March 1-3, 2023
Leipzig (Germany)

Programme

This will be a conference that is attractive for PhD students from polymer science and that provides plenty of opportunity to exchange with their peers as well as with invited speakers. Therefore, our programme will be a balanced mix of scientific presentations as well as more interactive sessions.

The program with the abstracts and the list of posters will be published in January 2023.

Poster session

Please submit your abstracts by 12.12.2022. There will be two poster prizes sponsored by

Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics

Interactive sessions

Insights behind the CV

In this informal discussion our invited speakers explain how they got to where they are now. We will start by looking at the official CV, but then focus on what lies behind all of that.
Besides the successfully granted funds and published articles in high ranked journals there were rejections and failure to be dealt with. Let’s not forget what’s also important: How did they balance their work and a life outside of science?
During the moderated discussion, there will be enough time to address all arising questions.

Join these sessions on Wednesday (01.03.2023) with
Karen Lienkamp and Birgit Strodel

and on Thursday (02.03.2023) with
Günter Reiter and Paolo Arosio

Journal editing: behind the scenes

As young researchers we often reach to the point that our scientific projects are ready to be published. But what actually happens once our “newborn” manuscript reaches the journal? To answer this question join the talk of our guest editor Aline Lueckgen from Nature Communications.

In Part I she will give us details on topics behind the scenes:

  • What are the criteria for the manuscript to be considered or to be “desk rejected”?
  • What happens behind the scenes during the publishing process?

In Part II, she will give us some tips for young scientists, followed by a Q&A session:

  • How do I choose a title?
  • Are there any tricks on how to write a correct abstract?
  • How can I become an editor myself?
Aline Lueckgen

Aline obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in bioengineering at Rice University in the USA and at the EPFL in Switzerland, respectively, completing short research internships in India, France and Japan during her studies. She completed her PhD at the Technical University in Berlin, where she investigated the degradation behavior of alginate-based hydrogels. Aline joined the Biotechnology team at Nature Communications in June 2020, where she now handles manuscripts in the areas of bioengineering and biomaterials.

Round table discussions

In these sessions you can join your colleagues in an informal discussion on a topic you have an academic and/or personal interest in.

Every discussion round will focus on one subject, including hot (and possibly controversial) scientific topics but also career related questions. No matter if you simply want to learn more about a certain topic, share your experiences, or ask for advice, these round table discussions are for you. Everyone can join, you do not have to be an expert!

You will be seated amongst other interested attendees and joined by expert moderators/ invited speakers. Discussion groups will be limited to a number of 10 people per table (without an audience), in order to give everyone the chance to contribute. For one hour you can freely exchange ideas and opinions, and connect to other researchers with common interests.

Sustainability – what is the future of plastic?

There still is a continuing demand for plastics. However, issues like the dependence on fossil fuel, energy consumption and littering, have never been as present in society as it is now. This social interest is also reflected in fundamental research. Various approaches, such as bio-based plastics, biodegradability, and circular economy, are being systematically investigated. But what can be implemented in reality on a large scale? What makes sense, and what would also have to change in society to solve the problems of our time?

What is the role of oligomers in neurodegenerative diseases?

Protein aggregation and the formation of amyloids are associated with neurodegenerative diseases. The self assembly from soluble proteins into insoluble amyloid fibrils is the hallmark these diseases share. Why the aggregation process starts and how the aggregation propagates is still not fully understood. Oligomers are key during this process – but to what extend?

Life-work-balance in academia

The demands on a scientist are tremendous and can hardly be fitted into a 40-hour week. In addition, there are temporary contracts and relocations. Many institutions offer their scientists no more support than participation in mental health courses (which may also take place in the evenings or on weekends).

How do you balance your work in academia with your life outside? Or would it perhaps be better not to want to separate professional and private life at all?

Science communication outside the ivory tower

In times of fake news and skepticism about science, the question arises whether scientists need to communicate more and better with the general public. We learn to write articles, to give talks at conferences, but explaining our research in a generally understandable way is difficult for many. Come and discuss: What exactly is our role in science communication? What formats and channels would be suitable for reaching people outside the ivory tower?

How do we learn the programming skills we need for our research?

Programming is an increasingly important part of scientific research. Whether for data analysis or for developing simulations, coding is a skill scientists can not afford not to learn. But what about the systems in place to learn this skill? Are lecture courses on basic programming enough to help young researchers become efficient and successful scientists? Can and should simulation development be an important part of academic studies? Or should programming skills be acquired via learning-by-doing and the occasional discussion with more experienced colleagues?

Which scientific activities besides my research are worth engaging in?

In addition to the actual work as a scientist (research, data analysis, publications, conferences, etc.), there are many opportunities to get involved in academia. Much is required and expected: peer review, university self-governance, science communication, work in committees and boards – the list is almost endless. At the same time, this can be also an opportunity to build a unique selling point and do what you enjoy. Join this table to share and find out what turned out to be worthwhile and also to what request it might be better to say no to.

Energy sources

The worldwide energy demand increases daily. Climate change is around the corner. We need to cut our fossil fuel consumption. Making the change into new and renewable energy sources is in dire need. The right way to achieve this, also on a global scale, is the one of the biggest tasks of our generation. In this discussion we want to focus less on the political task, but more on possible energy sources, challenges to use them, and the advantages and downsides they might bring.

Scientific Career – what do I need?

What is necessary to have a successfull scientific career? A lot of horror-stories and prejudices float around, of working all day – every day, having no time for family, or the need to have the one key/breakthrough idea to even be able to form a career upon. We are interested in your experiences and ideas: what does it really take for a career in science?

What does Gender have to do with Science?

Tomas Brage
(Lund University)

Science is often seen, by Scientists not the least, as objective and we believe we are surrounded by a “culture without culture”. At the same time our history, class and board rooms are dominated by men. This is a paradox that should awaken the curiosity of anyone. In this talk I will give some examples on how you can approach the question in the title. There have been several studies of Scientists and I will combine a discussion of these with some general theory and personal experiences, to paint a picture on how gender transgresses Science, like all other fields. By using the levels of change introduced by Schiebinger, I refer to studies of e.g. Anthropologists, Sociologists and Psychologists. The bias against women, since Science is stereotypically male, combined with the “myth of meritocracy” could be key to understand the lack of women in the field. The talk is intended as a translation of results from recent progress in Gender Science to an audience of non-experts in the field, especially people within STEM-fields. The aim is to give some answers to the question in the title, but also to show that this is an extremely interesting and active field of research.

Workshops for early career scientists

How to be visible and proactive without being uncomfortable – Authentic Self-presentation & Communication

You enjoy the scientific parts of the conference but feel awkward during the coffee breaks? Or do you want to work on your self-presentation and communication skills? This short workshop will provide you with some tools to increase your self-awareness and to get a conversation started and going. You will get some ideas on how to best introduce yourself and your research to others and you can directly apply this during the next coffee break!

This workshop needs prior registration here!

Anne Schreiter
(GSO)

Anne Schreiter is Executive Director of the German Scholars Organization (GSO), an independent nonprofit that advises, connects, promotes, and funds researchers who want to build a career in Germany. After receiving her PhD in Organizational Sociology from the University of St. Gallen, she spent a year as postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley, USA. Anne is a certified coach and advocate for early- and mid-career researchers. Learn more about her journey here. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Effective Visual Communication of Science

You will learn to visually communicate your complex research ideas and results so your messages are effortlessly understood by any specific audience (scientists or non-scientists). We will not focus on aesthetics but on how knowledge on human visual perception can help you create effective scientific images, slides, and posters. You will design a graphical abstract of your research, discuss it with peer scientists in a group exercise, and get actionable advice and feedback on your own images and slides. It is an immersive workshop, comprehensive, structured, memorable, easy to follow, useful and fun.

Before the conference you will get access to a self-study online course that has to be completed before our conference workshop with other participants on March 2! Plan at least 3.5 hours of self-study to get the best value and results!

Register here (limited number of participants)!

Dr. Jernej Zupanc

Dr. Jernej Zupanc, Founder of Seyens Ltd.
My goal is to help scientists effectively communicate your ideas and findings and make an impact with your research. Teaching and communication are my professional passions. I read and study eclectically and am always looking for approaches from different fields that can be easily applied by scientists. I distill the principles and practices into easy to understand and fun learning experiences. Time is our most valuable resource and I want the time spent in my training to be the best long-term investment a scientist can make. I’ve worked with close to 5000 researchers from 150 excellent research institutions (feedback on TrustPilot) and hope to work with you too.

Invited Speakers (confirmed)

  • Friederike Adams (University of Stuttgart, Germany)
  • Paolo Arosio (ETH Zürich, Switzerland)
  • Kostas Daoulas (Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research Mainz, Germany)
  • Oleksandr Dolynchuk (University of Halle, Germany)
  • Ilja Gunkel (Adolphe Merkle Institute Fribourg, Switzerland)
  • Wolfgang Hoyer (University Düsseldorf, Germany)
  • Meytal Landau (Israel Institute of Technology, Israel)
  • Sébastien Lecommandoux (Bordeaux Institute of Technology, France)
  • Karen Lienkamp (Saarland University, Germany)
  • Sara Linse (Lund University, Sweden)
  • Georg Meisl (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom)
  • Günter Reiter (University of Freiburg, Germany)
  • Alicyn Rhoades (Penn State Behrend, USA)
  • Leire Sangroniz (University of Minnesota, USA)
  • Birgit Strodel (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany)