Originally Published: September 15th, 2014.
A recent webinar announcement by the American Chemical Society (ACS) brought attention to a grassroots endeavor by the Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientist and Engineers (NESSE) and how they are working to build a community of confident and able early-career sustainable scientists. These professionals are said to be connecting across disciplines, sharing knowledge and resources, forging collaborations, and finding solutions towards making research and its outcomes greener and more sustainable. The webinar was presented on September 4, 2014 – the slide deck can be downloaded via this link: Planting the Seeds for Sustainable Chemistry.
Calling themselves “Scientific Citizens”, the folks at NESSE are described as being an international community of academic researchers and young professionals in the first ten years of their career working on technological solutions to today’s most pressing environmental and energy challenges. The field of sustainability follows that of green chemistry with its own 12 principles, and is concerned with green solvents, bio-based transformations and materials, alternative energy science, molecular self-assembly, efficient and elegant synthetic methodologies, next-generation catalyst design, and molecular design for reduced hazard.
Here at Nerac we interact with our clients almost on a weekly basis on topics that are either directly related to sustainability and responsible care in the chemical industry, or in some way they deal with related issues in the supply chain involving a component of green chemistry and sustainability. The common thread is the cross-disciplinary nature of a new technology development effort. As pointed out in a recent article authored jointly by Nerac and Group4 (Developing an Innovation Process that Works), a successful technology development needs to be based on an understanding of the drivers of new technology (customers asking for sustainable solutions/products, government regulation, etc.) as well as the need for bringing together talents from multiple disciplines or adjacent markets. As indicated in a 2009 article by Campelo et al., the design criterion of sustainable synthesis of nanoparticles for a wide range of catalytic applications is an emerging driver in technology development.
Just as the nanotechnology field is highly multidisciplinary and requires inputs from physicists, biologists, chemists and engineers, the field of sustainability is also founded on similar requirements. More importantly, the young professionals and “Scientific Citizens” at NESSE have identified the following additional requirement for inspiring and mobilizing a new generation of interdisciplinary scientists and engineers who strive to achieve a more sustainable future:
- Build Community
- Train leaders
- Influence Research
- Shape Education
- Share Ideas
- Promote Advocacy
These six components constitute the outline of the above webinar.
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