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B. Fünfstück, Clariant, thanking to organizers (fltr): S. Hofacker, Clariant; Prof. E. Constable and Prof. M. Mayor, University of Basel; Dr. A. De Mesmaeker, Syngenta and President Swiss Chemical Society; D. Spichiger, CEO SCS; Prof. R. Neumann, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. (Img: BaselArea.swiss)

B. Fünfstück, Clariant, thanking to organizers (fltr): S. Hofacker, Clariant; Prof. E. Constable and Prof. M. Mayor, University of Basel; Dr. A. De Mesmaeker, Syngenta and President Swiss Chemical Society; D. Spichiger, CEO SCS; Prof. R. Neumann, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. (Img: BaselArea.swiss)

19.10.2016

Academic and industrial exchange at the 3rd Clariant Chemistry Day

What happens when the Chemical Department of the University of Basel hosts the Clariant Chemistry Day? When industrial managers and researchers meet academic hard-core scientists during a full afternoon of scientific lectures, posters and award ceremonies in the great auditorium of the university?

Clariant, a chemical multinational company headquartered in Pratteln, initiated this interesting setting for the third time and sponsored the CleanTech Awards with a total of 11’500 CHF. The Swiss Chemical Society supported the bi-annual event by inviting young researchers from across Switzerland to participate.

Awards for outstanding presentations
In total about 70 people experienced this event – an interesting mix of black suits and ties and young researchers in student-look. The first prize of 5’000 CHF was awarded to Luo Jungshan, PhD student of EPFL, for his outstanding work on hydrogen fuel generation via solar water splitting. The new perovskite-based catalysts achieve up to 21% efficiency from light to hydrogen without noble metals – a world record!

Further award winning CleanTech presentations were held by Markus Jesesck, ETH, about artificial metalloenzymes, and Amit Nagarkar (University of Fribourg) about highly-efficient Ru-catalysis for polymerisations (each 2’000 CHF, 2nd prize shared). Fang Song, EPFL, received 1’000 CHF with a presentation about improved oxygen catalysis in water electrolysis and finally  Clariant’s Chemistry Award was given to Laura Büldt, University of Basel, for her new classes of luminophores. The poster award went to Christian Fischer about the synthesis of fluorescent dyes (500 CHF). The awards were honourably presented by Britta Fünfstück, the new member of Clariant’s Executive Committee and physicist by education.

Scientific research and industrial applications
The Clariant Chemistry Days bring high-level scientific work into the industrial R&D environment. This challenges both sides. On one hand the researchers and managers, whose academic experience might be 20 years or more ago – the one-hour keynote speech by Ronny Neumann about polyoxometalates was really challenging!

On the other hand, students and professors might have experienced that highest-level research and industrial application are not so easy to bring together. The experiences may be generating valuable learnings for both sides. Altogether, an interesting format which might even include other chemical companies of the region.

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