The 12th International Conference on Frontiers of Polymers and Advanced Materials was held in Auckland, New Zealand, 8-13 December 2013. The ICFPAM conferences are typically held in developing countries, with the goal of supporting the local development of polymer and materials technology. While New Zealand is not usually considered a developing country, it is a remote location and the Auckland population a diverse one, so the presence of an ICFPAM conference with IUPAC sponsorship created a unique event for the country. The conference attracted over 500 participants from 40 countries, with over 400 travelling to New Zealand from overseas, and featured 17 plenary and keynote talks, 132 invited and 142 contributed talks, in addition to over 200 poster presentations.
The program addressed major topics of interest in polymer science, advanced materials and technologies, within the following broad themes:
· From Synthesis to Advanced Materials
· Nano-scale and nano-structured materials and devices
· Biomaterials and biopolymers
· Organic based photonics and electronics materials
· Composites and hybrid materials
At the opening ceremony, Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman accepted the traditional Maori challenge on behalf of the visitors, and was welcomed by the University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor, Stuart McCutcheon. The conference was formally opened by Prue Williams from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. During the conference Greg Russell of the University of Canterbury, and Vice President for the IUPAC Polymer Division, outlined the activities and objectives of IUPAC.
The conference featured the following plenary lectures: Takuzo Aida—University of Tokyo; Jean M. J. Fréchet—King Abdullah University of Science and Technology; Paras N. Prasad—University at Buffalo, SUNY; Dan Shechtman—Israel Institute of Technology; Paul S. Weiss—UCLA.
From over 100 student presentations, the following were awarded at the closing ceremony.
New Zealand Institute of Chemistry oral prizes:
· Mark Pepels, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
· Shyamal Prasad, Victoria University of Wellington
· Hanyue Zheng Victoria University of Wellington
IUPAC poster prizes:
· Francesca Tallia, Imperial College, London
· Thomas Kerr-Phillips, University of Auckland
· Yusuke Nakamura, Kumamoto University, Japan
The following young researchers also received IUPAC travel awards to support their registration and travel costs: Enamul Haque (University of Sydney, Australia), Sheikh Mohamed (Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre, Toyo University, Japan), Xiaoyong Pan (Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, ASTAR, Singapore), Srivani Veeranarayanan (Bio-Nano Electronics Research Center, Toyo University, Japan), Kang-Jun Baeg (Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute, Republic of Korea), Khairul Helmy Kamalul Arifin (Centre for Ionics University of Malaya, Malaysia).
Conference proceedings are being prepared for a topical issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and for publication in Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals. Conference delegates also had the opportunity to explore the West coast of Auckland, including its rainforests and beaches, during a half-day tour mid-way through the conference. The conference dinner at the Auckland Memorial Museum was also a highlight of the social functions. At the dinner it was announced that the next conference in the ICFPAM series would be held in Marrakesh, Morocco in mid-2015 (http://www.icfpam2015.com/).