Information and networking

In September each year, SNI members come together for the Annual Event at Hotel Schweizerhof in Lenzerheide. This year’s occasion once again provided an excellent platform for learning about interdisciplinary research supported by the SNI, as well as for strengthening existing contacts and forging new ones.

The Annual Event provides an ideal platform for learning about interdisciplinary research supported by the SNI and discussions.

Insights into research
After a short welcome address by SNI Director Christian Schönenberger, this year’s program began with a talk by Professor Ernst Meyer, who gave a vivid explanation of how he and his team investigate the degree of energy loss when individual molecules are moved on surfaces. Following on from this keynote lecture, doctoral students from the SNI PhD School and project leaders from the Nano Argovia program reported on their research.

The busy afternoon of talks was rounded off with a poster session, which once again represented a highlight for all those in attendance. Doctoral students and project leaders presented their latest research findings across a total of 24 posters, which were the subject of some enthusiastic discussions. Guests also had ample opportunity to discuss the various research topics over the subsequent dinner, but that was just the beginning of a science-packed evening.

Christian Schönenberger awards Honorary Membership of the SNI to Joakim Rüegger.

Awards and lively discussions late into the night
Christian Schönenberger began by awarding Honorary Membership of the SNI to Joakim Rüegger for his extraordinary efforts during the start-up phase of the SNI in his role as Head of Higher Education at the Department of Education in the Canton of Basel-Stadt. In a short speech, Joakim Rüegger gave an entertaining account of how the Canton of Aargau decided to support the nanosciences at the University of Basel and throughout Northwestern Switzerland.

Then, Dr. Helmut Schift gave a late-night lecture on integrity in research – a topic he deals with intensively in his role as Consultant on Research Integrity at the Paul Scherrer Institute. Schift’s talk covered not only the careful analysis and protection of data, but also topics such as authorship of publications or academic appointment criteria – a subject that triggered a number of lively and enthusiastic debates.

Thomas Mortelmans receives a prize for the best poster, Luc Driencourt for the best talk.

Positive feedback
Although the first day of the Annual Event continued late into the evening, the lecture room was packed again the following morning as Professor Marek Basler took the audience on a journey into the world of bacteria in the second keynote lecture of the program. Basler described how some bacteria feature highly developed nano-harpoons that allow them to prevail over their competitors.

After a number of other fascinating talks, the meeting concluded with an award ceremony. Luc Driencourt received a prize for his talk on the production of hydrogen from water using a hematite photo-
anode. Thomas Mortelmans was presented with an award for his poster on the use of electron beam lithography to produce three-dimensional microfluidic systems.

This year, Dr. Alessandro Mazzetti from the Innovation Office of the University of Basel also attended the meeting as a guest after giving a workshop for the doctoral students: “I have been impressed by the capability of the SNI and its Annual Event to bring together top scientists, ranging from young brilliant PhDs to experienced scientists, with a real multidisciplinary approach.

It is fascinating to see many scientists with such different backgrounds in physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering being able to share their different perspectives and amazing science around the common “nano” field – opening such exciting perspectives for breakthrough innovation. I strongly believe that the ability of the Annual Event from SNI to bring together and catalyze both basic research and applied projects is unique in Switzerland and globally.