Sustainable chemistry thriving at the University of Nottingham

This post is a copy of a press release I wrote for a recent event on green and sustainable chemistry held at The University of Nottingham in April 2014. 

Researchers from across the University of Nottingham came together to talk about how their research could lead to the greener and more sustainable production of chemicals and materials.

Organised by the Sustainable Chemical and Biological Processing Priority Group, the Sustainable Research Symposium saw presentations from chemistry, biosciences, engineering and life sciences.

The Priority Group, established two years ago, aims to make the University the key partner for both industry and academia, by revolutionising chemical and biomaterial manufacturing across the globe. By doing so, it will embed sustainability within the process manufacturing industries, minimise energy usage and bring forward the adoption of renewable raw materials.

Through the broad range of topics discussed, from light powered-chemical reactions to the efficient production of foamed concrete, the symposium demonstrated the strength of Nottingham in sustainability.

Presenters had to give their talks in the “flash” style, with only three minutes and two slides allowed each. Despite the challenge to condense years of research into such a short space, all the talks were of a high standard, kept to time and generated plenty of questions. More detailed discussion was then possible during the poster session.

Prizes were given for the best three “flash” presentations, decided by public vote, and to the best poster, judged by a panel of industry experts. Many congratulations go to Dr. Alan Burns (Chemistry, 1st Flash), Youla Jenidi (Engineering, 2nd Flash), Lorna Mitchell (Chemistry, 3rd Flash) and Christopher Wood (Chemistry, Best Poster).


Dr Alan Burns is presented the prize for best flash presentation by Dr Anca Pordea

The symposium was kicked off by a keynote presentation from Dr Hans-Peter Meyer of the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation. Hans-Peter, who recently retired from life science company Lonza, gave a thought-provoking lecture on the future of industrial biotechnology in the chemicals market.


Keynote speaker Hans-Peter Meyer discusses the “triangle” of sustainable development.

There were two other guest speakers. Gavin Scott, Environment Manager in the University’s Estates Office highlighted cross-campus activity to make Nottingham a world-leading sustainable university. Closing the day, Dr Pete Shaw, of chemicals company Synthomer, described the dangers and pit-falls when applying for jobs and gave the audience tips on how to prepare for an interview.

The organisers would like to thank all the speakers and attendees, especially those external guests who travelled to Nottingham to give talks and judge posters. It is hoped that the Sustainable Research Symposium will become a permanent event in the University’s calendar.

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