Rideal Travel Bursary Recipient, Xioahan Chen, reports from EUROPACAT 2017, Florence, Italy

06 November 2017

6 Nov 2017

Xiaohan Chen was awarded the Rideal Travel Bursary to attend at The 13th European Congress on Catalysis (EUROPACAT 2017), Florence, Italy, 27 - 31 August 2017. Here she tells us about the conference and her opportunity to enhance her knowledge and expertise on the field of catalysis and the opportunity to network with researchers from all over the world.

‘The 13th European Congress on Catalysis (EUROPACAT 2017) was held from 27 to 31 August, 2017 at Palazzo dei Congressi in Florence, Italy. The congress was organized by ERIC aisbl (European Research Institute of Catalysis) and the Italian Group of Catalysis of the Italian Chemical Society (Società Chimica Italiana), in collaboration with the Division of Industrial Chemistry of SCI and the University Consortium on Science and Technology of Materials (INSTM). The congress showed the important role of catalysis in enabling our sustainable future, shining a light on the theme “A bridge to the future”. The congress was large, bringing together approximately 1700 participants, among which around 600 were students, from 55 countries around the world with over 60 companies participating. The congress was divided into 6 kinds of symposia, with 4 parallel sessions located in 8 theatres. This enabled attendees to concentrate on the presentations that were most related to their research. Meanwhile, I could always find a presentation that I was interested in, leading to my fruitful conference experience.

'I delivered a presentation entitled ‘Selective hydrogenation of aromatic carboxylic acids over Pt-Sn catalysts’. The talk presented my research of generating aromatic alcohols from hydrogenation of aromatic carboxylic acids using Pt-Sn catalysts. High selectivity and activity of the noble catalysts in a series of benzoic acid derivatives reactions at mild conditions was found by our group, and the catalysts can be widely applied in pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries. I was able to find other attendees from this field too. For example, Dr Takashi Toyao presented their research in hydrogenation of carboxylic acids and their derivatives but using the rhenium based catalysts. He was greatly interested in my work and we had a long discussion after my talk. I also went to read his poster and it was very kind of him to answer my many questions. As a result, I got a better understanding of my work as well.

'Apart from learning from other researchers’ work, the congress was also a great opportunity for networking. The congress provided a platform for researchers in the field of catalysis to communicate with each other, make and discuss with old and new friends and, moreover, build up collaborations between research groups from all over the world. By communicating with these experts in catalysis, I learned not only knowledge in my field of work, but also built up a responsibility in enabling a sustainable future for our society.

'Attending this conference was a wonderful experience for me. The high-quality presentations given by excellent presenters have inspired me to go further in the amazing world of catalysis. The congress also gave me the opportunity to network and connect with outstanding researchers worldwide.

'I would like to take this opportunity to thank the SCI-RSC Rideal Trust for awarding me this travel grant for the financial contribution that gave me the opportunity to attend this international conference.’

Xiaohan Chen
PhD Student
University of Manchester

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