ASCOS Series
Scientific Programme
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Following the established ASCOS philosophy, ASCOS 2019 aims at providing an education, discussion and contact platform. Bright young scientists from various fields related to optical and/or chemical sensors are invited to meet and learn from expert tutors and from each other in a relaxed atmosphere. To achieve this, ASCOS 2019 combines Tutorial Lectures and Group Work Projects, during which the participants work in small, international teams and use their knowledge to find a solution for a specific, pertinent problem (provided by organizers) related to optical (bio)chemical sensors and their application(s).

activated tutor Tutorial Lectures      A set of tutorials covering the basic principles of specific optical sensor techniques, with special focus on life science or environmental applications, will be held by invited lecturers. Starting from a level that can be expected of a graduate in chemistry, physics or biology, the tutorials concentrate on the basics of sensor technology, covering the principles and limitations of corresponding methods, as well as on practical aspects and applications. In addition, in each topic an overview of latest developments and upcoming challenges will be given. The aim is to give the participants, especially those who have little practical experience with a particular method or technique, the chance to learn about it "from the basics".

For the list of confirmed lectures and tutors for ASCOS 2019, please see the List of Tutors section.

activated students Group Work Projects      For the group work projects, small mixed groups of typically 6 - 8 participants are formed; each group is assigned an (bio)analytical problem of current interest that should be solved by means of optical sensor technologies. The organizers will arrange mixed groups composed of people from different countries, laboratories and fields of expertise to promote active work, discussions and exchange of ideas. The participants should make use of the input from the lectures and the special knowledge of each participant to find a feasible way to solve their problems.

TOPICS      The topics will be current problems in (bio)chemical sensor science, where currently no standard solution is available. The scope of the projects may vary from basic research to dedicated application. Depending on the topic, the work task may include not only devising a project involving a technical solution, but also a project plan (time scale and effort estimation) and - if possible - a financial assessment of both the development and the system costs.

PRESENTATION      The results of group work projects will be presented on the last day of the course in a joint presentation involving all members of each group. For this, each group is assigned a 20 minutes slot (15 min talk + 5 min discussion) in which the project is presented to the audience - tutors and the other fellow participants. Please regard this auditorium as an assembly likely to review your project (e.g. a customer or a funding agency) and try to convince them that your project has a high potential and should be funded. Obviously, we cannot fund your project, but the project voted the best will get an ASCOS 2019 award (but we are obviously not telling you in advance what that will be).

TUTOR PARTICIPATION      Tutors are expected to be available during project group work sessions to answer questions related to these analytical problems (but do not expect them to solve the problem for you!). Sometimes one has to look for solutions at the bar, some nearby medieval court, simply because this is where the best scientific ideas are often hatched (hence, the probability density function for tutor encounters tends to peak there).
The tutors will offer help if and when asked: if you give them a well prepared question (or, rather, a set of questions), you'll certainly get an answer to the best ability of the tutor. However, for a too general question, you might just get a rather general answer. So, it's up to you how to use the available help.

EQUIPMENT      To allow you to collect and to assemble necessary information, computers with access to internet will be provided. Internet access will be available (the CEUB is part of the eduroam network). If you want to use your home institution library resources instead, please arrange that with your IT staff before the course (e.g. set up a VPN client and get the necessary login credentials). In addition, you may bring whatever material you deem necessary.

Previous Experience      Learning theory in tutorials and applying it to practical cases within project group work is rather unique and regarded by most participants as something that makes ASCOS course different and superior to conventional teaching and training courses. Due to mixed work groups, the participants have to work with people they probably never met before, to deal with new ideas and actively discuss scientific ideas with others in English. (Don't be afraid of that - others will probably be just as worried about English as you, and it's a great experience). Furthermore, ineffective "grouping" of participants coming from one lab, as often observed at international conferences, is thus effectively avoided.