Imperial College London

Winter School just keeps getting better


Participants at PE-CDT 2020 Winter School

Participants at PE-CDT 2020 Winter School

Every participant contributed to a high level of science on cutting-edge themes of research at this year's PE-CDT Winter School.

"This year has exceeded my (quite high) expectations", "every participant contributed to a high level of science on cutting-edge themes of research" and "it was a fabulous experience both scientifically and socially" are just some of the comments from participants at this year's Plastic Electronics Centre for Doctoral Training Winter School.

PE-CDT Cohorts 8 and 10 were joined by a number of CPE students, academics from Imperial College London and Oxford University and specially-invited external speakers at a new location for us: the stunning village of Canazei in the Italian Dolomites.

  • View from hotel
  • On the Sellaronda

There were three aspects to the schedule for participants. Starting off with plenty of science, of course, most mornings were given to talks from academics and tutorials from our external speakers. Ji-Seon Kim, Firat Guder, Piers Barnes, Laura Herz, James Durrant, Sandrine Heutz and Felice Torrisi all presented alongside Prof Neil Robertson of the University of Edinburgh and Dr Annamaria Petrozza of Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Madrid  who each gave two tutorials and Dr Mario Caironi who is also from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Madrid and gave a special talk. Evenings were given to student talks: where CPE students and Cohort 10 gave 15-minute talks on their PhD research and Cohort 8 gave 5-minute flash presentations.

  • James Durrant
  • Felice Torrisi
  • Ji-Seon Kim
  • Student talks

The second element of the schedule was taken over by the week's group project, a business start up game led by Piers Barnes. Students were grouped into teams and had to come up with business pitches around a concept related to plastic electronics. Share trading ensued with team, student and staff leagues to track value. At the end of the week, Nicotime won the prize for the team with the overall most investment, with Hang Yu being our top student trader. Neil Robertson topped the staff table.

Finally it was inter-cohort team building, with Wednesday night's science charades and free time for outdoor activities proving popular!

  • Science Charades
  • Deep in discussion

Matyas Daboczi, Cohort 8, won the staff choice award for best flash presentation said of this year's event: “I was really looking forward to the 2020 Plastic Electronics Winter School after gaining some very good experiences two years ago. However, the week spent in north Italy this year has exceeded my (quite high) expectations.

The invited talks were fantastic and relevant to my research, the student’s talks were enjoyable and high quality, which mixed together with many fun group activities and skiing on the perfect slopes of the ‘Sellaronda’ ski circuit made an unforgettable week from both scientific, social and recreational point of view.”

Chiara Labanti, Cohort 10, won the staff choice award for best PhD talk and gave really positive feedback in her summary of the week: "As my first participation in a one-week-long scientific retreat in the context of Plastic Electronics CDT Winter School in Canazei, I can summarise my experience as deeply varied and complete.

"In the framework of inter-cohort relationships, the whole week took a new aspect since even entertainment and outdoor activities were shaped in the direction of building constructive and inclusive relationships among us and with the academics and not simply to enjoy the free time in itself.

"The group challenge was a 'hybrid' component in our schedule, at the boundary between game and work, allowing us to get familiar with fundamental concepts like entrepreneurship, collaboration skills and team work which we should highly treasure for our current and future career.

"But the main scientific content of the week was undoubtedly the programme of talks from students and academics, and focused on a wide span of topics on organic and perovskite electronics. Every participant contributed to a high level of science on cutting-edge themes of research and – regardless of the field we are working in – all of us found numerous stimuli and new ideas for our work.

"In particular, for us PhD students the talks we were asked to give were probably the most demanding moment during Winter School and the largest part of the effort and tension of the week was concentrated on those 20 minutes allotted for each of us. However, considering the outcome of all our presentations in terms of quality of results, professionality in delivering them and pleasant attitude to approach the audience I am deeply satisfied to have been part of the speakers and to have learnt a huge quantity of interesting knowledge on my fellow PhDs’ research. I could not have imagined that my talk would have been appreciated like this by the academic staff and the fact I have been chosen for this award fills me with honour and it represents a great outcome among all the great outcomes of this Winter School. This positive feedback on my work is definitely going to encourage me to carry on my research as a PhD with passion and motivation. Thank you!"

Finally, a word from Prof Neil Robertson: “The winter school was an excellent opportunity for students and staff to engage deeply on the varied scientific topics encompassed within the Centre for Plastic Electronics. The relaxed and remote location created the perfect atmosphere for informal discussions and high-quality presentations. In addition, the team-based innovation exercise and the group activities created a strong community feel that was a delight to be part of. Overall, it was a fabulous experience both scientifically and socially.”


Lisa Bushby

Lisa Bushby
Department of Physics