Today the first grants under a green chemistry programme launched by UNESCO, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (“IUPAC”) and PhosAgro to support research in the areas of environmental protection and human health, were awarded to young scientists from around the world.
Grants were awarded to:
· Dr. Thibault Cantat (France) for “Sustainable synthesis of methylated amines and phosphines from carbon dioxide”
· Mostafa Gasser (Egypt) for “Development of optical sensors for heavy metals determination in drinking water”
· Juan Carlos Rodriguez-Reyes (Peru) for “Materials chemistry as a critical tool for greener mining activities: Decreasing the use of cyanide by unravelling the physical-chemical properties of depleted minerals”
· Anastasia Hubina (Ukraine) for “Polysaccharide-based membranes for fuel cells”
· Professor Ning Yan (Singapore) for “Towards Ocean Based Biorefinery: Harnessing Shellfish Derived Chitin for Pyrrole and Acetic Acid via Hydrothermal Conversion”
· Dr. Sharifah Rafidah Wan Ali (Malaysia) for “Study of papaya peel waste as adsorbent for efficient lead (ii) removal from wastewater”
The awards ceremony took place at the PhosAgro/UNESCO/IUPAC International Symposium for Green Chemistry in the Y. V. Samoilov Scientific Research Institute for Fertilizers and Insectofungicides (a subsidiary of PhosAgro), with support from the Russian Federation Commission for UNESCO. Grant winners were warmly welcomed by participants of the Symposium, including Acad. V. E. Fortov, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vice-Chairperson of the Russian Federation Commission for UNESCO, G.E. Ordhzonikidze, Deputy Director of the Department for International Organisations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Executive Secretary of the Russian Federation Commission for UNESCO, Prof. M. Nalecz, Director of the Division of Science Policy and Capacity Building, UNESCO, Prof. N. Moreau, Member of the Executive Committee of the International Council for Science (“ICSU”), former President of IUPAC, and Prof. J. Corish, Treasurer, IUPAC.
The joint UNESCO and PhosAgro Green Chemistry for Life project, which is being implemented in close cooperation with IUPAC, was launched on 29 March 2013 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. The goal of the partnership is to harness the talents of young scientists to promote advances in green chemistry and its contribution to environmental safety through innovations that help to minimize or prevent environmental and health hazards, as well as the development of energy-efficient processes and the introduction of new environmentally-sound technologies.
The project provides financial support to promising young scientists from around the world who are working on developing and finding applications for new technologies using modern chemistry to address issues related to environmental protection and human health, food supply and use of environmental resources. Project applications were evaluated and selected by and international scientific jury headed by Prof. Maceij Nalecz, Director, Division of Scientific Policy and Capacity Building, UNESCO.
This is the first initiative in UNESCO’s and the UN’s long histories that is being carried out as an extra-budgetary project with support from a Russian business. PhosAgro, one of the world’s largest producers of phosphate-based fertilizers, has committed USD 1.4 million over five years to finance the most promising research proposals from young scientists. Since its initial phase this initiative is being encouraged and supported by the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Commission of Russian Federation for UNESCO.
Professor Maciej Nalecz said: “Many countries are experiencing an acute need for the development of scientific research capacity in the area of green chemistry, and in the application of the results of research activities for environmental protection and implementing environmentally safe technologies. For this reason we were overjoyed to accept PhosAgro’s initiative to support young scientists as a sign of business participating in finding solutions to global problems. I am sure that today marks the start of a new page in the history of chemistry, environmental protection and human health throughout the world.”
Professor Nicole Moreau, member of the Executive Board of the ICSU and former president of IUPAC said: “‘Green Chemistry’ describes the philosophy of research and engineering to develop and manufacture products that make minimal use of harmful substances and likewise produce minimal amounts of harmful by-products. This project illustrates that the most progressive members of Russia’s business community recognise their responsibility for the wellbeing of both today’s and future generations. I believe that other Russian companies will follow PhosAgro’s example and make their contribution to tackling today’s challenges within the UNESCO mandate.”
“The Green Chemistry for Life project is an example of how science and industry can work together to reduce the impact on the environment,” said Vladimir Fortov, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “For many scientists the competition is an opportunity to put into practice their unique knowledge and to gain support for the subsequent development of their chosen research topics.”
The PhosAgro/UNESCO/IUPAC International Jury for Green Chemistry, which includes renowned members of the international scientific community and representatives of leading R&D centres from Africa, Europe, North America and South-East Asia, met to consider the grant applications at UNESCO’s headquarters in May this year. The Jury considered 110 receivable and scientifically sound applications from around the world, and selected the six most deserving applications to receive grants. The jury’s next session is planned for spring of 2015.
“Today we are making awards to the authors of six scientific projects of the joint PhosAgro-UNESCO-IUPAC programme. Young scientists from France, Ukraine, Egypt, Peru, Malaysia and Singapore will receive the financial support to help them bring their projects to life, and their work will help to tackle specific environmental issues. All of our winners have in common a drive to make our planet cleaner, and to improve life for all its inhabitants. I believe that thanks to such projects and such talented researchers, we will be able to find effective mechanisms to secure production and environmental security at a global and national level,” said Andrey Guryev, CEO of PhosAgro and member of the Russian Federation Commission for UNESCO.