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On 10 April, pupils from the Bernardinus college in Heerlen won the first prize at the competition 'Imagination at Work' organized by the Dutch 'Centrum JongerenCommunicatie Chemie'. For their research paper on sustainable energy, they collaborated with Prof. Joost Reek and Joeri Hessels MSc of the University of Amsterdam's Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS), and Dr Monalisa Goswami of HIMS spin-off Spark904.

Pupils from the Bernardinus college are the winners of Imagination at Work
Image: Centrum JongerenCommunicatie Chemie.

During the finals at Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in Leiden, Rutger Berns, Jesper Alzer, Milou Dewez, and Sterre Zambon outcompeted four other student teams. Their presentation on solar fuel and the role of new iron-based catalysts for water oxidation catalysis convinced the jury and as a result they each won a check of 500 euros as a contribution to their studies.

The winners of the poster competition that was also held during Imagination at Work, Niels Ruijten, Jelle Biegel, Maran Dijkhuizen and Rixt de Laat from GSG Leo Vroman from Gouda, were also guided by Reek and Goswami, together with Didjay Bruggeman MSc (also from HIMS). Their subject was "Hydrogen, blue for green." They won an exclusive tour of BlueCity Rotterdam, an inspiring place where circular companies jointly head for an economy in which waste does not exist.

Sustainability, nutrition, and climate

Imagination at Work is a program in which secondary school students (vmbo, havo, and vwo) working on their final school research project ('profielwerkstuk') are given the opportunity to work together with young researchers from industry and higher education on current issues related to sustainability, nutrition and climate.

pupils Bernardinus college Heerlen @ HIMS
The winning team in the HIMS laboratories. Image: Centrum JongerenCommunicatie Chemie.

This not only provides them insight into sustainability issues but also offers valuable encounters with scientists and professionals from the chemical and life sciences.

It encourages students to think about who they want to be, what they want to become, what further education fit in with that, and what consequences that has for their choices during high school.

Bachelor of chemistry in Amsterdam

The University of Amsterdam offers a joint Chemistry bachelor program with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) at two locations: the Science Park (UvA) and the Zuidas (VU). The course covers all areas of expertise within chemistry and deals with important issues such as sustainable chemistry and energy, climate change and chemistry related to health.