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Surrey student wins place at Roche Continents

A Chemistry undergraduate from Surrey is one of an elite group of European students invited to attend a week-long celebration of science and the arts in Salzburg, Austria.

Second year BSc Chemistry student Niccolo Venanzi will follow in the footsteps of a number of previous Surrey chemistry students selected for Roche Continents when he attends this year’s event from 10 to 16 August. Sponsored by global pharmaceutical company Roche, the prestigious event takes place annually during the Salzburg Festival and brings together around a hundred talented science and arts students from across European institutions.

Aimed at enabling students to discover the common ground of creativity in the arts and sciences, Roche Continents includes lectures and interactive workshops that challenge the boundaries of thinking around science, art and innovation. Attendees get the opportunity to engage with renowned scientists and artists, listen to thought-provoking contemporary music concerts, and speak to musicians and conductors.

Niccolo was nominated to attend Roche Continents by Professor Dulcie Mulholland, Head of the Department of Chemistry, and then required to submit a detailed application which was judged against thousands of others.

He says, “I’ve always had an interest in music – I played the piano and sang from a young age. I decided to study chemistry because it involves so many different fields of science and how they impact on the world. I think that the interrelation between science and art is very interesting. There are also a lot of similarities in the way you have to approach them: to succeed in either field you need to be confident in yourself and think outside the box.”

Professor Mulholland says, “We have been very successful in the last few years having our nominees accepted for this highly competitive opportunity, with six students having attended in recent years. Everyone who goes to Salzburg for the event says it’s a life changing experience. We have a wealth of musical and artistic talent amongst our Chemistry students.”

Emily James, now studying for a PhD at Surrey, attended Roche Continents as an undergraduate at the University in 2010. She says, “Roche Continents made me aware of the overlap between art and science and how the disciplines can go hand in hand to influence each other. It was also my first experience of academic networking, and Salzburg was a beautiful place to begin. Niccolo will have an amazing time – I wish I could do it all over again!”

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