BANDGAP (Bright And Noble Durrantites Generating Artful Photophysics)  is the annual conference held by and for the Durrant group. Started in 2003 as an annual away day, the conference became an opportunity to catch up with the group’s activities since 2016. The 2-3 day conference offers all postdocs and PhD students a chance to discuss their research, challenges and ideas with others. There is also plenty of time to enjoy outdoor activities, sightseeing and relaxing with the group!

Bandgap 2023, Gregynog, Wales, UK

Bandgap 2023 was held at Gregynog House in Wales, was an engaging and diverse experience, blending non-scientific/ scientific discussions with a touch of entertainment. The choice of Gregynog House, surrounded by a serene environment and rich in history, likely provided an inspiring setting for the intellectual exchange.

The first day seems to have been packed with a variety of activities, starting with lunch in the mani hall. The career talks and tips offered valuable insights, especially addressing important aspects like seeking help when facing challenges in research. The inclusion of discussions on historical discrimination against female scientists and advice on how to establish a presence in research adds a meaningful dimension to the event, highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the scientific community like us.

Louise's organization of a "Murder Mystery" game adds a fun and social element to the bandgap, creating opportunities for all of us to bond outside the formal sessions.

The second day, marked by a walk-through challenging weather and muddy roads, suggests a spirit of adventure among the attendees. The decision to embark on such a journey before the scientific session demonstrates a commitment to both intellectual exploration and physical well-being.

Caption: Bandgap 2023, Gregynog, Wales, UK

Caption: The group participating in the Murder Mystery game

Bandgap 2022, Mumbles, Swansea, UK

Following on from last year’s successful energy-saving trip to Norfolk, we decided to choose another location that could be accessed in a low-carbon way. After a lot of back and forth, we finally settled on The Mumbles, Swansea, where we could visit Specific and stay next to the sea!

After a three-hour train journey and a packed lunch, James kicked off Bandgap22. We had a brilliant range of talks across the three-day programme, ranging from future materials to how to cheer up editors when trying to get published! Congratulations to Caiwu and Sam, our joint winners for their respective talks on TAS and spectroelectrochemistry of iridium oxides.

Outside of the more formal talk sessions, Anna and Louise organised a climate-themed twist on the ‘mafia game’. The whole group got very into it and (hopefully) learned some climate facts along the way! Swansea itself isn’t quite as scenic as Norfolk’s idyllic countryside views, but it was great to be staying just two minutes from the sea out in The Mumbles. Louise organised a team treasure trail activity around The Mumbles, a great way to explore. This resulted in an afternoon of fierce competition, with James, Lucy, Caiwu, Aniket & Sora ultimately emerging victorious!

We rounded off the trip with a visit to Swansea University’s Bay Campus, where we were taken on a tour of their labs and to see the Active buildings. While our PV group members often find themselves in Swansea for research collaborations and conferences, this visit was a particular novelty for our solar fuels group members! A final trip to the beach gave us an opportunity to update our group photo before heading back to the station and home to London.

Now time to start thinking about Bandgap23!

Caption: Bandgap 2022, Mumbles, Swansea

Caption: Bandgap 2022, Mumbles, Swansea

Bandgap 2021, Norfolk, UK

2021 saw a welcome return to an in-person Bandgap, and an end to James' hard-fought battle to persuade the group to visit his native Norfolk. Despite a three-hour fuel crisis-related delay, the group left rainy London in high spirits. A brilliant programme of talks ranged from presentations on spectroscopic techniques to messages of hope from the latest IPCC report, and provided food for thought on how to make our laboratories more sustainable. Reshma Rao took home first prize for her talk on laser-induced temperature jump measurements, while Cindy Tseng, visiting from sunny California, was awarded the runner-up prize. The Norfolk sun did in fact make a very welcome appearance for a Friday afternoon stroll along the beach (and dip in the sea for Richard Pacalaj), but fortunately the rain lasted long enough to ensure an authentically damp experience eating fish and chips on the sea wall. Other culinary highlights included a visit from a wood-fired pizza van as well as a wonderful cooked breakfast both mornings thanks to Yifan Dong. The group successfully limited warming to 1.9 °C by the end of the century during mock climate negotiations, and demonstrated their talents (or lack thereof) on the karaoke machine. 

Caption: Bandgap 2021, Norfolk, UK

Caption: Beach walk.

Caption: Climate negotiation meeting in the group!

Caption: Sunset in Norfolk beach.

Caption: Oral presentation winners-Reshma Rao and Cindy Tseng.

Caption: James's kick off talk!

Caption: Dinner time.

Caption: Everyday ritual of solving a crossword happens in snack time.

Caption: Micheal talking in the Bandgap2021.

Caption: Students cooked English breakfast for the group!

Caption: Fun click on the beach.

Caption: Evening study.

Caption: Beach walK.

Bandgap 2020, Zoom, Online

Bandgap 2020 was a virtual edition with the destination of Zoom, in line with the COVID-19 regulations. As usual, group members gave some fascinating presentations on a diverse range of topics, including the sustainability and up-scalability of the materials we research. In addition to scientific talks, the program included how we can effectively utilise data automatisation, and dynamic discussions on our future research directions and strategy. Despite the alternative online format, the speakers stimulated lots of interesting conversations both during and following the event. Inspiring alumni talks also featured, shining light on energy policy and pursuing careers outside of academia, such as consulting. Sustenance for the conference was kindly provided through JustEat vouchers and both days of talks were concluded with instructor led virtual yoga classes, to stretch out before evening drinks and social activities.

Bandgap 2019, Lisbon, Portugal


Caption: Bandgap 2019, Lisbon, Portugal


Caption: James giving a Kick of talk discussing his involvement and future research directions in the fields of solar energy and photo catalysis!


Caption: Ludmilla gives us an overview of the importance of reducing CO2 emission!

Caption: An art installation at heart of Lisbon to raise awareness about plastic pollution at sea

Bandgap 2018, Malta


Caption: Bandgap-2018, Malta

Bandgap 2017, Isle of wight

Caption: Bandgap 2017, Isle of wight, UK

Bandgap 2016, Silwood park, Ascot

Caption: Bandgap 2016, Silwood Park, Ascot