The first cohort of our international research training group just completed the kick-off workshop of their second summer school. While we meet in Duisburg for last year’s summer school, in 2024 the University of Waterloo hosted this major event.

On Monday and Tuesday principal investigator organized three lecture blocks. In Block I Rossitza Pentcheva and Peter Kratzer dealt with theory. Block II was all about electronics and thus, Na Young Kim, Marika Schleberger and Gerd Bacher shared their knowledge with the 2D-MATURE members. The third Block energy storage was discussed by Rodney Smith, Michael Pope and Hartmut Wiggers. To ensure learnings, we had a quiz at the end of every lecture block.

Wednesday our PhD and MASc students received plenty of feedback on their research projects. In parallel sessions PhD students gave talks on their project status and results, while subsequent poster sessions in which also MASc students presented their work gave room for in-depth discussions.

Besides this agenda points there was time to continue training in key qualifications. Because 2D-MATURE research focuses on scalability to overcome the key barriers to commercialization of 2D materials PhD and MASc students have to get insights into technology entrepreneurship which were given by Eric Luvisotto from the University of Waterloo. Another important aspect that must be taken into account in the future activities of our young scientists is sustainably. Jason Grove from the University of Waterloo taught our PhD and MASc students how to consider sustainability within life-cycle analysis.
Of course, EDI Training for our diverse team was continued as well. Bob Watts from the First Peoples Group delivered a powerful, eye-opening, emotional and engaging workshop on the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, past & current atrocities in their communities and an optimistic view of how we can move forward as humankind. This was followed by an indigenous dinner at the United College and great PechaKucha talks of our own PhD and MASc students.

Our second symposium took place on Thursday and Friday. This year we not only invited guests from academia but also from industry. Further, selected PhD students were given the chance to present their results in front of a large audience. It was a pleasure to host Kory Schlingman from Angstrom Engineering, Matt Heuft from Evercloak as well as Shahana Chatterjee from Make Materials, who put 2D materials into action. Special thanks also go to Joan Redwing from PennState and Edward (Ted) Roberts from the University of Calgary.

Besides all this work and learning on top we found time for fun teambuilding events. Before even starting we went to the beautiful Niagara Falls on Sunday. Bad axe throwing is definitively something you should have tried once. Delicious food and cool drinks we found in Waterloo’s Beer Town.

First week was a joy and now our PhD and MASc students still have time to meet and discuss in person, going on with their research during two weeks of hands on lab and method training.