Research Stay Abroad – Atomistic Molecular Dynamics Simulation and Characterization of Metal-Organic Frameworks

CRC 1333 researcher Sofia Kolin (project A08) visited Dr. Jack Evans and his team at the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology at the University of Adelaide, Australia, from November 2023 to February 2024 to work on her research project “Atomistic Molecular Dynamics Simulation and Characterization of Metal-Organic Frameworks”.

University of Adelaide, Australia

In the CRC 1333, all doctoral and postdoctoral researchers have the opportunity to receive additional funding for a research stay abroad up to three months by applying to the CRC board. Our aim is to promote the international competence and early independence of our early-career researchers.

Sofia first met Dr. Jack Evans when he gave a talk at the Max-Planck Institute in Stuttgart in 2023 and chose to visit the University of Adelaide and his group because he is an expert in the field of all-atom (AA) molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, which are used to unravel local diffusion and confinement effects in metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). These can only be performed in specialized MD programs, which are currently not used in the MD group Sofia works in. Her goal was to learn how to use these programs and to set up, run and analyze AA MOF simulations during her research stay.


Group of Dr. Jack Evans and two other groups working on MOFs at the University of Adelaide
In an interview, Sofia gave us some insights into her stay:
What was special about the work of the Evans Group?

Definitely their knowledge of specialized MD programs that we do not currently use in Stuttgart, and the opportunities they gave me to learn more about them by helping me analyze AA MOF simulations during my time in Adelaide The group also does a lot of social activities together. I was invited to join them and this has helped me a lot to get more involved with the team.

Kayak Excursion with team members

How did you like Adelaide? What were some highlights for you?

Adelaide has access to many beautiful beaches, so of course you can spend time at the beach after work, which was very different from my after-work life in Stuttgart. I really enjoyed this fact and the beautiful weather. It was also my first time to experience Christmas in a summer setting. The Christmas parade in warm weather is something I will always remember.

Public transportation was also a highlight: very reliable, fast, and even free in the city center. People were very friendly and easy to talk to. I had the opportunity to travel after my research stay and was impressed by the beauty of Australia and its wildlife. Seeing kangaroos and koala bears in their natural habitat was definitely another highlight for me.

Christmas in Summer
Koala Bear

Do you have any recommendations for someone looking to do a research stay?

Make sure that you have enough time for the planning process. I had my official “GO” from the CRC 1333 board many months before I started my trip, and that made planning a lot easier, especially if you have to find accommodation on your own.

If you can, try to combine your research stay with a vacation. This will give you a chance to also experience the country outside of work.

Another tip is to use the “Reisekostenbeihilfe” from the University of Stuttgart instead of doing the “Reisekostenabrechnung” after your trip. This has saved me a lot of time and advance payments.

Thank you for all the insights, Sofia