Rhine-Waal students bag first place in research poster competition at European Detergents Conference

Rhine-Waal students Aleksandar Hizman, Sabine Vollmer, Chantal Baumann, Kim Krieger and Lars Frohn, undergraduates in the Quality, Environment, Safety and Hygiene programme of the Faculty of Life Sciences, won first place in a research poster competition at the 10th annual European Detergents Conference, held in conjunction with the SEPAWA Congress in Fulda, Germany. Under the guidance of Prof Dr Dirk Bockmühl, Professor of Hygiene and Microbiology at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, the students worked together to develop their concept and design and presented it at the SEPAWA Congress, delighting the jury and taking home the €300 grand prize. SEPAWA, an association of specialists from the fields detergents, cosmetics and fragrances, hosted the competition as part of its ongoing initiative to encourage new generations of specialists by rewarding quality research efforts.

The competition rules stipulated that submissions must be application-oriented and relevant to the fields represented by SEPAWA. Hizman, Vollmer, Baumann, Krieger and Frohn selected everyday hygiene procedures at home for their topic, and entitled their project "Do you really know your roommates? A survey on hygiene habits of German Students". The project focused on the perceived disparity between students' understanding of good hygiene and their actual hygiene-related behaviour. With the help of a survey with such questions as "How do you estimate the infection risk spread from your clothes" or "How do you wash underwear and socks", the group investigated the general laundry and hygiene habits of their fellow students. The results of their investigation were then compiled, evaluated and presented as poster at the congress. Aleksander Hizman, head project author, was extremely pleased with the team's results: "I'm very happy that we won this award. We spent a lot of time on our project and it feels great to earn positive feedback and recognition from others for our efforts."

Fellow Rhine-Waal student Sarah Henze, undergraduate in the Bio Science and Health programme of the Faculty of Life Sciences, also won accolades, earning 3rd place in the SEPAWA Award for Young Scientists competition for her bachelor's thesis "An in vitro investigation of the transmission paths of impetigo contagiosa between skin and textiles". The thesis, which she developed in conjunction with the Hohenstein Institute in Boennigheim, Germany, was supervised by Prof Dr Dirk Bockmühl.

The SEPAWA Congress is held each year in Fulda, in the central German region of Hessia. Thanks to a collaborative initiative between the Detergents Working Group of the Society of German Chemists and the SEPAWA association, a wide variety of scientific fields are represented at the combined congress and conference. This year's SEPAWA Congress was the 61st, held in conjunction with the 10th European Detergents Conference. It featured over 2,000 participants from 40 countries.

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