Nearly 2,500 students, researchers, industry representatives and academics came together for the 98th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, held June 13-17 in Ottawa. The conference, hosted by the University of Ottawa’s Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences and themed “Chemistry in a Sustainable World,” showcased delegates’ research in 79 symposia. The inaugural International UK/Canada Symposium at the Inorganic Chemistry Frontier was also hosted by uOttawa.

Focusing on innovation and professional development, the conference featured plenary speakers Omar Yaghi of the University of California-Berkeley and Robin Rogers of McGill University, sporting his signature red jacket. Yaghi spoke on “Design of Sequences in Metal-organic Frameworks for clean energy” while Rogers addressed “Green Chemistry and Advanced Materials from Renewable Polymers: Education, Research, and Entrepreneurship to Motivate the Next Generation of Scientists.” 

Another highlight was Axel Becke, winner of both the 2015 CIC Medal and the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, who presented the lecture “Full Circle: A Career in Density-functional Theory.”

The meeting saw the highest number of Professional Development events in conference history, kicking off June 13 with the sold-out CSC Professional Development Day, “Building Your Value as an Aspirational Chemist.” The talk featured Zhongxin Zhou, senior director at Gilead Sciences in Edmonton, as well as an interactive career discussion panel between students and prominent figures in industry and academia. Another popular workshop, “Build Your Career Home: Developing Your Career Plan as a Professional Chemist,” was led by Rina Carlini of Ontario’s Optimal Science Consulting. 

B. Mario Pinto, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), presented the talk, “Industry-Academia Partnership.” That was followed by the CIC/CGCEN Business Innovation Symposium, which featured talks by chemical industrialists and chemical trade associations on current and upcoming innovations and challenges facing today’s chemists. The keynote address was given by Stéphane Marie-Rose, R&D manager at Enerkem Inc. in Sherbrooke, Que. 

These events served to highlight the importance of guiding the next generation of chemists along their career paths, a key message which will certainly be taken into account at next year’s “Chemistry: The Next Wave” conference, hosted by Dalhousie University in Halifax June 5-9.