This year, the theme of the symposium was 'Functional Organic Materials', with sessions on chiral, bioinspired, polymeric, supramolecular and porous materials. Talks from invited speakers ranged from 'Aromatic foldamer-based protein mimicry and recognition' by Professor Ivan Huc to 'Computational discovery of molecular materials' by Dr Kim Jelfs.
Kim said: "It’s exactly the area on functional organic materials I am interested in. There’s such an exciting line-up of speakers, and it’s a really nice-sized event which makes it really easy to talk to everyone and meet lots of people," adding: "It’ll be really nice to see how it develops."
Alongside listening to guest speakers, the meeting provided an opportunity for attendees to present their research in traditional poster sessions, or 'flash' poster sessions in front of a seated audience.
In particular, plenty of early career researchers (ECRs) were in attendance for opportunities to network and share their research – with prizes on offer.
Alex James, a third year PhD student at the University of Sheffield, was presenting a poster on self-assembled porous polymeric materials which can be used to detect explosive materials via fluorescence, or to produce pure white light.
He said: "The reason I’m here today is to network with people in my area, and also to hear about the different chemistry that is happening outside my area – the ChemSci conference is quite diverse in that respect."
Andy Cooper told us that engaging ECRs is a key focus for the journal, which will shortly be announcing a platform for their work.
He also used his opening address to highlight that the journal’s editorial board are looking for bold research: "We’re really keen to encourage submissions in new, speculative areas, and in papers that raise questions rather than answers. So if you have such studies, think about Chemical Science as the journal to submit to," he said.
Throughout both days, members of the Chemical Science editorial team and board were amongst attendees to discuss the journal, which went gold open access in 2015 – meaning that it is free to read and free to submit to.
Attendees were also able to meet and provide feedback to the developers behind the journal’s new submission and tracking tool, which has been designed for a quicker submission process and to allow researchers to follow their paper throughout review.