The University of Bath has become the first UK university to sign the Green Chemistry Commitment - a charter to train the next generation of chemists in the theory and application of green chemistry principles.
The Green Chemistry Commitment (GCC) is a global initiative to help transform chemistry education by preparing chemistry students with a better understanding of green chemistry, developing innovative, environmentally-sound solutions to chemical products and processes.
Signatories commit to teach their students about the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, toxicology and how chemicals affect human health and the environment, laboratory skills to design greener alternatives to chemical processes and to equip future scientists to use methods and chemicals that are benign for human health and the environment.
University of Bath’s chemistry courses are being revised as part of a University-wide curriculum transformation for students starting in 2023. Whereas currently sustainable chemistry is taught as optional units in Years 1 and 3 of undergraduate programmes, following curriculum transformation, sustainable chemistry will become embedded in the core units that all students will take.
PhD students from the University’s Centre for Sustainable & Circular Technologies (CSCT) undertake research in multiple areas of sustainable chemistry, including creating plastics from sugars, converting seaweed into biofuels, and making new materials for solar cells.
The GCC was signed by Chemistry Head of Department, Professor Andrew Burrows, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching), Professor Peter Lambert, facilitated by the CSCT.
This initiative was enabled through the work that Professor John Warner, Beyond Benign Co-Founder, has carried out as part of his 2021/21 Global Chair post at the University of Bath. Professor Warner’s longstanding relationship with the CSCT acted as the catalyst of the GCC.
Professor Burrows said: “For the undergraduate programmes, it is all about making students aware of green chemistry principles and considering these when designing a reaction - for instance reducing waste, avoiding formation of harmful by-products and using renewable feedstocks. They have the opportunity to put these principles into practice during their final year research projects.
“For PhD students, especially those working in the CSCT, the principles are fully embedded into their research projects.
"I'm delighted that we are the first Chemistry department in the UK to sign up to the Green Chemistry Commitment.
“The principles of sustainable chemistry are firmly rooted within the way that we work in the department, and this approach to chemistry will become increasingly more important in the future."
This pledge is part of the University’s wider commitment to our environment, following the appointment of a new Climate Action Team earlier in the month as part of Bath’s Climate Action Framework and the introduction of a new Climate literacy course for incoming students studying any subject from September 2020.
Dr Amy Cannon, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Beyond Benign said: “As a global leader in green and sustainable technologies, the University of Bath will continue to demonstrate their leadership through this Commitment to transforming chemistry education.
“We look forward to deepening our connections with the University and sharing their unique approach to addressing sustainability through chemistry.”