek holds a diploma in chemical engineering (1976) from the Vienna University of Technology, Austria, and a doctoral degree (1980) from the University of Technology Berlin, Germany. He spent many years, from 1976 to 1987, as a research scientist at the University of Kentucky, USA, at the Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max-Planck-Society, Berlin, at the IBM San Jose Research Laboratory, California, USA, and the Siemens Research Centre, Erlangen, Germany. 1981 he was awarded the Otto-Hahn-Medal of the Max-Planck-Society.
From 1988 until 2004, he was head of the Laboratory for Thin Film Technology of the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Berlin, Germany.
2003 Wolfgang Kautek was installed as Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Chemistry of the Free University Berlin, Germany.
In 2004, Wolfgang Kautek followed a call as full-professor for Physical Chemistry at the University of Vienna.