The event was held from
Monday 13th to Sunday 19th June 2016 and this included attendance and involvement in the NanoCentre’s Annual Conference on Tuesday 14th June in the new Flinders at Tonsley facilities.The National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) Summer School 2016 was hosted by the Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia.

24 PhD students from Japan, China, Poland, USA, New Zealand and Australia were selected to attend this prestigious event. Eight senior academic and professional staff from international institutions travelled to Adelaide to support the program and to provide guidance and assistance to student participants.

Accommodation for participants was provided in the heart of the Adelaide central business district, in close proximity to parklands, entertainment, restaurants and shopping, and with easy access to public transport. The Summer School activities also provided exposure to a variety of Flinders University venues including the Victoria Square campus, Tonsley facilities and the Bedford Park campus.

Students were carefully allocated to one of four groups combining a mix of scientific expertise and cultural backgrounds in each group. The project theme for the week was to consider the “Requirements to establish a human colony on the planet Mars”. Each group was tasked with a separate focus of responsibility including:

  • Energy requirements, production and supply
  • Food and Medicine
  • Water and Air
  • Infrastructure and Accommodation

In previous years, groups had been judged on their final presentations to select a winning team, however, the 2016 challenge demonstrated an interesting variation during the research process. Cross collaborations began to develop between groups very early in the process, as participants realised how interdependent each group’s responsibility was. It quickly became evident that no group was able to remain isolated from the other project teams, resulting in mutual collaborations and partnerships across all teams to achieve a common goal. At the conclusion of the final presentations it was announced that all the student participants and teams were considered equal winners.

During the Nanotechnology Students’ Summer School our international visitors were also provided with some special additional cultural activities including a visit to the Cleland Wildlife Park, attendance at an “Aussie Rules” football game and social activities including a farewell dinner. 

The 2016 Nanotechnology Students’ Summer School was acknowledged as both a successful event and a valuable experience by academics, support staff and student participants.