Where it all began

The ChIMiC-consortium is built around the Belgian members of the scientific committee (Gert Desmet, Jef Focant, Sebastiaan Eeltink) and the organizing committee (Frederic Lynen, Deirdre Cabooter, Ken Broeckhoven) of the Hyphenated Techniques in Chromatography conference series.

This is a bi-annual international conference organized in Belgium since 1990 that typically attracts between 300 and 400 participants. Further extending the successes of the “founding father” of our generation (Pat Sandra), the combined international recognition of the applicants makes that Belgium is currently considered as one of the hot spots for analytical separation science.

With this project, we hope to institutionalize this further, by strengthening and consolidating the bonds between the different members of this new generation. It is the high ambition of the consortium to use this project as a stepping stone to create a nation-wide center of excellence with strong international recognition.

The Project

In pursuit of more robust and precise chemical identification measurements, the ChIMiC project aims at developing a number of hardware and software solutions that will either enlarge the analytical separation space, or that will help the chemical analysts to make much more efficient use of it.

As one of its most desired goals, the project will develop a powerful decision-supporting software tool (autonomously functioning expert system) for the design of chemical measurement methods (=method selection). Currently, method selection is merely based on trial-and-error or by following the analyst’s intuition. Per separation problem, days and even weeks can be lost to finding the correct measurement method, even when only 1-D separations are considered. This problem becomes disproportionally larger for multi-dimensional separations. The availability of a rational and algorithmic approach allowing to harness the full separation power of multi-dimensional separations, without first having to spend weeks to find the best combination, will save huge amounts of time (and hence money) in all academic and industrial labs mining the content of (bio-) chemical mixtures.

The ChIMic-project will be the first endeavor of this kind where this will be attempted with a sufficient critical mass and with the required depth and breadth of knowledge.