EYCN at the 7th EuChemS Chemistry Congress

EYCN with Professor Ben Feringa (and Prof. Dr. Chicken)

I saw Professor Ben Feringa sitting at the back of the room. I had to get out and double check I was in the right room. It clearly said ‘European Young Chemists’ Network’ – it was the right place. If a Nobel laureate had decided to come and listen, did that mean that the session had been a success? I personally believe so. But not only because of him. Throughout the entire week, we saw many very prestigious people come and go in the EYCN sessions: editors from the most respected chemistry journals, leading senior researchers, top-level representatives from several chemical societies… and even the world-famous Twitter star Prof. Dr. Chicken!

How did we achieve it?

We certainly couldn’t have done it without the overwhelming and continuous support of the Royal Society of Chemistry since we started planning this conference. I remember how immediately after the closing ceremony of the 6th EuChemS Chemistry Congress in Sevilla, Spain, Robert Parker FRSC, CEO of the Royal Society of Chemistry, promised me that EYCN would be central in Liverpool. The events team at the Royal Society of Chemistry ensured this promise was kept and maintained a close collaboration with our network throughout the process of planning the Liverpool Congress. The finance team secured funding to guarantee the viability of our programme, and we are very grateful to have counted on them and our sponsors – Unilever, C&EN, EuChemS, Mestrelab, and the Royal Society of Chemistry itself. The press and communications team worked extremely hard to promote our activities online, and even teamed up with Chemistry World to publish a timely article on ‘the craft of organising conferences.’ I was also very lucky to count on an incredible team within our own EYCN, especially our Chair and Secretary – Alice Soldà and Torsten John. During almost two years we had dozens of meetings, exchanged hundreds of emails, and spent many hours working together to tailor a programme that was the perfect fit for early career chemists in Liverpool.

Our secret? The EYCN symposium was designed by young chemists for young chemists. For the first time in the history of the EYCN we included invited scientific talks – and they were a huge success. We were able to gather fantastic early career chemists from a huge variety of fields and a diverse pool of countries that, despite their young age, already lead their respective research groups and have been awarded the most prestigious grants and awards in Europe.

We also made an effort to highlight the hard work of societies that gather young chemists and promote their work. It was great to see so many societies represented, and to see how all of them are continuously growing and undertaking new, demanding challenges. We also featured a couple of very interesting sessions on the mistakenly called “non-traditional” career paths, with extraordinary panels of speakers both for our science communication and industry talks. And we also learnt some of the secrets of EU funding. Because there are so many calls for funding – and the subsequent confusing landscape it generates, we brought some great experts in the field to unveil all the hush-hush behind the most important grants.

I would also like to highlight the session dedicated to the European Young Chemist Award, a reputable prize that we co-organise in close collaboration with the Italian Chemical Society (SCI) and the Italian Federazione Nazionale degli Ordini dei Chimici e dei Fisici. The contributions by the finalists were outstanding, and the jury most certainly had a hard time in making a final decision. And last but not least, I would like to thank EuChemS for supporting, once again, our Younger Chemists Crossing Borders (YCCB) exchange programme. Organised with our colleagues from the Younger Chemists’ Committee of the American Chemical Society, this programme aims at the scientific and cultural dialogue between younger chemists on both sides of the pond. I was a guest to YCCB 2015 myself, and I look forward to seeing how this programme continues to grow. Hopefully it will also become more and more international – I am sure the recent genesis of the International Younger Chemists’ Network will soon make this dream come true.

Thank you all for coming – here at EYCN, we are already looking forward to Lisbon 2020!

Fernando Gomollon Bel
Past Chair, EYCN

Young Chemists Crossing Borders (YCCB) – from Boston to Liverpool

YCCB exchange participants. From left to right: Sebastian Weber, GDCh-JCF delegate; Sophie Carenco, YCCB 2015 Awardee; Lori Ferrins; Catherine Rawlins (front); Caitlyn Mills; Torsten John, EYCN Secretary; Fernando Gomollón-Bel, EYCN Advisor and Past-Chair. Photo: Antonio M. Rodríguez/EYCN

Chemists and chemical societies strive for the exchange of ideas and collaborate on projects across borders. The world we live in is the most connected it has ever been. Science, but also trade and politics, stand in a globalised network of an ever-growing complex world. As a logical consequence of indistinct borders, the young generation needs to make the best from the opportunities which this development offers. International collaboration is a chance, but also a task in the future work environment. Preparing young chemists for a globalised world and revealing to them the opportunities are some of the many goals of the Young Chemists Crossing Borders (YCCB) exchange programme.

The YCCB exchange programme was established as part of the International Year of Chemistry between the Younger Chemists Committee (YCC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the EuChemS European Young Chemists’ Network (EYCN). Since then, students, alternating from the US and Europe, attend a EuChemS Chemistry Congress or ACS National Meeting. This programme, organised between the young divisions of the chemical societies across the Atlantic, supports talented students that are also engaged in their chemical societies.

YCCB exchange participants. From left to right: Jens Breffke, Chair of the International Activities Committee (IAC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS); Elena Lenci; Thomas Gilbert, ACS Board of Directors; Andra-Lisa Hoyt; Emanuel Ehmki, former EYCN Board Member; Dušan Petrović; Alexandre Herve; Csaba Janáky, EYCN Co-Founder; Jackie O’Neil, ACS YCC International Presence. Photo: Brian D’Amico/NESACS

This year, four students from Europe attended the 256th ACS National Meeting in Boston. The jury awarded Alexandre Herve (France), Andra-Lisa Hoyt (Germany), Elena Lenci (Italy) and Dušan Petrović (Sweden) with this exchange opportunity. In addition to the scientific agenda all ACS meetings offer, the YCCB programme provided a social and cultural programme. Dušan Petrović, one of the European participants, valued the opportunities to network with colleagues while exploring American culture. The YCCB awardees visited, for example, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. They also enjoyed a baseball game at the legendary Fenway Park.

Networking, a vital feature emphasised by career advisors, was a no-brainer. Attending conferences allows students not only to present their research with a talk or poster, but also to connect with other chemists from around the globe. The YCCB exchange programme connects young chemists that share excitement and enthusiasm for science and their chemical societies. It is no wonder that many past and present participants fulfil roles as chairs or board members in their chemical society or young chemists’ division.

The three awardees from the US, Lori Ferrins, Caitlyn Mills and Catherine Rawlins, attended the 7th EuChemS Chemistry Congress in Liverpool. All of them are very engaged in the 2017 launched International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN). Lori Ferrins, one of the US participants and Vice-Chair of the IYCN, appreciated the “networking opportunities and the fantastic symposia programme which highlighted some of the incredible work that younger chemists are doing around the world”. Next to the conference, the YCCB awardees also visited the Unilever labs at the Materials Innovation Factory at the University of Liverpool.

Crossing Borders in science between disciplines, between academia and industry and between countries and continents subsists on the personal exchange of chemists. YCCB is an excellent example for achieving such a goal. Only the grateful support from EuChemS, the ACS, and our sponsors enables this programme and its future exchanges. These unique opportunities allow young chemists early in their careers to develop personal skills, to build international networks and to get involved in EuChemS and ACS activities. Independent of political situations, personal bonds connect young chemists across borders.


Torsten John
 Secretary, EYCN

ChemRxiv: Year One and Beyond

This time last year, ChemRxiv was launched with the goal to become the world’s premier preprint server focused on the chemical sciences, and what a year it has been! This spring, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and the German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, GDCh) joined the American Chemical Society (ACS) as co-owners. This three-society group provides experience and expertise in meeting authors’ needs and is well-positioned to provide strong governance for ChemRxiv in addition to promoting the chemical sciences around the globe. ChemRxiv has attracted more than 450 different submitting authors (who posted over 500 original preprints and more than 200 revisions) and readers from 40 different countries. These preprints are being developed into full research publications and are now appearing in top journals, including ACS Central Science, Angewandte Chemie, Chemical Science, Nature, and Science, underscoring the excellent quality of the submissions to ChemRxiv. Just as impressive are our readers’ responses, with preprints read more than 500,000 times in this first year.

Full article available at

Governing Board, ChemRxiv
(Rich Kidd; Wolfram Koch; James Milne; Irina Sens; Sarah Tegen; Emma Wilson; et al.)