The International Nano Olympiad (INO) is a collaborative international annual event which holds an international competition among university level students aiming at improving motivation of the students towards gaining deeper knowledge of nanotechnology and acquiring skills for its innovative applications to real scientific and industrial problems. It is also a platform for international collaboration and networking in the relevant areas of nanotechnology. The INO is governed by joint founding/steering committee based on the present INO Bylaw document which determines the general framework of the competition. The chart below shows the overall INO statute document structure.
1- Main goals of the INO
1. To improve motivation of the students towards gaining deeper knowledge of nanotechnology and acquiring skills for its innovative applications to challenging scientific and / or industrial problems.
2. To improve participant’s basic knowledge and skills in innovation and commercialization processes.
3. To reinforce the spirit of team work among the participants.
4. To favorably affect nanoscience and nanotechnology education in participating countries.
5. To create an International network of the contestants and participant economies.
6. To raise national awareness about the nanoscience and nanotechnology in the member economies.
7. To broaden cross cultural and international networking experience among students.
8. To create a self – sustainable system of methodological material generation and new educational approaches in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology.
9. To reveal and support the most active and talented young people in the area of nanoscience and nanotechnology over the world.
10. To perform an exchange of ideas and to promote careers of participants by building their skills and achievements in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology.
2- Participation Model
At the first event, undergraduate and M.Sc. level students are eligible to participate. Based on the first experience, the coverage may be expanded to PhD level later.
Each country has to introduce up to three teams to the INO secretariat. These three teams must be selected through a national competition and should include 3-4 participants each.
The graph below shows the suggested governing structure. INO will be registered as an independent international organization in later stages. All relevant International institutions will be welcomed to cooperate in holding the competition, subject to agreement of the steering committee of INO. Asian Nano Forum (ANF) being an important regional institution is considered as a key regional partner of the INO.
INO Steering Committee (INOStC)
The superior supervising committee that consists of responsible representatives from national institutions which are in charge of selecting national teams. INOStC is responsible for setting the general vision, developing the strategy, the competition model and content as well as managing the financial aspects and updating the governance structure.
The initial list of INO Steering Committee might consist of the delegates of the establishing meeting (e.g. indicated in the Memo of the INOStC establishing).
Besides the mentioned persons, INOStC should include a representatives of the ANF headquarter. INOStC meets at least once a year. The chairman of INOStC might be selected in the first (establishing) and then annual meeting of the INOStC followed by annual re-election.
INO Permanent Secretariat
The permanent secretariat is responsible for co-ordination of the long-term work of the INO, popularization of results, knowledge management, and also facilitating the necessary communications through establishment of an information hub. The permanent secretariat’s activities mentioned above should be in agreement with INOStC policy and recommendations. The results of its work are the subject of review and approval at the annual meetings of the INOStC.
INO Executive Secretariat
The INO executive secretariat is formed in the country of the event which will be nominated within the annual meeting of the INOStC (for 1 year). The main role is communication, working out details and implementation of the current event in coordination with the INOStC and permanent secretariat. Under supervision of this secretariat, a group of national (local / host) personnel will organize the INO events, manage the fundraising and mobilize resources for the INO, predominantly in the country of INO. Travel costs of the participants from outside to the country of INO are expected to be covered by the national teams.
INO Scientific Committee (INOScC)
The INO Scientific Committee represents an expert division suggested by the annual meeting of the INOStC. The chairman of INOScC has to be selected in the first (establishing) and then annual meetings of the INOScC. The main role is to elaborate interrelated and self-sufficient packages of scientific (theoretical/practical etc.) problems/tasks, which are based on the issues chosen by INOStC.
4- Competition Model
INO is organized mainly as a problem-oriented contest. It includes challenging questions and the participating teams are aimed to solve the problems based on their scientific and technological knowledge as well as innovation and creativity skills.
Each year, a few key themes have to be announced in advance. Selection and elaboration of the themes will be made by INOScC based on the INOStC proposals. They will determine the main area of focus of problems and challenges as well as educational programs.
Education alongside the competition
There will be educational workshops and visits in the Olympiad period related to the mentioned themes mainly targeting improvement of the non-technical knowledge and skills of the students.
The exams are scheduled to hold for 7-10 days. A part of the competition will be dedicated to assessment of the nanotechnology technical knowledge and experimental skills. During the Olympiad period, each team will try to solve a challenging industry/application level problem. As mentioned above, the teams receive some training when trying to solve the problem. They will consider technical as well as economic and environmental aspects (in chosen cases up to developing a business plan). They present finally detailed complex scientific solutions of the posted problems together with the plan to a panel.
The host partner in the country of INO is responsible for arranging cultural, sightseeing and networking programs during the Olympiad period and provides a high level of safety of the participants as well as informs them at the beginning about local regulations and rules.
4- Assessment criteria
Teams are judged by INOScC based on their scientific and technical knowledge, innovation and problem solving skills.
5- Financial considerations
Fundraising and attraction of the financial support will be pursued, particularly by the host partner.
The host partner will be responsible only for the local costs of the participants and should not cover expenses of national teams before the border of the country of INO.
6- INO awards
Award of the winner teams include certificate of merit, certificate of presence, research fund, and scholarship, depending on current funding situation and sponsors.
7- INO roadmap
INO will focus at the first year on undergraduate and master students. Based on the result of the first year event, it may include students from the PhD level in future. Problems may also evolve towards more challenging real world applications and the competition may include experimental section as well.
Registration of INO as an international organization will be pursued in later stages.