ERC Organizes Summer School in Netherlands That Attracts Over 100 Participants

Achievement date: 

The Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at Iowa State University (ISU), organized a summer school at Utrecht, Netherlands in conjunction with the Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program and the Dutch consortium CatchBio. An impressive lineup of renowned international speakers discussed the fundamental principles and design rules for integrating biocatalysts, microbial systems, and chemical catalysts. Invited lecturers assessed the state-of-the-art, and a panel discussion provided ample time for addressing challenges in the integration of biocatalysis and chemical catalysis.


This 2015 summer school's focus on “Integration and Synergy between Biocatalysis and Chemical Catalysis for Biorenewable Conversions” attracted over one hundred participants from the Netherlands and United States (see figure). Summer schools like this, when held in conjunction with a conference organized by local hosts, offer unique opportunities for participants to learn from and interact with a large cross-section of international researchers. In this case the summer school was held in conjunction with the International Symposium on Scientific Relations between Homogenous and Heterogeneous Catalysis (ISHHC – 17), which took place during July 12-15 and attracted several hundred world-class researchers in the field of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis.   


The CBiRC international program has provided opportunities for students, post-docs, and faculty to collaborate with partners in the four EU countries that were part of this program. The U.S. participants who made trips abroad were distributed among those for research, for collaboration, and for attendance at the summer schools.

Organizers of this summer school were Abhaya Datye (PIRE and CBiRC International Program Director), Brent Shanks (CBiRC Director), and Bert M. Weckhuysen (CatchBio Director). Among the speakers were Abhaya Datye (University of New Mexico), Linda Broadbelt (Northwestern University), Roger Sheldon (TU Delft), John Woodley (TU Denmark), Matthew Neurock (University of Virginia), Regina Palkovits (RWTH Aachen), and Bert Weckhuysen (Utrecht University).