1st ICNI (2019)
Intermolecular interactions were first taken into consideration by van der Waals in 1873 in adapting the ideal gas equation of state for real gases . The energetics and structures of molecules as well as the reactivity and selectivity of their reactions are strongly dependent on the type of noncovalent interactions, such as hydrogen, noble gases, halogen, chalcogen, pnictogen, tetrel, triel and pancake bonds, cation-π, anion-π, lone pair-π, π-π stacking, agostic, pseudo-agostic, anagostic, metal-metal, dispersion-driven, lipophilic interactions, etc., which can play a crucial role in synthetic transformations, catalysis, crystal engineering, drug design, materials, molecular biology, molecular recognition, etc.
The past thirty years have seen remarkable advances in this field, for example, several books in major publishers [2, 3, 4, 5, 6], a special issue namely “Aromatic Interactions” in Accounts of Chemical Research in 2013 (Edited by Prof. Marcey L. Waters)  and thematic issues on noncovalent interactions in Chemical Reviews in 1988, 1994, 2000 and 2016 (Edited by Prof. Pavel Hobza) have been published . Moreover, the hydrogen, halogen, and chalcogen bonds have already been defined by IUPAC (Recommendations 2011, 2013 and 2019, respectively) , and the definitions for pnictogen and tetrel bonds are under progress . International Conferences have also been held, namely “Horizons in Hydrogen Bond Research” (established by Lucjan Sobczyk in Poland in 1977), the International Symposium on Halogen Bonding (established by Pierangelo Metrangolo and Giuseppe Resnati in Porto Cesareo (Lecce, Italy) in 2014), the first and second Humboldt Conferences on Noncovalent Interactions (chaired by Snežana Zarić in Serbia in 2007 and 2009, respectively), the Workshop “Aromatic Interactions in Chemistry and Biology” (organized by Ken Houk and Marcey L. Waters in Mesilla, New Mexico in 2011), the 54th Symposium on Theoretical Chemistry (the topic of the conference was “Noncovalent Interactions”, chaired by Daniel Sebastiani) in Germany in 2018, etc.
In order to discuss all sorts of noncovalent interactions, contributing towards a scientific systematization of the field, and share ideas, the 1st International Conferences on Noncovalent Interactions (ICNI) was held from 2-6 September 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal,being chaired by the authors[11, 12]. Further editions within this series will be followed every two years, in odd number years (2021, 2023, etc.).
The International Advisory Board members of ICNI are well-recognized scientists (including 9 women) in this field [11, 12], representing Europe, Asia, Africa and America. ICNI has already been recognized by IUPAC for endorsement, although without financial support 
The logo of the 1st ICNI edition is based on a form of representation of interactions, and it can be easily adapted to the subsequent editions. A conference celebratory medal was also coined, with its logo. The reverse of the medal was inspired on the types of noncovalent interactions.
We have also established “The van der Waals Prize” at the 1st ICNI 2019. This distinction was awarded for the first time on the occasion of this Conference to Pavel Hobza as a recognition of his outstanding achievements in this field.
The Conference was broadly international, with approximately 250 participants representing 36 countries. After Portugal, the Russian Federation and Japan were dominant (27-25 attendees for each). They were followed, in number of delegates, by China, Spain, Poland, and the USA. Then came the Czech Republic, France, and the UK. The Conference aimed to highlight the role of Noncovalent Interactions in synthesis (23 contributions), catalysis (32 contributions), crystal engineering (55 contributions), molecular recognition (30 contributions), medicinal chemistry (11 contributions), biology (5 contributions), materials science (32 contributions), electrochemical immobilization (2 contributions), and theoretical aspects (56 contributions). All approaches were considered, from fundamental to applied ones, including discussion of new types of noncovalent interactions (halogen, chalcogen, pnictogen, tetrel and triel bonds) and multidisciplinary studies.
The Conference Program included 18 plenary lectures (45 minutes each), 22 keynote lectures (30 minutes each), 60 invited lectures (20 minutes each), 43 oral communications (15 minutes each), 7 flash presentations (5 minutes each) and 102 posters. Moreover, there were 5 poster prizes (Presented by Ms. Amelia Newman, Editor at RSC): Chemical Science (Anh Tuan Pham, University of Geneva, Switzerland), Dalton Transactions (Sara R.G. Fernandes, University of Lisbon, Portugal), RSC Advances (Errui Li, Zhejiang University, China), Inorganics (Elena Tupikina, Saint Petersburg State University, Russia) and Pharmaceuticals (Claudia C. Gatto, University of Brasília, Brasil).
In order to highlight a particular type of noncovalent interaction in this ICNI first edition we selected π-interactions for one conference day. Thus, there were 3 plenary (Tutorial), 2 keynote and 6 invited lecturers on π-interactions. This approach can be continued in the next editions of ICNI by highlighting other types of noncovalent interactions.
Due to the broad/multidisciplinary character of noncovalent interactions we established a themed collection (named ‘’1st International Conference on Noncovalent Interactions’’) published in various RSC journals, such as Chem. Comm., Chem. Sci., J. Mat. Chem. A, Dalton Trans., RSC Adv, New J. Chem., CrystEngComm., Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. [11, 14]. The selected topics reflect the current trends in weak bonding chemistry. Each article was peer-reviewed as in the usual submissions. Their themed collection gathers 181 papers which can inspire researchers, students, and newcomers in the fields of noncovalent chemistry and related interdisciplinary subjects.
The 1st ICNI International Advisory Board (IAB) meetingwas held on 4 September 2019 at the Conference venue, and the following points were agreed: i) the next ICNI editions will be in 2021, 2023, 2025, etc.; ii) the ICNI 2021 and the ICNI 2023 will be held in Strasbourg (Chairman: Jean-Pierre Djukic)  and in Moscow (Chair persons: Elena Shubina and Oleg Fillipov), respectively; iii) further collaboration of ICNI and RSC should be reached; iv) the IAB formally agreed on a proposal, from the Chairs of the Conference, for the establishment of the award named “The van der Waals Prize,” to distinguish scientists of high scientific merit who have contributed in an outstanding way to the development of the field of Noncovalent Interactions in Science; in addition, it was further agreed that this prize should distinguish a senior and a young (not older than 45 years) scientist in alternating years; v) if an IAB member misses two consecutive editions of ICNI, he/she should automatically be released from the IAB list; vi) Dr. Kamran T. Mahmudov was nominated the Secretary of ICNI; vii) the minutes of the meeting should be circulated to all the IAB members and their feedback would be collected and incorporated.
International Advisory Board
|Elangannan Arunan||Indian Institute of Science, India|
|Dario Braga||University of Bologna, Italy|
|Pierre Braunstein||University of Strasbourg, France|
|Antonio Caballero||Universidad de Murcia, Spain|
|Jean-Francois Carpentier||CNRS-Université de Rennes 1, France|
|Scott L. Cockroft||University of Edinburgh, UK|
|Debbie C. Crans||Colorado State University, USA|
|Jean-Pierre Djukic||University of Strasbourg, France|
|M. Teresa Duarte||University of Lisbon, Portugal|
|Catharine Esterhuysen||Stellenbosch University, South Africa|
|Antonio Frontera||Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain|
|Philip A. Gale||University of Sydney, Australia|
|Michael K. Gilson||University of California San Diego, USA|
|Fabrizia Grepioni||University of Bologna, Italy|
|M. Fátima C. Guedes da Silva||University of Lisbon, Portugal|
|Akira Harada||Osaka University, Japan|
|Matti Haukka||University of Jyvaskyla, Finland|
|Pavel Hobza||Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic|
|Feihe Huang||Zhejiang University, China|
|Wei Jun Jin||Beijing Normal University, China|
|Susumu Kitagawa||Kyoto University, Japan|
|Maximilian N. Kopylovich||University of Lisbon, Portugal|
|Vadim Yu. Kukushkin||Saint Petersburg State University, Russian Federation|
|Yu Liu||Nankai University, China|
|Jan Lundell||University of Jyvaskyla, Finland|
|Abel M. Maharramov||Baku State University, Azerbaijan|
|Kamran T. Mahmudov||University of Lisbon, Portugal|
|Stefan Matile||University of Geneva, Switzerland|
|Pierangelo Metrangolo||Politecnico di Milano, Italy|
|Marta E. G. Mosquera||Universidad de Alcala, Spain|
|Djamaladdin G. Musaev||Emory University, USA|
|Dana Nachtigallova||Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic|
|G. Narahari Sastry||CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, India|
|Werner M. Nau||Jacobs University Bremen, Germany|
|Armando J. L. Pombeiro||University of Lisbon, Portugal|
|Giuseppe Resnati||Politecnico di Milano, Italy|
|Steve Scheiner||Utah State University, USA|
|Hans-Jörg Schneider||Organische Chemie der Universität des Saarlandes, Germany|
|Elena S. Shubina||Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation|
|Anthony Stone||University of Cambridge, UK|
|Edward R.T. Tiekink||Sunway University, Malaysia|
|F. Dean Toste||University of California, USA|
|Leyong Wang||Nanjing University, China|
|Andrew S. Weller||University of Oxford, UK|
|Steven E. Wheeler||University of Georgia, USA|
|Snežana D. Zarić||University of Belgrade, Serbia|
We warmly thank the IAB and Local Organization Committee members and participants for their support and valuable contributions. Mike Andrews and Amelia Newman of the Royal Society of Chemistry are much appreciated for their kind assistance to organize the themed collection at the RSC.
As mentioned above, the 2nd edition of this conference, ICNI 2021 (http://icni2021.unistra.fr/), will be held in Strasbourg, France, 19-23 July 2021, chaired by Prof. Jean-Pierre Djukic.
Über den Autor / die Autorin
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