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Looking Forward to the 2015 GC&E Conference

Contributor III
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The call for papers and registration is now open for the 19th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference. Catalyzing Innovation is the central theme of the conference to be held July 14-16, 2015 in North Bethesda, Maryland—just outside of Washington, D.C.

“The conference informs attendees on the design, commercialization, and use of processes and products, which are feasible and economical while minimizing the generation of pollution at the source and the risk to human health and the environment,” says Dr. Richard Wool, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware and 2015 conference co-chair.

The conference has been organized into a series of day-long tracks listed below. Scientists, engineers, educators and students will be able to select a series tracks over the three days that suit their own interests.

  • Catalysis in Green Chemistry
  • Designing Safer Chemicals
  • Education
  • Enlisting Biology to Solve Chemical Problems
  • Functional Thin Films
  • Green Engineering
  • Greener Synthetic Transformations
  • Harnessing Chemistry for Green Energy
  • Pharmaceutical Green Chemistry
  • Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners
  • Sustainable Consumer Products
  • Sustainable Feedstocks
  • Sustainable Materials
  • Tools, Metrics and Strategies for Green Chemistry

“This particular GC&E conference will be the first of its kind,” says conference co-chair Dr. Bruce Lipshutz. “In addition to the ‘usual’ breadth of topics covered, along with an outstanding selection of speakers, the addition of the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award Symposia to the program—featuring both recent and former recipients—puts this meeting over the top.”

The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA) distinguishes some of the top research in the country that incorporates green chemistry principles into commercially impactful processes and products. The 2015 award ceremony and reception will take place on the afternoon of Monday, July 13, 2015 in Washington D.C. Registrants of the conference will have the chance to indicate they would like to attend this ceremony and reception as well.

Each of the conference three days features an opening lecture by a distinguished keynote speaker. In addition there is a keynote lunch lecture during the first day of the conference.

Chris Coons is a U.S. Senator from Delaware who has an undergraduate degree in chemistry and has been actively engaged in chemistry-related policy issues. In September 2015, he introduced a bi-partisan Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act with Senator Susan Collins of Maine. The bill would create a cohesive plan to fund research into sustainable chemistry, improve coordination between federal agencies, and boost commercialization of sustainable technologies.

Deborah Mielewski, Ph.D. in chemical engineering, is the Senior Technical Leader of Materials Sustainability at the Ford Motor Company. She has been with Ford Motor Company for 28 years and was responsible for initiating the biomaterials program at Ford Research in 2001 where her team advanced soy-based foam for automotive seating. Mielewski is now developing sustainable plastics that meet stringent automotive requirements, including natural fiber reinforced plastics and polymer resins made from renewable feed stocks.

Angela Belcher, Ph.D. in chemistry, is the W. M. Keck Professor of Energy working in the Departments of Material Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering at MIT. Belcher specializes in proteins and how they can direct the material properties of minerals. The Belcher lab focusses on nature’s own processes to design imperative materials and devices for energy, the environment, and medicine.

Frances Arnold, Ph.D., is the Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Biochemistry at Caltech. Her research pioneered ‘directed evolution’ of enzymes, a process which is used widely in industry and basic science to engineer proteins with new and useful properties. Arnold has been honored for her innovative research by multiple awards, has been elected to the National Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering, has more than 40 patents, and has co-founded two companies.

Dr. David Leahy, Principal Scientist at Bristol-Myers Squibb, is the third conference co-chair this year. The mandate of the organizing committee is to select interesting topics across a range of research areas and speakers who can deliver high-quality technical information. Along with the PGCCA awards and the annual ACS GCI Industrial Roundtable Poster Reception, there will be plenty of programing and events targeted to industry researchers and business people.

The Green Chemistry & Engineering Business Plan Competition will be held again this year to provide an opportunity for early-stage start-ups and entrepreneurs to test their ideas in front of a distinguished panel of judges while vying for a cash award. As the only business plan competition that directly targets green chemistry and engineering ideas, ACS GCI recognizes the potential of these innovative technologies to propel the chemical enterprise towards a sustainable future.

Students are encouraged to register and present their work during the poster sessions. There are several funding opportunities available, and students who are not winners of a travel award may enter the poster competition to win one of two $500 cash prizes.

"This conference informs people at all levels (academia, industries, government ) that sustainable development has to provide...ecological integrity and social equity to meet basic human needs through viable economic development over time," says Susan Sun, Professor at Kansas State University and conference organizing committee member. "Biobased is good but has to have no competition with food; and green is good but has to meet required performance at affordable price."

Wool concludes, “New insights gained from international leaders in the green chemistry and engineering fields from industry, academia and government will lead to Smarter Research, Greener Design and a Better World.”

For more information on the conference go to or contact

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