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University of Bern:

Free LIMS for Institute of Geology

The University of Bern is a German-language comprehensive university founded in 1834 in the Swiss federal capital of Bern. In total, eight faculties, around 150 institutes and nine inter- and transdisciplinary competence centers belong to the university complex. Thereby, the five thematic foci are Sustainability, Health and Medicine, Matter and Universe, Intercultural Knowledge, and Politics and Administration.

The research focus of the Secondary Raw Materials Unit at the Institute of Geology of the University of Bern is in the field of sustainable waste and resource utilization. The focus of the research is on the mineralogical and geochemical characterization of incineration residues and their behavior in the environment. Investigations include field sampling of contaminated materials and waters at landfills and polluted sites, as well as experiments and analyses in the in-house laboratory. The current main research topics are the recycling of metals and minerals as secondary raw materials into the circular economy, the storage of CO2 in secondary raw materials, and environmental monitoring of landfill sites.

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Research collaborations with industry as drivers for sustainability

Companies are facing new challenges as a result of increasing globalization and technological progress. Increasing internationalization with previously unknown and highly innovative competitors means an increase in competitive pressure for companies. At the same time, the topic of sustainability in particular is becoming increasingly important in modern production. The Institute of Geology also cooperates with companies in the manufacturing industry to jointly find solutions for more sustainable production. Of course, not only the commissioning companies such as mines, landfills and steel producers benefit from the findings, but ultimately the entire environment.

Structured lab data management now possible thanks to FREE LIMS

In 2022, Patrick Kämpfer, part of the research group at the Institute of Geology at the University of Bern, approached the Fink & Partner team. He had come across Fink & Partner’s LIMS Technology Alliance Partnership Program (LTAP) by chance, which allows universities and non-profit organizations to acquire a free [FP]-LIMS license. His desire was to use LIMS to bring structure to the wet chemistry lab’s data management. Although it had previously been possible to organize all measured values using Excel files, the disadvantages of laboratory data management with Excel quickly became apparent: Excel did not allow several people to work on a file at the same time; analysis values from the history could not be easily retrieved; and the potential for errors was high.

Thanks to the free [FP]-LIMS license, the Institute of Geology at the University of Bern now has the opportunity to continue its research in the field of sustainable waste and resource use even more effectively and in a more data-based manner – and without a high financial investment. All data can be quickly retrieved with a simple filter function, multiple users can use the system, and the potential for errors is minimized.

Patrick Kämpfer is grateful for the opportunity for universities and non-profit organizations to obtain a license for a free LIMS: “A LIMS is normally rather a high-priced pleasure. We could otherwise never raise the budget with our resources. The program is really a good thing and takes us a decisive step forward in our research again.”

Free LIMS Field application

Field application, Patrick Kämpfer
source: University Bern