PhD Students' Symposium 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017
Empa Dübendorf, Switzerland

Attendance is restricted to a maximum of 110 persons.
PhD students have priority; if you want your supervisor to participate, please let us know via .


"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

                                                                                                 ~Isaac Newton


Guest Speaker: Petr Slavíček
University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague


A wise man once said that people ignoring their past history and culture are like trees without roots. In order to develop our field of research, we base our work on discoveries and inventions from the smartest scientists of the past, always longing to push the limits of knowledge further and further.

Who pioneered your research topic by putting the fundamental milestones? What are the unresolved questions that you are trying to shed a light on? Or maybe you are opening a new path with your original and groundbreaking ideas?

If you feel like answering these questions and presenting your work with an oral contribution or a poster, then come and join this year’s Empa PhD Students’ Symposium, “Standing on the shoulders of giants”. We invite all Empa PhD Students to share their work by looking at what was done in the past, what their present contribution is about, and what they foresee is going to be discovered and developed in the future.



The symposium covers a wide range of topics related to applied materials science and engineering reflecting Empa's research focus areas:

  • Nanostructured Materials
  • Materials for Health and Performance
  • Natural Resources and Pollutants
  • Energy
  • Sustainable Built Environment

PhD students active in materials science and engineering are strongly encouraged to participate in this event. Students not affiliated to Empa are cordially invited as well. Experts will join the symposium to evaluate all presentations and to give students valuable tips and feedback.


Preliminary program

The Empa PhD Students’ Symposium 2017 will be held in parallel sessions of oral presentations and two poster sessions. The scientific part of the event will be concluded with an award ceremony to honor the best oral and poster presentations.


08:00 – 09:00 Registration and welcome coffee


09:00 – 09:15 Welcome word and opening speech
09:15 – 10:00 Keynote talk – Dead ends in science by Prof. Petr Slavicek
10:00 – 11:00 Poster session I & Coffee break (Akademie III)
11:00 – 11:45 Oral session I
11:45 – 12:30 Oral session II
13:30 – 14:15 Oral session III
14:15 – 15:15 Poster session II & Coffee break
15:15 – 16:15 Oral session IV
16:30 – 17:00 Talk by sponsor – BASF
17:00 – 17:45 Award ceremony
17:45 – 19:30 Dinner


Registration and Payment

Registration is only possible online via the registration form

This event is mainly sponsored by Empa and kindly supported by BASF, Carl Roth, glatec, Sensirion, Toptica Photonics, and LOT-QuantumDesign. Thanks to these generous contributions participation is free of charge.



Participants who are willing to give an oral or poster presentation are kindly requested to submit an abstract by .

Each abstract will be evaluated, and authors will be notified if their presentation has been accepted. Evaluating experts will be assigned to students from a different scientific field in order to focus only on the presenter’s performance. Therefore, you are asked to select three to five keywords that describe your scientific field best. 

When sending your abstract, please use the template available at the top right of this webpage. Please indicate whether you prefer to present a poster or give a talk.

Note that oral presentations might not be available to all participants. In such cases the author will be notified. Oral presentations are restricted to 12 min followed by 3 min of discussion. Half of each oral presentation should be general introduction, the other half on the particular topic of the individual person.

The poster size is A1 format (594 mm × 841 mm) in portrait.

Further guidelines on how to prepare your abstract, oral presentation, or poster, can be found at the top right of this webpage.

Mind that the deadline for abstract submission is September 1, 2017.


Expert Feedback

Oral and poster presentations will be evaluated by experts with a variety of scientific backgrounds. The evaluation will be based on both presentation content and the speaker’s delivery.



We cordially invite all the participants to a banquet which will follow the scientific event. It is free of charge. Please declare your attendance in the registration form.


Travel and Accommodation

Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation.

Empa PhD students from St. Gallen and Thun may contact their respective department supervisors regarding reimbursement of transport and lodging expenses.

Hostel or hotel bookings can be made, among others, via the following websites:



as well as using the most popular hotel websearch engines.



Please direct any further enquiries by .


Empa - Materials and Technologies for a sustainable Future

As an interdisciplinary research institute within the ETH Domain, Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, conducts cutting-edge materials and technology research. Empa’s R&D activities focus on meeting the requirements of industry and the needs of society, and thus link applications-oriented research with the practical implementation of new ideas. As a result, Empa is capable of providing its partners with customized services and solutions that not only enhance their innovative edge and competitiveness, but also help to improve the quality of life for the public at large.








Organizing committee