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Message from the Director

Honored Contributor
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Contributed by David Constable, Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®

I think I’m still trying to come to terms with how fast the year is going by; we’re finishing the first quarter already and Spring has officially arrived!  We eagerly await the cherry blossoms in the tidal basin here in DC, all set to be at their peak this week.

Perhaps the reason that things are going so quickly is because there is so much going on here at the ACS GCI. It seems as though the “crazy period” for the annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference was rolled back a bit this year. We have set the technical program a few weeks ago and I am delighted we had so many high-quality abstracts submitted that we added an additional six sessions to our program. This is, I think, a cause for celebration, and just perhaps, a bit of panic!  As I mentioned in my previous post, there is so much going on at this Conference that it will be hard to keep up with it all. Great keynotes, special events every night beginning with the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony, roundtable meetings, workshops and something for everyone who attends – you won’t be bored!  We are very encouraged and greatly appreciative of all the efforts by our Program Chairs, Advisory Committee, session chairs and others who are working very hard to make this event a success. I hope that you can join us in Portland.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there will be a workshop immediately following the conference to flesh out the Educational Roadmap that we are developing.  This multi-year, collaborative effort is moving forward and I’d like to tell you about one opportunity for you to contribute to this before that workshop.  On April 25th were will be holding an “Ask the Innovators” event on our GC Innovation Forum.  I hope you have been on the forum and participated in previous “ATI” events.  These have been very successful in getting people to exchange ideas and ask questions of experts in green chemistry. The April 25th event will be focused on getting input to some key ideas around sustainable and green chemistry capabilities we’d like to see in graduates with chemistry degrees. Please plan on joining and contributing so we are in a good position to move the road map forward in June.

There has been a lot of industrial roundtable activity over the past few months that is worth mentioning. I mentioned in my last post that the Chemical Manufacturing roundtable was about to hold a workshop on Less Energy Intensive Separation Alternatives to Distillation. This workshop convened 42 participants on the 17th and 18th of February here at the ACS Headquarters There are many aspects to what the roundtable is achieving and I was greatly encouraged by the outcomes. The Project Team will be convening additional workshops in the 2nd and 3rd quarter to continue to round out the roadmap. I continue to be inspired by the commitment and vision this team has displayed, and look forward to a great technology roadmap.

The Pharmaceutical roundtable met in Cheshire, England, for their first meeting of the year earlier this month. There is so much going on with this roundtable , so I will update you on just a few of the many activities. The grant program continues with the award of three grants to pursue research into flow/continuous processing, two bio-pharma grants, and approval for a new grant cycle for this year. I eagerly await the public release of the web-based reagent guide which will be available after the GC&E Conference (you can see a sample of it now). This will be a tremendous contribution to green chemistry in industry and especially, in academia. The Roundtable has organized six sessions for the GC&E conference and these will be excellent. The Roundtable aspires to grow and we are actively engaged in discussion with other companies who are not members.  If you’re in the Pharma or allied industries, please do consider becoming a member!

We just returned from the 251st ACS National Meeting in San Diego. For those of you who don’t attend these meetings, I can tell you that they are a blur of constant activity. The ACS GCI supports the work of two ACS Board Committees, the Committee on Environmental Improvement and Corporation Associates, and there are many opportunities to collaborate on sustainable and green chemistry. There are a number of ACS Divisions that routinely program in sustainable and green chemistry – the Environmental Division, the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division, the Organic Division, the Medicinal Chemistry Division, the Polymer Division, to name just a few.  This is, in my opinion, very encouraging.  We want to see sustainable and green chemistry woven into all Division programming!

We routinely have a booth at the National Meeting and we are extremely excited to have had over 800 people who stopped by the booth. This is a record for us and extremely encouraging. Those who stopped by got to hear a little about green chemistry and how they can move green chemistry forward in what they do. As many who stop by are students, I am buoyed by their interest in green chemistry and hope they continue to look for opportunities to integrate it into their future academic and post graduate careers.

As always, please do let me know what you think.


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