For the ninth time, 45 PhD students from the department of chemical process engineering at RWTH and the University of Twente gathered in the beautiful Kleinwalsertal in Söllerhaus. Accompanied by their professors and senior researchers Prof. Matthias Wessling, Prof. Nieck Benes, Prof. Wiebe de Vos, Prof. Arian Nijmeijer and Dr. Antoine Kemperman, they enjoyed the week from the tenth of January, with a well-balanced program: scientific talks, workshops, time for networking and skiing for physical compensation.
More than 20 3-minute pitches kicked-off the first seminar day where PhD and project topics were presented in thematically organized groups. These topics were wide spread: newly emerging fields like electrochemistry and microfluidics were present just as well as more conventional topics like membrane production or process design.
In the following days, longer talks offered the opportunity to dive into separate PhD-topics with ten or 20-minute talks and subsequent discussions. The different points of view from Twente and Aachen allowed for most fruitful and comprehensive discussions. Therein, most talks concerned themselves with environmental protection and sustainability, either through direct measures such as the degradation of micropollutants in drinking water or the reduction of CO2 from our atmosphere to battle climate change, or indirect mechanism like the replacement of harmful organics solvents with water.
Next to their presenting their own work, PhD candidates and professors presented their knowledge in so-called “Expert-classes”. These workshops offered learning opportunities in soft skills, such as the impact of different Personalities in Research or training for upcoming job interviews and in scientific methods like COMSOL simulations or planning and acquisition of experimental setups.
Finally yet importantly, room was left for the interconnection between Aachen and Twente, in-program with so called “scientific speed-dating”, on the skiing slopes and at night in the “Aachener Stube”, where scientific and personal discussions continued.
We thank our sponsor VIVTA e.V. especially as such a trip would not be possible without them, as we thank the organizers from Twente and Aachen and all the participants who made this year’s trip memorable.