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JST Event Report

December 2nd - 4th , 2009, Osaka (Japan)

Centenary Memorial Hall, Kansai University

Report on the International Symposium on Polymer Gels
(GelSympo 2009)

"The International Symposium on Polymer Gels (GelSympo 2009)" was held at Centenary Memorial Hall, Kansai University from December 2 through 4, 2009, regarding the PRESTO Research Theme: "Development of Intelligent Interfaces Using Molecule-Responsive Materials" (Research supervisor: Takashi Miyata, Professor of Faculty of Chemistry, Materials and Bioengineering at Kansai University: PRESTO Research Area "Structure and Control of Interfaces"). (Registered participants: 158 persons).

Polymer gels are attracting extremely high attention academically as soft and wet materials, greatly contributed to the new trend of advanced science technology such as biomaterials, sensors, batteries and microdevices, and applied researches in the fields of medicine/environment/energy are quite active. This international symposium on such polymer gels and their related fields is an extremely unique symposium without parallel in the world, and we invited world-renowned researchers as invited lecturer and held active discussions.

"Report on the International Symposium on Polymer Gels (GelSympo 2009)"_1 "Report on the International Symposium on Polymer Gels (GelSympo 2009)"_2

At this symposium, research achievement on this research theme were widely presented, and aiming at promoting active discussions with researchers from various fields; plenary lectures (1 from overseas and 1 from Japan), invited lectures (11 from overseas and 5 from Japan), normal oral presentations (7 from overseas and 14 from Japan), short oral presentations (6 from overseas and 10 from Japan) and poster presentations (26 from overseas and 79 from Japan) were held. During the plenary lectures and the invited lectures, world's top-class researchers who are active in polymer gels and other related fields presented their highly creative research results. In particular, we were able to gather invited lecturers from a wide variety of fields, from fundamental research to applied research, and from physics field to chemistry or biology fields, and we believe that it was a valuable opportunity for the participants to obtain a wide range of information.

At the same time, applications for general presentations were also accepted, but since there were far more applications for oral presentations than we expected due to the high visibility of polymer gel researches, we had no choice but to ask them to move to short oral presentations or poster presentations. In particular, in order to create opportunities for young researchers to make oral presentations in front of prominent researchers, we established short oral presentation where 5-minute oral presentation is made, followed by discussions at poster presentations. The level of normal oral presentation and short oral presentation contents were very high, and the invited researchers and other participants listened intently. Moreover, poster presentations were divided into 3 sessions during the evening of the first day and the afternoon of the second day due to the high number of presentations. As the poster exhibitions were programmed to continue throughout the period, the participants were able to have thorough discussions. As for the poster presentations, we asked the invited lecturers and management board members to rate them, and 8 distinguished presentations were chosen out of 105 poster presentations. They were given the Best Poster Awards at the banquet.

The banquet was held in a friendly atmosphere as a venue for communication among world-renowned researchers and young researchers, and we observed scenes where young researchers were taking commemorative photos with researchers that they admired. During the banquet, researchers in and out of Japan commended us that all the presentations had excellent research contents, and that the level of this symposium was extremely high.

At this international symposium, contents of the presentations were planned by focusing on polymer gels and their related fields linked to the PRESTO research theme. There were also many lectures related to the Basic Research Programs of JST, and this made the symposium into a discipline-blending type where the exchange of opinions among different research areas was possible. By having polymer gels as a keyword, it became a good opportunity to think about blending the researches in various areas of PRESTO or CREST researches, and we were also able to seek for possibilities of cross-disciplinary projects.

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