The ultimate success is when chemistry=green chemistry; the term green chemistry will no longer be needed because all chemists will consider the environmental and human health impacts of their work, striving to maximize efficiency while minimizing hazard and waste. This is a long-term goal, however, and intermediate metrics, such as the widespread availability of green chemistry education materials, participation in professional development focused on green chemistry, and the integration of green chemistry into the curriculum, will serve as intermediate metrics.
That sounds like an excellent way to get feedback! I would love to hear from early-career chemists about the skills they needed as they started their careers, especially in the area of green chemistry.
It can sometimes appear that academic green chemistry is entirely pharma-based, but that’s possibly because big pharma is much more engaged with academia (as compared to the consumer products industry). The fundamentals and techniques behind green chemistry are entirely applicable to any part of the chemical enterprise, and hence once students are adequately prepared, they should be able to translate their training to whichever industry they find themselves in.
Why do you feel that achievements in academia have been less visible than those in industry? What needs to be done to make academic achievements more visible?
No, not just Pharma, but there have been great strides made there. A number of other sectors have incorporated green chemistry and made great progress: Consumer electronics, agricultural products, consumer product formulations (soaps, cleaners, etc), nanotechnology and many more.
I agree with Jim; if one is dealing with a relatively cutting edge topic, it is hard to find a single text that can “keep up”. A mix of materials sounds perfect.
Most green chemistry education programs use an inter-disciplinary course approach; i.e., courses in toxicology, engineering, biology/microbiology, etc. Is that what the roadmap has in view?
Amy Keirstead here from the University of New England in Maine. We are looking to start a new B.A. program with a concentration in Green Chemistry. I'm wondering what suggestions the three experts have for us as we develop this program, both with respect to their own rich experiences and for us to be innovative and in line with this new "road map" initiative from the ACS-GCI. Many thanks.
That is a tough question. One reason is probably that we haven't had a mechanism like the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards to celebrate the successes of green chemistry in education in the same way that we have had for industry. Some sort of awards program might be a good idea to raise the profile. That being said, we probably need to a better job of showing how education is making a difference in the world the way that products do. I do think that the roadmap will help us increase the profile. First, it will bring the community together to raise awareness. Second, it might convince textbook publishers and authors to focus more on green chemistry.
The roadmap maintains its focus on a chemistry core, but also recognizes that the ability of chemists to effectively communicate with their peers from toxicology, product design, process design, and others is critical to generating chemical solutions that are indeed greener than their conventional counterparts and highly desired. Hence while it is not the goal of the roadmap that, for example, all chemists become experts in toxicology, it is fundamentally important that chemists appreciate toxicology basics and possess the ability to communicate with these (and other) professionals during their work.