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Tobias JCF 2

Tobias and the Young Chemistry Forum - Networks in Times of Corona

Tobias is working on his PhD in chemistry and is also active in the Young Chemistry Forum (JCF). In our networks@Evonik blog, he reports on how the virus COVID-19 is also affecting his studies and his work in the student network JCF. 

Hi everybody,

my name is Tobias Wilcke and I am the current spokesman of the Young Chemists Forum (JCF) of the German Chemical Society (GDCh). At the moment, we are, as many others, also facing the challenges related to Corona, caused by the now widely spread COVID-19 virus.

For example, we unfortunately had to cancel our spring symposium, an annual conference with over 400 participants. We also had to postpone our corporate visits, upcoming workshops and the meeting of our local speaker teams, which should have taken place in Cologne. For the JCF and the whole GDCh - a non-profit association which lives mainly from the personal exchange of its members - the current circumstances mean a big change in our lives. However, these changes do not necessarily have to be negative.

We were, for example, able to hold our meeting of the local speaker teams, with over 90 people, online. Feedback on the meeting was thoroughly positive and many of the participants can imagine holding the meeting online again. We also started the first digital implementation of our workshops this week and the results were similar to those of previous, non-virtual, workshops. Of course, digital tools cannot replace personal exchange and small talk during breaks. Even our final event in the evening, which always takes place, needs to be postponed. Nevertheless, we noticed that some meetings can be held digitally with the same quality. The advantages in this case are, of course, that more people can take part in the virtual meeting and nobody must travel far. Moreover, costs can also be reduced. Therefore, we plan to continue to hold regular meetings online in the future. 

Besides doing volunteer work at the JCF, I am also working on my PhD in Organic Chemistry at the Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf. Many of the labs had to be closed due to COVID-19 in order to protect the staff and the students. This means of course that we are no longer able to perform our daily work, such as using our equipment or carrying out experiments. However, in our home offices, we can instead focus now on planning new experiments, evaluating results and writing papers or our theses. So, we can still make progress, can concentrate on other things and still do stuff without wasting time.

In other words, you learn to cope and to adapt to this unusual situation. The inevitable process of digitization in our society kind of benefits from these circumstances and even those, who are not much into technology, have now the opportunity to see the positive effects of digitization. 

We are alls simply trying to make the best of it.

See you soon and stay healthy,

your Tobias

In the networks@Evonik blog, members from networks with which Evonik cooperates report on their experiences with the network and their work with Evonik.

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