Welcome to CHAINS 2020

CHAINS is the annual Dutch chemistry conference where chemists in science and industry come together, from PhD students and postdocs to professors and R&D scientists.

CHAINS 2020 goes online!

Online programme
A stimulating programme will showcase the best and most exciting developments in the Dutch chemical community. CHAINS online will be two days with an inviting online programme which we will be partly broadcast from our studio. As we do not want you sitting behind a screen all day, we will include plenty of breaks. We are also including a social programme part that you can join optionally. By maximizing opportunities for interaction and scientific exchange we expect to continue to build the chemical community, including junior and senior scientists in academia and industry. See you at CHAINS online!

Curious about how we create CHAINS 2020? Check out this video!

Plenary speakers

We are proud to announce our plenary speakers.

Call for parallel session nominations!

Help us co-create the CHAINS 2020 programme!

We invite group leaders in the Netherlands to nominate one of their junior group members to give a lecture during the parallel sessions. The parallel sessions will be scheduled on both days, Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 December 2020.
Nominations can be submitted until the deadline of 15 July 2020, 13:00 hrs.

Nomination guidelines

  • Each group leader (Assistant Professor/Associate Professor/Professor) can nominate one group member (PhD student/Postdoc) for the CHAINS 2020 programme. Group leaders with a large research group and/or having ‘speakers with an excellent lecture’ may submit a second nomination. Due to the limited number of time slots available, a selection will be made among the nominations, and first nominations will be prioritized above second nominations.
  • Contact details group leader and nominee;Contact details chair (this can be the initiator)
  • Title of the contribution (max. 8 words)
  • Abstract of the contribution (max. 200 words)
  • Main track (Chemistry of Life, Chemistry of Materials, Chemical Conversion, Fundamentals and Methods of Chemistry) the contribution fits best
  • A primary, secondary and tertiary subtheme that fit the contribution
  • All received nominations will be evaluated per track by selection committees consisting of members of the Working Groups and the programme committee
  • The programme committee will decide on the final programme at the end of September, early October. After that, speakers will be informed as soon as possible and the final programme will be made public.
  • Because CHAINS 2020 will be online due to Covid-19, instructions will be provided for selected speakers at a later stage.

Chemistry of Life

The research field Chemistry of Life studies and exploits the chemical principles and phenomena that underlie biological processes. The many disciplines within Chemistry of Life include (bio)organic and medicinal chemistry, analytical and macromolecular chemistry that relate to biological processes, bio- and cellular chemistry, structural and chemical biology, molecular biology, and biophysics.

More information →

Chemistry of Materials

Chemistry of Materials focuses on the broad and multidisciplinary field of materials and encompasses the complete lifespan of a wide range of materials. It brings together expertise from chemistry, physics, biology and engineering. It covers the design-synthesis-characterisation-performance cycle. There are many types of material, such as organic, inorganic and hybrid, made up of biomacromolecules, macromolecules, colloids, small molecules, and so on.

More information →

Chemical Conversion

The Chemical Conversion community brings together disparate fundamental disciplines and technological sectors. Chemical conversion is integral to all disciplines in the chemical sciences from fundamental, molecular-level chemistry to large-scale chemical process technology. Fields such as catalysis, process technology and synthesis play a key role.

More information →

Fundamentals and Methods of Chemistry

The focus of Fundamentals and Methods of Chemistry research is on the development of new techniques and on improving existing ones. Advances in models, computational tools and experimental techniques in the full range of the chemical sciences will enable us to study chemical reactions at ever smaller and shorter length and timescales, while at the same time opening up possibilities to study ever larger complex molecular systems.

More information →


Also this year, CHAINS offers Masterclasses for PhD students on the day before the conference. Masterclasses will be held online on Monday 7 December 2020 at 15:00. To register, indicate your interest during your registration for CHAINS 2020. You can choose one from five masterclasses to attent, spots are limited. 

Publishing: Tips for Manuscript Writing and Successful Submissions  

Dr. Jonathan Faiz, Wiley; in collaboration with KNCV
Duration: ca. 1,5 hrs with breaks

Publishing papers in reputed journals is an integral part of the research cycle. In this workshop, we will open the Editor's black box by explaining how manuscripts are processed from submission to publication. In addition, we will discuss ethical aspects of publishing and give tips on how to prepare your manuscript for submission and improve your chances for successful publication. Topics to be covered include: An introduction to Chemistry Europe; The job of an Editor; How do I simplify my writing and improve the presentation of my results?; How do I choose the right journal for submission?;  What do Editors and referees look for?; How do I improve the visibility of my research.

Career planning: your next step!

Marion Miezenbeek, QCoach.nl
Duration: ca. 2,5 hrs with breaks

What’s the next step in your career, what are you really looking for in a job and what do you have to offer another employer or supervisor? These questions will be answered in this masterclass so you know which career step is the one that matches the most with your personality, values and drive!

Getting Hired: Best Practice

Craig Jackson, ESS Recruit 
Duration: ca. 1,5 hrs with breaks

In this workshop I will provide best practice advice on the initial phase of job hunting. Which includes basic CV advice, where to find jobs (on and offline) as well as how to make yourself an attractive potential employee. Topics include: Where to find a job; What skills do employers want?; Job hunting and social media; CV best practice; Successful job searching; Career fairs; Recruitment agencies (pros and cons);  Sponsorship, Working Visas etc.

Networking & Pitching

Juliëtte Boughouf, THRIVE Institute
Duration: ca. 1,5 hrs with breaks

Goal of this Masterclass is to prepare and empower the attendees for their career development within and outside academia. We focus on two important soft skills that are important in this: networking and pitching. Participants will receive insights in the basics of both networking and pitching. We will put the learnings into practice by letting the PhD candidates practice with conveying their story to someone else.

Expand Your Online Presence through LinkedIn

Karlijn de Wit, Noscura
Duration: ca. 2,5 hrs with breaks

Learn how to make best use of your LinkedIn profile as a PhD student. Expand your network in a relevant direction, learn to search for relevant content and people, interact in a meaningful way, showcase your work and achievements in updates that fit your style. In this masterclass you will learn all the potential and possibilities LinkedIn has to offer and as a result obtain a bigger impact in the community.

Awards & prizes

The NWO Domain Science hands out five special scientific awards. These awards recognise the achievements of scientists in various areas of scientific research. There is an award for inspirational teamwork (Team Science Award), an award for science communication for a wider audience (Communication Award), an award to foster diversity (Diversity Initiative Award and Athena Award) and an award for the societal impact of scientific results (Stairway to Impact Award). The ceremony of one of these awards might be during CHAINS.

Programme overview

The programme might be subject to changes.
Download the programme as PDF
Register for the Lorentz Center Workshop 'Creating Chemistry' on Tuesday evening 8 December via this link.


The registration is now open!
A small fee of € 15,- will be charged to attend CHAINS 2020. It is possible to pay by iDEAL.
Due to administrative costs we shall not refund the registration fee in case of a cancellation.

The deadline for registration is 27 November 2020.

Register now!


Expected abstract submission dates:

  • Focus sessions mid-March to mid-May
  • Parallelsessions: May – July
  • Posters: May – October

More information will follow shortly.


Co-create the Chains 2020 programme by submitting focus sessions, abstracts for oral presentations in the parallel sessions or a poster! Please find more information and guidelines below.

Important deadlines

  • Poster submission deadline has been extented to 29 November 2020
  • Focus session submission closed on 14 May 2020
  • Parallel session submission closed on 15 July 2020

Poster submission

The poster submission guidelines:

  • You can only submit your poster after creating a personal account via the registration.
  • Submitting a poster is not a registration for CHAINS 2020. You need to register for the event separately. 
  • Only posters of registered participants are submitted.
  • Your poster will be published on the online platform of CHAINS 2020 online. 
  • Upload your poster as a PDF file (preferably in portrait) in the submission form.
  • Participants can view your poster enlarged in full screen by clicking on the poster.
  • Upload a video with your oral presentation about the poster in the submission form. 
  • During CHAINS 2020 participants can view your poster and chat or video connect with you for questions.
    You can control your availability for contact on your personal dashboard.
  • The deadline for submission is 29 November 2020.

    Online poster profile

Focus session abstracts

The focus session submission closed on 14 May 2020. Selected focus sessions have until 15 September to organise their session and to submit the final details.

Parallel session nominations

The parallel session submission closed on 15 July 2020. Outcomes about the acceptance or rejection of the parallel sessions will be communicated in September.

CHAINS 2020 goes online!

Effect Covid-19 on CHAINS 2020
NWO is complying with the measures announced by the Dutch government to prevent any further spread of the Covid-19 (Corona virus). As these measures make a normal CHAINS edition impossible we will make the most of the technological possibilities to create a great online CHAINS 2020.

Even with no limitations to the number of people that can be present at events and conferences such as CHAINS, there are still practical limitations that make a normal CHAINS edition impossible. For instance, due to social distancing, we can only fit a small number of people in lecture rooms. Even the biggest lecture hall is limited to only a fraction of the normal CHAINS audience. Therefore, we have decided to go fully digital in 2020, off course with necessary programme changes.

Online programme
A stimulating programme will showcase the best and most exciting developments in the Dutch chemical community. By maximizing opportunities for interaction and scientific exchange we expect to continue to build the chemical community, including junior and senior scientists in academia and industry.

We are now in the process of researching our options in order to present the participants with an exciting and inviting online programme. This means that we also have to think about a different programme for the digital CHAINS experience. For instance: though CHAINS will still be 2 days, you can expect the programme to be shorter than normal. As we do not want you sitting behind a screen all day, we will include plenty of breaks. We are also thinking about a social programme part that you can join optionally. We will inform you of our plans soon and hope you will all be excited to participate!

Ideas for the online programme?
If you have ideas that can help us create an unforgettable online CHAINS 2020. Please contact us via chains@nwo.nl.

We are positive about the future and aim to organise CHAINS 2021 as a physical conference once again.

Become a sponsor at CHAINS 2020

Take a 3D look at CHAINS 2020 studio where we can showcase your company live in Central Studios Utrecht. 

Have your own booth for two hours to give a demonstration, join a table conversation with our host to eleborate on your high end analystical instruments, devices and products. Other possibilities: your logo on the branding wall behind the main stage studio, company branded bumpers between sessions and/or company advertising during breaks.

See our sponsorpackage for more opportunities or contact us at sponsors_of_chains@nwo.nl.


Organising team CHAINS 2020

Ralf Boland, Digna Tesink, Stephanie Holst, Stefan Brandt, Stephan van Duren, Hans Peter van der Lit, Laura Jansen, Martine Kors and Vera Meester

Programme committee CHAINS 2020

  • prof. Titia Sixma (chair) - NKI
  • prof. Alexandre Bonvin - UU
  • dr. Stefania Grecea - UvA
  • dr. Ruud Kortlever - TUD
  • prof. Leon Lefferts - UT
  • prof. Katja Loos - RUG
  • prof. Evert Jan Meijer - UvA
  • dr. Maurien Olsthoorn - DSM
  • prof. Anja Palmans - TU/e
  • dr. Daan Swarts - WUR


If you have any questions about CHAINS 2020, please contact us by email: chains@marloesenco.nl

Event agency

Marloes&Co communication & events
Linda Hartendorp
Email: chains@marloesenco.nl
Telephone: +31 6 30625707

Payments are handled by Mollie ordered by:
Stichting Conferences & Events
CoC number: 858982997
VAT number: NL858982997B01

Code of conduct

All attendees, speakers, sponsors and partners at CHAINS are required to read the following code of conduct. Organisers will enforce this code throughout the event. We expect cooperation from all participants to help ensure a safe environment for everybody.

CHAINS is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks, Twitter and other online social media. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organisers.

Privacy Statement

NWO uses the personal data for various purposes described below:

  • registration of CHAINS 2020 delegates and visitors
  • carrying out admission control for CHAINS 2020
  • informing delegates and visitors about events they registered
  • activities pertaining to CHAINS 2020

NWO has engaged other parties, to process personal data exclusively for NWO. NWO entered into a processing agreement with these partners.

Participants of CHAINS 2020 may be filmed or photographed (for instance in the form of still images). These films, photographs and still images will be used for reporting purposes of the conference, and will be published on the NWO-website, social media channels and newsletters. NWO will not share scientific content without prior consent of the involved researcher(s).

Looking back

We thank all our speakers, participants, sponsors and partners over the years. CHAINS is organized by NWO Domain Science in close cooperation with our partners KNCV and ChemistryNL.


Over 1600 participants joined CHAINS 2019 on 10 and 11 December in the NH conference Center De Koningshof in Veldhoven.

Plenary speakers (in alphabetical order):
Frances Arnold (Caltech, USA) Lee Cronin (University of Glasgow, UK), Craig Hawker (University of California Santa Barbara, USA), Ilja Voets (Eindhoven University of Technology, NL) and Marcel Wubbolts (Corbion, NL)

Keynote speakers (in alphabetical order):
Ali Alavi (Cambridge/MPI), Alexander Böker (IAP), Ineke Braakman (University of Utrecht), Marjolein Dijkstra (University of Utrecht), Sophia Haussener (EPHL), Marc Koper (Leiden University), Robert Tampé (Goethe University), Helma Wennemers (ETH)

Watch the CHAINS 2019 after-movie

Take a look at the photos.

Watch the masterclasses of the KNCV and People in Science here:

The content displayed is the intellectual property of the KNCV and People in Science. You may not reuse, republish, or reprint the content without our written consent.


Read more about CHAINS 2018

On 3, 4 and 5 December 2018 more than 1500 scientists gathered in the NH Conference Center De Koningshof in Veldhoven to attend the 6th edition of CHAINS. We look back at an inspiring and successful CHAINS 2018, where communities in chemistry connected.  

Plenary speakers (in alphabetical order):
Bert Weckhuysen (Utrecht University), Jason Chin (MRC-LMB, University of Cambridge), Paula Hammond (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Pascal Jonkheijm (University of Twente; KNCV Gold Medal Lecture), Pieternel Levelt (KNMI, Delft University of Technology), and Kevin Plaxco (Univ. California Santa Barbara).

Keynote speakers (in alphabetical order):
Anna Akhmanova (Utrecht University), Kenichiro Itami (Nagoya University), Mark Johnson (Yale University), Cristina Nevado (University of Zürich), Kevin Verstrepen (Leuven University, Flanders Institute for Biotechnology), and Tanja Weil (Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research).


Read more about CHAINS 2017

We are proud to look back on a successful 5th edition of the CHAINS chemistry congress on 5, 6 and 7 December 2017 in the NH Conference Center De Koningshof in Veldhoven.

Plenary speakers (in alphabetical order):
Zhenan Bao (Stanford), Jacqueline Barton (Caltech; Knaw Van ’T Hoff), Ben Feringa (University Of Groningen), Nathalie Katsonis (University Of Twente; Kncv Gold Medal Lecture), Ferdi Schüth (Max-Planck-Institut Für Kohlenforschung), and Feng Zhang (MIT)

Keynote speakers (in alphabetical order):
Dick Broer (University Of Groningen), Albert Heck (Utrecht University), Freek Kapteijn (Delft University Of Technology), Michel Orrit (Leiden University), Alexander Van Oudenaarden (Hubrecht Institute), and Ana Pombo (Humboldt University Of Berlin)