Dear colleagues

Once again the year is racing to a close. Personally, this year has come to a much better end than last year, when I was recovering from a serious accident and was uncertain how things would continue. As I look back on 2017, I feel very positive – not only because my health has improved, but also because the SNI has continued to evolve.

Most of the doctoral students who joined the SNI PhD School when it first opened in 2013 successfully completed their doctorates this year. The results of their research are now being published, allowing us to report on some fascinating findings. It is particularly pleasing to see these students enjoying good job prospects and beginning their professional careers in a range of sectors.

Over the past few months, I have also got to know the nanoscience students more closely, presenting 24 of them with their bachelor’s certificates in October and joining them for an informal chat over pizza in November.

At the Dies Academicus, former nanoscience student Adrian Najer received this year’s faculty prize for his excellent doctoral dissertation. Adrian worked in the group run by Wolfgang Meier and Cornelia Palivan in the Department of Chemistry and at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, developing nanotechnology methods that could be used to treat and prevent infectious diseases such as malaria. It is fascinating to see the great potential of these and similar polymer vesicles.

This SNI update also features an article about our colleagues in the Department of Chemistry, who have succeeded in activating and deactivating enzymatic reactions inside more complex polymer capsules for the first time. The SNI’s calendar is always busy in the last quarter of the year. Many of the TecDays held at Swiss high schools by the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW) take place during this time, and thousands of children and young people flock to Europa-Park in Rust (Germany) for the Science Days. These events are great opportunities for the SNI team to introduce young people to and awaken their interest in the sciences using simple experiments.

Hopefully I have awakened your interest too – happy reading!

I would like to wish you all a peaceful and relaxing festive period and a healthy, successful, and happy New Year. I am already looking forward to early 2018, when I will be reading numerous contributions to the annual report, and thank you all for supporting every aspect of the SNI.

Kind regards,

Christian Schönenberger

SNI Director