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Eight World-renowned Green Chemistry Institutions Making an Impact in Sustainability

By Sam Benjamin

The number of organisations making breakthrough discoveries and wide-reaching developments in Green Chemistry continues to rise, as the concepts and principles of sustainability gain more and more prevalence.

Here we list – in no particular order – what we believe to be the current Top 8 World-renowned Institutions to be Advancing Green Chemistry.

1. McGill University

McGill is considered to be one of the world-leading institutions for Green Chemistry research. Chao-Jun Li – a prominent figure in the field of Green Chemistry – is currently a professor at McGill, whilst also being involved in much of the research that is undertaken there.

The university runs the CREATE in Green Chemistry programme, which strives to produce highly-qualified trainees that will be able to take on leadership roles in the shift to a clean technology-based Canadian economy.

Watch professors and students talking about Green Chemistry at McGill University

2. Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry

Set up by John Warner (Ecochem Advisory Board Member and Speaker) and Jim Babcock in 2007, the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry aims to develop novel and innovative Green Chemistry solutions for industry, whether that be the chemicals themselves or the processes and engineering behind them.

The Warner Babcock IGC also started and supports the Beyond Benign foundation, which seeks to improve education and understanding around the topic of chemistry so that young future scientists and leaders consider sustainability as second nature.

3. University of York

Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence

Professor James Clark leads the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at the University of York, which is to be re-homed in a new £29 million chemistry complex on campus.

The Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence is one institution at the forefront of research and, with James Clark at its head (who has ties with the Royal Society of Chemistry, began the successful organisation Green Chemistry Network and is an important scientist to the field, as well as being an Advisory Board Member and Speaker at Ecochem) will continue to push the boundaries of sustainability.

4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

It could be argued the U.S. EPA was backing Green Chemistry right at the beginning – through the 1990 Pollution Prevention Act and Paul Anastas’s ground-breaking work in the science – and has been intimately involved ever since.

Since 1996 the U.S. EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge has been an impressive tool for promoting the research into and uptake of Green Chemistry and Sustainable Processing by industry, and continues to do so today.

5. University of Nottingham

Martyn Poliakoff Green Chemistry Innovator

Having just hosted its sixth annual International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry, the University of Nottingham is another institution spearheading innovation and research in the field.

GSK recently pledged £12 million to building a centre of excellence for sustainable chemistry, which will have a specific focus on pharmaceuticals.

Ecochem’s Advisory Board Member Martyn Poliakoff - maybe best known for his ‘Periodic Table of Videos’ YouTube series – is a researcher and professor at Nottingham and dedicates some of his research to Green Chemistry.

6. Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency

Not to be confused with the EPA, the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency was founded by Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart (an Advisory Board Member and Speaker at Ecochem) under the philosophy that ‘encouragement’ promotes the ideas of cross-sector cooperation for improved sustainability and environmental performance.

An important spin-off from the EPEA has been the Cradle-to-Cradle Certification, which rewards businesses that improve the sustainability of their products, materials or processes with a certificate of achievement based on certain criteria.

7. University of Massachusetts

The world’s first ever PhD programme in Green Chemistry – developed with help from Dr. John Warner – was established at the Center for Green Chemistry at UMASS in 2004.

The aim of UMASS’s programme is to equip future conventional chemists with the scientific knowledge to implement the principles behind Green Chemistry, so that they can begin transitioning the industry toward sustainability.

The Center for Green Chemistry still boasts some of the world’s leading research.

8. American Chemical Society

ACS GCI Green Chemistry InstitutionsThe ACS’s Green Chemistry Institute has since 1997 been pushing for the industry to implement the principles of Green Chemistry and Engineering.

The institute has two dozen international affiliates that educate in Green Chemistry through events and publishing.

Having just hosted their 17th annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute has been an influential force in the promotion of the field for many years.

This is only a select few of the many organisations currently involved in Green Chemistry.

Many universities are beginning to or have launched their own courses: such as the University of Leicester, Imperial College London, Berkeley University of California, Yale and Delft University of Technology, as well as institutions in Spain, Sweden, Australia and Brazil.

We at Ecochem are very fortunate to have important figures such as Martyn Poliakoff, John Warner and James Clark on our Advisory Board – all of whom have been instrumental in the successes of their respective institutions and organisations. Speaking at our Conference will be John Warner, James Clark and Michael Braungart, whilst the universities of York and Nottingham will also be attending.

Please download our event brochure to find out more about the speakers and others attending Green Chemistry Institutions.

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