Finally face-to-face again: Annual Event and Nano Tech ApéroPast Events, SNI INSight December 2021
Last year, the two most important events in the SNI network – the Annual Event and the Nano Tech Apéro – were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As both events hinge not only on the pure exchange of information, but also on personal introductions, discussions and networking, the SNI management decided against holding either of these meetings virtually. This year, however, with the appropriate health and safety measures in place, both conferences could proceed as planned.
Large group meeting at the Schweizerhof
Around 90 SNI members attended this September’s Annual Meeting at the Hotel Schweizerhof. Unlike in other years, current restrictions did not allow for all participants to gather in a single room to attend the presentations. This, in turn, presented greater technical challenges than past events. A few technical issues cropped up here and there, but the team under main organizer Dr. Michèle Wegmann was able to dispatch them in no time.
Participants engaged in lively discussions at the presentations and poster session, and during the event, Professor Henning Stahlberg (EPFL) was awarded honorary SNI membership for his dedication to the nanosciences and the nanosciences program in Basel. Among the group of doctoral students, Vanni Doffini received the award for the “best talk” while Thomas Mortelmans won the prize for “best poster.” Timon Baltisberger received the Outreach Award.
“It was wonderful and informative to be able to see the doctoral students and colleagues from other institutions in person again and discuss their research.”
Christian Schönenberger, SNI Director
This year’s SNI Nano Tech Apéro was hosted by the company Omya in Egerkingen at the end of October.
Following a brief introduction to the work of both the SNI and the host company, participants were treated to a fascinating tour of Omya’s laboratories. Omya’s main product is calcium carbonate, and in its superbly outfitted facilities, the company conducts research on diverse new applications for clients from a wide range of different sectors.
Omya served as an industry partner to the Nano Argovia project KOKORO and participated in the development of an artificial heart, which was built by culturing muscle cells on a paper scaffold, which would subsequently be folded into a flexible tube using a technique derived from the art of origami.
This project was one of the applied research projects presented at the Nano Tech Apéro. In addition, participants learned more about the current results of the Nanocompass, UltraNanoGRACO and SiNPFood projects.
Other project leaders held brief presentations on their own Nano Argovia projects. The Apéro offered guests plenty of opportunity to discuss these approaches alongside the poster presentations, share information with one another and perhaps even conceive of new project ideas.