The state-of-the-art of analytical chemistry keeps advancing at a rapid pace. In analytical separations, complex hyphenated systems, such as gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography – mass spectrometry (LC-MS) appear to have become the norm, rather than the exception. Comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC×GC) has matured and comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography (LC×LC) is increasingly applied, now that good commercial equipment has become available from several sources. Specialists, such as the analytical-chemistry group of the UvA, are pushing the advancement and proliferation of such techniques.
Also, through teaching programs such as the Analytical Sciences MSc track in Amsterdam, students are trained to understand and master such techniques. Many students get personal experience with advanced analytical techniques through their (graduation) projects. Yet, there is a gap between practice in academia and in real life. In real life, people are not looking to advance techniques. Instead, they are looking to analyse samples and to solve problems. In part, this is addressed by the COAST talent programs, in which vocational BSc (HLO) and academic MSc students are exposed to a much broader range of techniques and problems than any single institution can cover.
Still, despite all these teaching programs, students can never be 100% prepared for the great variety of jobs that need to be filled by analytical chemists. Every job has its own requirements, related to the types of questions asked, the samples dealt with and the constraints of the organization, such as quality-management systems.
Prof. dr. Peter Schoenmakers & Mimi den Uijl, UvA