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“Bioplastics – Science Meets Industry” with almost 300 participants

The Institute for Applied Biopolymer Research at Hof University of Applied Sciences (ibp) held its first symposium on March 3 and 4 this year under the motto “Bioplastics – Science Meets Industry”. The conference focused on the synthesis, processing, application and degradation of bioplastics. Thanks to funding from the European Social Fund (EFS) in Bavaria, the Upper Franconia Foundation and the Friends and Sponsors of Hof University of Applied Sciences, participation was free of charge. The event took place online.

Kübra Aslan and Lucas Großmann led through the conference as moderators;
Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences

5 plenary lectures with panel discussion, 15 scientific presentations in 4 sessions and a poster session with 15 scientific posters on the individual main topics awaited the 271 participants at the 2-day conference. The awards for the best poster and the best oral presentation went to HYDRA Marine Sciences GmbH and the Chair of Systems Biotechnology at the Technical University of Munich.

After welcoming and opening remarks by university president Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann and Institute Director Prof. Dr. Michael Nase, the conference started with a plenary lecture by Dr. Tobias Schwarzmüller (Bayern Innovativ) on the topic “From biopolymers to materials – status quo and perspectives in Bavaria”.

Innovative conference concept

Kübra Aslan and Lucas Großmann (both ibp), who moderated the conference, then presented the innovative concept of the conference with lecture pitches and voting: Each scientist gives a two-minute pitch on his or her presentation, which is released for voting by the conference participants. This served to plan and organize the total of four partly parallel presentation sessions on the second day. This prevented the lectures with greater interest from being held at the same time. The results were announced on the same day.

After the pitches, there was the opportunity to exchange ideas at a casual meet & greet during the lunch break in various online rooms. The lunch break was followed by the poster session. The posters were presented online and there was an opportunity to interact live with the authors in the associated online rooms. In addition to the posters, authors were given the opportunity to post a five-minute short talk about their poster online. Parallel to the poster session, visitors could get to know the ibp and Hof University of Applied Sciences better by taking an online technology tour.

Impulse lectures and entertainment

In the afternoon, Dr. Bernhard Bauske (WWF) and Hasso von Pogrell (European Bioplastics e.V.) gave plenary lectures focusing on “Focus on bioplastics in the circular economy”. The presentations were followed by a lively and exciting panel discussion. The first day was concluded by Carolyn Mittermeier as the “Erdäpfekäferl aus der Hallertau” with a successful gstanzl performance on the topic of “Bioplastics”.

The second day started with the renewed announcement of the voting results of the pitches and the resulting timing of the scientific presentations. Before the first two parallel presentation sessions began, Dr. Friedrich von Hesler, representing the Bavarian Bioeconomy Expert Council (SVB), spoke on the topic of “How does the Bavarian bioeconomy promote the use of bioplastics?”.

Questions in the live chat

The subsequent two parallel sessions of scientific presentations enjoyed lively participation. The presentations were recorded for the conference and played back at the appropriate timeslots. This gave the speakers the opportunity to answer questions, e.g. via live chat, already during the previous day.

At noon there was again the chance for personal conversations at a digital Meet & Greet. The parallel presentation sessions 4 and 5 were held after the lunch break. After the lecture sessions, in addition to a virtual coffee break, there was the opportunity to take a digital guided tour of the ibp machine halls with a focus on extrusion, injection molding and compounding.

Award to TU Munich

Towards the end of the second day, the award ceremony for “Best Poster” and “Best Talk”, i.e. for the best scientific poster and the best talk, took place. The prize for the best poster went to Andreas Eich from HYDRA Marine Sciences GmbH on the topic “Half-life of biodegradable plastic films on different marine beach sediments ”

Happy winners: the prize for the best poster went to Andreas Eich from
HYDRA Marine Sciences GmbH – it was accepted on behalf of Miriam Weber.
Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

With her presentation “Light-driven mcl-PHA production with genetically engineered Pseudomonas putida in a synthetic co-culture with Synechococcus elongatus PCC7942 cscB”, Ms. Franziska Kratzl from the Chair of Systems Biotechnology at TU München received the prize for the best presentation of the conference.

Franziska Kratzl from the Chair of Systems Biotechnology at TU Munich received the
prize for the best presentation of the conference. Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Dr. Gabriele Peterek from the Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR) rounded off the conference with her plenary lecture “Bioplastics-building blocks for a sustainable bioeconomy”. Thanks to the active support of the entire ibp team, the conference ran smoothly. We would like to thank all participants and contributors.

Alexandra Witzig

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