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Last Friday saw the online live finals of the 'profielwerkstuk' competition 'Imagination at Work' of Centrum JongerenCommunicatie Chemie (C3). The victory went to students of Canisius College Nijmegen, who investigated the capture of CO2 using porous materials. They were coached by Stefania Grecea and Andreea Gheorghe of the Functional Materials research group at the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS). All other finalists were also coached by HIMS researchers.

prize winners cas and thijn
Victory for Cas and Thijn! Image: C3.

Cas Revenberg and Thijn Koopman each received a cheque for 500 euros as a contribution to their studies. According to jury chairwoman Margot Verwei of Avans University of Applied Sciences, the two excelled with a clear presentation in which they clearly linked their study to climate change and global warming. In addition, they were able to explain the technical aspects of their subject in a very comprehensible way.

Imagination at Work is the national chemistry 'profielwerkstuk' (profile paper) competition, in which high school students collaborate with scientists and experts on cutting-edge research regarding issues such as sustainability, food, climate, energy and health. In late March, C3 announced the finalists after all participants had spent six months reporting on their progress via C3's Instagram account. All finalists turned out to be coached by chemists from the UvA:

Cas en Thijn, Canisius College Nijmegen (winners)
Teacher: Esther Broen.
Topic: Capturing CO2 using porous materials.
Scientists: Stefania Grecea, Andreea Gheorghe.

Anne en Lotte, CSG Jan Arentsz Alkmaar
Teacher: Edward Kuijer.
Topic: Waste as a raw material for chemistry.
Scientists: Chris Slootweg, Steven Beijer.

Jeroen en Kim, Rijnlands Lyceum Sassenheim
Teacher: Pieter Smid.
Topic: Capturing CO2 using porous materials.
Scientists: Stefania Grecea, Suzanne Reus.

The previous edition of Imagination at work also saw the winning team mentored by HIMS researchers. Pupils from the Bernardinuscollege in Heerlen then worked on their profile paper on sustainable energy with Joost Reek and Joeri Hessels from HIMS and Monalisa Goswami from HIMS spin-off Spark904. All this illustrates the importance that researchers at HIMS place on good education and communicating more broadly about chemistry. Another recent example of this is the Sisters in Science initiative.