Hannover, Germany. It will be a year before the next LABVOLUTION opens, however the eyes of the world are at present already focused on laboratories as never before. The reason is self-evident. The corona virus Sars-CoV-2 has not only generated great interest in testing methods and testing capacity, the transport of tests to laboratories and the availability of consumables, equipment and materials, and is also responsible for the current race to develop a vaccine and find drugs which could prove effective against Covid-19. "Laboratories play a key role in the fight against pandemics," says Bernd Heinold, LABVOLUTION project manager in the Deutsche Messe AG team. "LABVOLUTION will show the products and solutions for efficient laboratory operation - in a crisis as well as in a normal case - in May 2021. In addition, next year we will look back and analyze the crisis situation around the corona virus from different perspectives in order to derive the corresponding lessons learned."

Of course, the program will also embrace other topics – notably digitization and green issues, including sustainability and circular economy. All these topics pose this sector with a number of major challenges, which will be addressed both by our exhibitors and the top experts speaking within the framework of the forum and conference program. We can confidently expect some ingenious ideas and solutions to emerge.

In 2021, a central element of LABVOLUTION will be the smartLAB, which will again present a use case for the application of artificial intelligence, as well as numerous smart products and solutions. The smartLAB project is unparalleled: as a special display it began five years ago as a platform for the intelligent lab of the future. Industry and research got together to develop a shared vision for a feasible and functioning laboratory of tomorrow. From the outset smartLAB proved a public favorite at LABVOLUTION, and its consistent progress has sustained that popularity. The smartLAB serves as a test bed and innovative hub for the digitization of laboratories. What was basically planned as a research project has become a showcase for the realities of laboratory networking.

The smartLAB demonstrates the potential benefits of artificial intelligence, flexible networking of devices, automation, robots, human-machine interaction and learning from big data in the lab environment. In 2021 the smartLAB will offer companies more opportunities to take part and present their smart products and solutions. In the near future, companies will be invited to make their submissions to a panel comprising representatives of the smartLAB project sponsor – the Institute of Technical Chemistry of the Leibniz University Hannover. They will then evaluate the entries.

As Bernd Heinold explains: "Our objective is to shake up the laboratory sector," adding, by way of explanation: "The laboratory is the place where progress is made and the future shaped. The purpose of LABVOLUTION is to bring together the supply and demand for the ideas, technology and instruments that expedite progress." The compact layout and structure of LABVOLUTION is a big advantage – it allows visitors to obtain an overview of the marketplace, meet qualified contacts and thus generates new business quickly and efficiently.

This specialist trade fair provides insights into innovative lab technology, laboratory infrastructures and laboratory automation, as well as solutions for optimized laboratory workflows. An informative conference and workshop program creates added value in the form of knowledge transfer, opportunities to exchange of experience, further training and networking, as well as discussions on topical issues such as Laboratory 4.0, laboratory safety and sustainability in laboratory environments.

Other keynotes of LABVOLUTION are analysis and quality management, chemicals, reagents, supplies and consumables, as well as applications and processes. LABVOLUTION embraces the whole laboratory world and is geared to users in the fields of chemistry, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, biotechnology, environmental science, the food industry and medicine, as well as R&D.

LABVOLUTION is an industrial show. But it is also much more than that. It offers much that appeals to visitors from universities and academia. The exchange between science and industry is particularly important in view of the pandemic example. The interaction between the disciplines at LABVOLUTION is beneficial for both sides and leads to new ideas, partnerships and business deals. Over the course of its history LABVOLUTION has developed close ties with academia, the life sciences and the biotech sector. In fact, its roots lie in the trade show BIOTECHNICA.

The trade fair program will once again include the Lab USER Dialogue with small user workshops where exhibitors present their offerings and explain their solutions to key decision-makers. The visitors will also be able to try out the equipment and instruments presented in the workshops. The BIOTECHNICA FORUM will provide information on relevant topics from across the life sciences. A new feature will be the forum "How to communicate", which is devoted to SiLA2 and OPC UA and other standards and their role in the integration of laboratory equipment within IT systems. Experts will present various standards and data formats, and discuss their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Thought-provoking ideas and the latest findings in molecular cell biology, genome editing and microbiome research will be presented at LABVOLUTION by the experts speaking at the Science Symposium, which is taking place for the second time. The LIMS & Software Area ‒ a group presentation with various talks on all three days of LABVOLUTION ‒ will also be staged for the second time. Finally, LABVOLUTION 2021 will see the LABVOLUTION AWARD, which will again be honoring projects aimed at optimizing daily lab workflows.

No one looking for a future in the laboratory sector can afford to miss LABVOLUTION. In particular, the trade fair offers upcoming young professionals a wealth of know-how, contact with potential employers and professional support in career planning.