By Dimitri Reijerman, FHI
Because of the corona pandemic, the international MicroNanoConference 2020 will be a virtual event this year. Professor Maarten Honing, working at the Maastricht University and active in the MicroNanoConference organization, is sharing some highlights of the upcoming conference with us.
Honing says the pandemic has had it’s impact on the industry in general: “The development of new techniques and technology continues, even in this corona crisis. In some cases, even the R&D focus for some companies has changed. We all know the development of rapid corona tests for example. There are about five or more of these tests, and as a chemical analyst I would love to see the real performance of all these test over the next year period, and understand why some of these tests result in false negatives or false positives.”
And there’s the business itself, Honing says: “I also think many smaller companies in the micronano industry have had some financial difficulties, as larger industrial partners slowed down their R&D, as an example. On the other hand, you can design certain technologies at home, from behind your computer, so innovation will always continue.”
Corona has had an interesting influence on the MicroNanoConference this year, the professor says: “We always ask for abstracts or presentations for a new conference. On basis of quality and other aspects we try to group these presentations in overarching themes. With de digital edition this year we are able to send more focused invites to people. This way we get even more focused themes. We also get the opportunity to invite more international speakers.”
According to Honing, there are many highlights during the digital edition: “This year we will have some special sessions. One of them talks about human capital with the central question: ‘How important is human capital for the small manufacturing industry?’ The other one is ‘Creating new business’, where three people who helped start-ups talk about how to get from an idea to a viable company. Which strategies are there to get in business? Which hurdles arise and why do some companies fail? And our poster sessions will be accompanied this edition by pitches. So the scientists can pitch their research in about two to three minutes in separate sessions online.”
There’s one session Honing is really looking forward to: “Some keynote speakers from The Netherlands will sketch their vision about where the micronano industry is going. In this panel discussion titled ‘Vision on nanotechnology’ the attendees will talk about what the Dutch industry needs to be doing. And again, the sessions about funding systems for start-ups and human capital are very interesting from my point of view.”
Registration for the iMNC2020 is still possible via the site. If you cannot attend the sessions live, you have until January 1, 2021 to watch the sessions again. Register: https://www.micronanoconference.org