The biennial International Sol-gel conference is organized by the International Sol-gel Society (ISGS). In recent years, each of these events brought together more than 500 participants. The growing interest in these conferences by leading scientists from different universities and laboratories throughout the world speaks in favor of sol-gel technologies becoming a hot topic in the modern academic community. As of now, the sol-gel society unites researchers from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
ISGS offers scientists from all around the world various opportunities for promoting their research and establishing useful connections within society. To encourage young scientists in the field of sol-gel technologies, ISGS founded the prestigious international Ulrich Award. In previous years, it’s from Germany, France, USA, Spain, Italy and Japan have also received the award; this year was the first time that Russian scientists - Vladimir Vinogradov, Head of the Solution Chemistry of Advanced Materials and Technologies (SCAMT) international laboratory and Aleksander Vinogradov, Director of ITMO's Biochemistry Cluster, got the award.
This was also the year that the scientists proposed to conduct the next International Sol-Gel Conference in St. Petersburg. In March, ITMO University sent the application to ISGS; for the right to host the anniversary event, it had to compete with educational institutions from Greece and Switzerland. In the end, it was chosen as the 2019's conference site.
"As the most non-classical university, ITMO used a unique approach to making its application. According to many of the board's members, its very spirit was the decisive factor for its success. The focus on young scientists, unique conditions for workshops and science communication courses were praised by everyone, notes Vladimir Vinogradov. This will be a signature event for both ITMO University and Russia in general, and especially for our laboratory which was very quick to take its place among the world's leaders. Sol-gel chemistry is really diverse and can be applied in various fields, which is why this conference is a great opportunity to be recognized by many academic communities."
The ceremony for the Ulrich Award took place during the current Sol-Gel Conference in Leige, Belgium, during which Vladimir Vinogradov and Alexander Vinogradov presented a report of SCAMT's activities and results. They also presented ITMO University's application to host the next International Sol-Gel Conference.
In 2019, ITMO is planning to welcome about 800 conference participants; the organizers plan to focus on attracting young scientists, who will get an opportunity to get discounts on registration through participation in special competitions. Apart from the traditional lectures, the event's program will include workshops by the SCAMT Laboratory and open lectures on science communication by ITMO University's Center for Science Communication.The conference's main site will be ITMO University's building on Lomonosova 9; the plenary opening and closing sessions will take place at the new stage of the Alexandrinsky Theatre. All the relevant information about the conference will be published on its official website.