‘Global Challenges in Inorganic Chemistry’ (GCIC) is a free, virtual, half-day conference hosted by the OxICFM CDT. The aim of this student-led event is to encourage current undergraduate students to pursue graduate study in synthetic inorganic chemistry by showcasing inspiring and promising research from renowned groups from across the breadth of the field. The first edition of this summer conference took place on June 24th 2021. Three international speakers were invite, allowing the students to hear cutting edge science directly from the people who discovered it – an opportunity they probably would not get otherwise.
The event featured talks from Teri Odom (Northwestern University), Danna Freedman (MIT) and Omar Yaghi (UC Berkeley) presenting on drug-loaded gold nanostars, quantum systems and the application of MOFs to harvest water from for example desert air. Each talk was followed by a short Q&A session, stimulating some interesting discussions from all involved. This gave the undergraduate students a chance not only to experience a conference environment, but also to ask questions and interact with the speakers.
After the talks, attendees had the opportunity to have an informal chat with current graduate students from the OxICFM CDT. Set-up in small groups and a relaxed environment, undergraduate students were able to clear any potential queries related to graduate studies.
The first GCIC meeting was a huge success, with over 200 delegates registered and at least 65% of those being undergraduate students. Entirely organised by OxICFM CDT students, the aim is for this meeting to become a reoccurring annual event, with which we can improve understanding and foster motivation of graduate studies in inorganic chemistry.