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Message from the Director: Looking Ahead

Valued Contributor
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It has been a year now since I've started working at the ACS GCI and I’m not quite sure how the days accumulated into weeks and months that passed so quickly. I’m also not sure how we managed to accomplish so much but I think it has to do with having an amazing staff here in Washington and an amazing number of talented and committed people who have made so many contributions to green chemistry and engineering throughout the year. I have no doubt that the rapid pace and the many opportunities to move things forward will continue.

So what's ahead? There are the usual events like the Spring and Fall National ACS meetings where you will find green chemistry and engineering-related sessions sprinkled across many divisions. It's pretty exciting to see all the content and I hope that many of you will be able to participate. At the Spring meeting in Dallas we are working on a workshop for students to help them apply green chemistry and engineering to their research. This workshop promises to be a very practical and interactive opportunity to use tools and case studies. It's not the usual overview of what green chemistry is, or a review of the principles of chemistry and engineering but how you assess toxicity, change your reaction conditions and make better choices in the lab.

There's also the annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in June, the week of the 16th (17th, 18th, and 19th) to look forward to and hopefully you'll be there. The program organizers, Jim Hutchison (Univ. of Oregon), John Frazier (Nike), and Tina Bahadori (US EPA) have assembled a great team and are putting together a program to be remembered. Please do visit to learn more. The abstract system is open now and will close on February 28th.

This is also a year of other specialty conferences and symposia. Most notably, there is the Gordon Research Conference on Green Chemistry in Hong Kong and the IUPAC conference on Green Chemistry in Durban, South Africa. Both of these are shaping up to be great opportunities to interact with different green chemistry and engineering researchers across the globe. Very exciting indeed!

The work of the ACS GCI Industry Roundtables also continues apace. Each has met already or will meet soon to establish goals for 2014, and I am encouraged by what they are planning. An exciting addition on the horizon is a new roundtable for businesses involved in hydraulic fracturing, and I will be telling you more about that in the not too distant future. In fact, we hope to communicate more about the activities of all the roundtables throughout the year, recognizing that there has been much progress and many accomplishments over the years that are little known outside of the participating companies.

We are also working to understand comprehensively what is being done in green chemistry and engineering, and what is being said about it. Answering the simple questions of who is doing what and where they're doing it has not been an easy task. Note to academics: It would be helpful to the entire green chemistry and engineering community to make what you are doing more visible on the internet than it is currently! Later in the year, we are hoping to convene a key group of educators and industry folks for a workshop to develop educational roadmaps for green chemistry and possibly green engineering (if no one is doing that already). Jim Hutchison, David Allen, Julie Haack, Amy Cannon and others have been talking about this and moving the idea forward for a while now and we'd like to help move it the next step.

As has been the case for many years, there are a vast number of opportunities in green chemistry and engineering. I think what I am beginning to see is an increase in momentum, greater student interest, greater faculty involvement and a continuation of a high level of passion and energy in all sectors (industry, government, academia). It’s truly wonderful to see.

As always, let me know what you think.


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