From 24-27 June 2014 the joint 4-day REFINE/Renaissance summer school on “Polymers for a Sustainable World” took place in San Sebastian. The location and weather could not have been better, with a fantastic view over the San Sebastian bay from the conference centre Palacio de Miramar. Of course, this did not distract the participants from the excellent presentations given by 15 industrial and academic speakers on various aspects of sustainability, from raw materials to energy. We were very pleased that 5 of those speakers represented REFINE partners (Fabio Di Lena, Steve Howdle, Andreas Heise, Iris Hilker and Rachel Platin). Moreover, REFINE ESRs chaired the session on the second day.
In total, the summer school attracted over 100 participants, of whom about 35 were local, with the balance from various European countries and from further afield, for example China and Brazil. Apart from presenting cutting-edge science, the summer school provided ample time for the participants to interact in a relaxed environment and to stimulate discussions and exchange during sampling of local food, beach activities and a fantastic conference dinner. It seemed that everybody had a great time in San Sebastian and took home new science, contacts and impressions. Even the French air traffic controllers were on our side as their strike forced some of us to stay longer!