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Students’ First Forays Abroad

ACS travel awards support international experiences

by Steven Meyers, Special to C&EN
February 6, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 6

Credit: Steven Meyers/ACS
Francisco (second from right) and the 2011 awardees enjoy dinner at a Bremen pub.
Former ACS President Joseph S. Francisco enjoys dinner at a Bremen, Germany, pub with the 2011 awardees of an ACS travel awards program that provides American students with the opportunity to present their research at a chemistry conference outside the U.S.
Credit: Steven Meyers/ACS
Francisco (second from right) and the 2011 awardees enjoy dinner at a Bremen pub.

International networks and global experiences are becoming increasingly important for the success of the next generation of scientists. However, the process for making that first foray into the international community is not always readily apparent or easy for young chemists.


Program details:

ACS is sponsoring up to 10 all-inclusive travel awards to attend the 4th EuCheMS Chemistry Congress in Prague, Czech Republic, Aug. 26−30

Award coverage:

Round-trip airfare, lodging, registration, meals, international travel medical insurance

Applicant eligibility criteria:

ACS member, U.S. citizen or permanent resident, graduate student enrolled at a U.S. institution

Application deadline:

March 14

Learn more and apply now:

To help ease their transition, the American Chemical Society has established a travel awards program to provide American students with the opportunity to present their research at a chemistry conference outside the U.S.

This year, ACS will provide up to 10 travel awards for American graduate students to attend the 4th Congress of the European Association for Chemical & Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS) in Prague, Czech Republic, Aug. 26–30.

ACS launched the program, which is run by the Office of International Activities, by sending 21 award recipients to a conference in Germany in 2011. The undergraduate and graduate chemistry students presented their research at the national meeting of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh, the German Chemical Society) in Bremen, Germany, in early September. ACS has an alliance with GDCh, which contributed time and material support to make the program a success. “We were delighted to host these students and to give them the opportunity to be exposed to the excellent chemistry highlighted in Bremen and to present their research to the German chemistry community,” says Wolfram Koch, GDCh executive director.

During the conference, the students attended technical sessions, a special session given by German funding agencies highlighting in-country scholarships for Americans, and social events attended by the leadership of both societies. Former ACS president Joseph S. Francisco traveled to Bremen for the event and enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the young chemists. “For many of them, this was their first experience outside the U.S., and they seemed to really enjoy Germany,” Francisco says. “I was particularly impressed with how passionate the students were about their research, and I enjoyed talking to them about their work and their future plans.”

After the conference, the students reported the experience to be beneficial for both their personal and professional growth. They awarded high marks to the effectiveness of the meeting in helping build their networks for future scientific collaborations and for its impact on their general views about scientific societies and professional meetings. One student commented that the award caused him to realize “that I can receive my education anywhere in the world, not just in the U.S.”

The ACS travel awards currently being offered to the 4th EuCheMS Congress in Prague will attempt to achieve the same results for a new group of talented graduate students. The selected students will present their research to an international audience and engage in a variety of arranged activities. Award recipients will also gain access to a breadth of chemical expertise and knowledge from across Europe and the world—past conferences involved delegates from upward of 60 nations. The conference organizers expect attendees to present 2,000 scientific and professional papers across a range of symposium topics organized into 10 main sessions.

ACS will use competitive, merit-based peer review to select up to 10 recipients for the all-inclusive travel awards. Graduate students interested in applying should not only think about the research they could present but should also consider how the experience would benefit their chosen career path and why they hope to attend the EuCheMS Congress specifically.

For most students this will be their first chance to experience the scientific world outside of the U.S., and for many this will be their first time to leave the country. “This opportunity will be a tremendous experience for the students to engage in international networking and bolster their career development and scientific horizons,” says Josef Michl, EuCheMS Congress chairman.


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