We started by engaging stakeholders in industry and academia to try to understand the long-term needs of the chemical enterprise. With these ends in mind, we asked why these things couldn’t be done today. The answers to that question defined the gaps in knowledge that need to be filled (in research as well as education). We are asking the community to help define, and prioritize those gaps through workshops. This work will help define the roadmap.
I think you made the right decision. To make sure that you have the material you need and that it is current, a mix of sources is the best bet.
From my perspective, curricula tend to change slowly, although some changes in STEM can be accelerated when the corresponding industry moves quickly (look to IT and corresponding academic CS and EE programs as examples). The chemical industry, by contrast, tends to change slowly, and hence so do its supporting disciplines (chemical engineering and chemistry). As the industry changes (given social and economic pressures and the aging out of its current professionals), the demand for greener approaches will also change. If the industry (and/or academia) experiences disruption of some sort (as computing has over the past 20 years), the pace of change will increase.
One thing I like about this that seems crucial is the connection between industry and academia. Industry seems to have made great strides in green chemistry, whereas academia hasn't made as many improvements (at least from my perspective).
When we run workshops with faculty, they often cite examples of student interest and enthusiasm. A number of institutions also have noted that green chemistry is a recruiting advantage. I'm not aware of any studies that have been done to assess the demand.
The perspectives of early-career chemists and students are particularly valuable. Early-career chemists are in an excellent position to identify gaps in their education - what do they wish they had learned with respect to green chemistry that would have proven useful in their first job? Students are uniquely qualified to identify knowledge and skills they need in preparing for their chosen careers. Feedback from students and early-career chemists is most welcome as the roadmap is developed.
Yes, industry partnership is important. In part, industry's advances in green chemistry have been more visible. A lot has been done in academia that is below the radar. In any case, working together is essential.
I agree with Eric that a key to future success will be creating more demand for green chemistry in society and then ensuring that what we do in education is tightly connected to those needs.
In some ways, the move to mainstream green chemistry is much like that in medicine to mainstream so-called “evidence-based medicine”; each seems sufficiently obvious that it’s not clear why one would choose the “old” path. As such, success in the academic sphere is marked by the drop in mentions of “green” versus” traditional” chemistry because the on supplants the other to the point where the old path is discontinued (much as in one technology pushing another less efficient technology off the playing field). In theory, ultimately success will mean the end of the Green Chemistry institute at ACS because it becomes redundant. In industry, success should include a marked enhancement of the public perception of the chemical industry, which at present is seen as dangerous and toxic by and large.