The ECTN General Assembly took place at the Department of Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology (DCBB) of the University of Perugia, Italy on 11-12 September 2021.
This was a very successful hybrid meeting with 30 members present in Perugia and 32 members joining online. It was chaired by Emmanuel Sinagra, Head of Chemistry and Dean of the Faculty of Science, University of Malta, who ended his 3-year mandate as President of ECTN at the end of the session. He becomes the ECTN Vice-President for the next two years. He handed over the reins of the Association to Sanjiv Prashar, Professor of Chemistry at Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, who becomes our new President.
Marjan Veber (University of Ljubljana) was re-elected as ECTN Treasurer, and three members of the Administrative Council, Lucjan Chmielarz (Jagiellonian University, Krakow), Cristina Femoni (University of Bologna), and Noelia Faginas Lago (University of Perugia) were re-elected for a further 3-year mandate as Ordinary Members of the Administrative Council.
The ECTN was welcomed to the University of Perugia by Prof. A. Macchioni (Director of the DCBB) and Prof. N. Balucani, Head of the School of Chemistry. They gave short presentations of the Department and the School of Chemistry, respectively.
The first plenary lecture, concerning technology transfer, was given by Prof. G. Cruciani, the Deputy Rector for Technology Transfer at Perugia University. He gave three recent examples of how bringing together university researchers and private companies, and facilitating dialogue between them, has led to successes in guanidine thiocyanate production (needed to abstract and analyse RNA SARS-Cov2 virus), surface sensitizer production, and finding a non-toxic substitute for Fibronil.
This was followed by a presentation of the Erasmus+ project STEM-CPD@EUni, of which ECTN is a partner, by Prof. Iwona Maciejowska (Jagiellonian University, Krakow). Details of this project, whose aim is to promote the idea of discipline-oriented Continuous Professional Development among STEM lecturers, can be found on the ectn.eu website.
A presentation of the activities of the European Young Chemists Network (EYCN) was given by Max Mensch, the EYCN President. We look forward to developing strong links with this very active network which is a part of EuChemS.
On the second day of our meeting we were provided with two presentations, a plenary lecture by Jürgen Langlet (MNU Germany) and a flash presentation by Javier Lacadena (Complutense University, Madrid). Jürgen Langlet presented the work carried out by the MNU (German Federal Association for Mathematics and Natural Sciences teachers committed to quality and progress in STEM teaching) to produce a Common Reference Framework for Natural Sciences (CRFS) using the model developed in the Common European Reference Framework for Languages (CERFL) that so successfully created the A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2 levels for language competences in Europe. The report can be downloaded from the MNU website at www.mnu.de
Javier Lacadena presented the work done at the Complutense University, Madrid on using the EChemTest as an evaluation tool in chemistry to compare students in three different teaching programmes: students taking chemistry with students taking a chemistry double degree; students taught in English with students taught in Spanish; and students taking their course in the mornings with those taking the course in the afternoons. The results were limited due to the Covid pandemic and the comparison will be made again in 2021/22. However it was clear that the EChemTest is a valuable tool for assessing students’ knowledge and skills in chemistry. More details are provided on the VEC Committee pages of the ectn.eu website.
The following is a list of activities/actions that ECTN has agreed to work on. It provides many activities in which members are urged to participate. The more you put into the work of the ECTN the more you will get out of it.
- Set up a system for providing associate or emeritus membership of ECTN to keep ex-members informed of our activities and allow them to participate after retirement;
- Link ECTN to the EuChemS work party on Ethics in Chemistry.
- Submit at least one ERASMUS+ project proposal per year.
- Members are invited to propose people for the ECTN Award of Merit.
- Encourage each ECTN member to nominate at least one person to work on one or more of the EChemTest question libraries, especially General Chemistry 1 and General Chemistry 2.
- Encourage each ECTN member to enter their students in the EChemTest competitions (see details on the Students Activities work group web pages).
- Encourage each ECTN member to provide at least one person to help with translating the Chemistry in Everyday Life EChemTest. See details on the webpages of this work group.
- The Chemistry Student Mobility database is going to be improved and updated. Once this has been done we will launch a campaign to get all ECTN members to provide details for this database.
- The ECTN is a partner in an ERASMUS+ project proposal, DISTINCT, for Digital Support in Chemistry Teaching. The coordinator, Marek Frankowicz (Jagiellonian University Krakow) has not yet received the result of this application. However, we will work on at least some of the proposed activities in the project whether it is accepted or not.
- We need to publicise ECTN more. We plan to revamp the website and have a wide ranging publicity campaign. We seek your suggestion for this.
- We wish to set up new working groups, one per year, and invite members to submit proposals to the Administrative Council. Proposals should include the proposed clear remit for the new group, and the names of 3 or 4 people who will form the core of the group. The group can apply for ECTN funds if they believe this is necessary.
- We encourage all members to apply for Eurolabels® and we seek to increase the number of accreditation agencies licensed to award these labels. A publicity campaign for this will be launched.
This list is by no means complete and further activities will be publicized later. There is plenty there for all members to get active in the ECTN.
Noelia Faginas Lago and her team, and Nineta Hrastelj and Anna Robinson, were all sincerely thanked for the great organization of the meeting both in Perugia and online. The Department of Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Perugia are thanked for hosting our meeting.
The 2022 ECTN General Assembly will take place in Budapest on 8 – 9 April 2022 and will be organized jointly by Livia Simon Sarkadi (Institute for Food Science and Technology, the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Hungarian Chemical Society.