The Elsevier Foundation Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge

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The winners of the 2017 Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge are first-prize winner (at right) Dênis Pires de Lima, PhD, a professor at Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, and runner-up Chioma Blaise Chikere, PhD, a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. © Dario Spoto

Flora native to Brazil such as cashew nuts, combined with castor oil, can be successfully used to produce environmentally friendly larvicidals to combat mosquito carrying diseases such as Dengue fever, Chikungunya and Zika virus. Dr. Pires de Lima is developing an inexpensive and sustainable alternative to conventional insecticides, which are harmful for humans, animals and beneficial insects. His team’s project was selected from more than 700 proposals to win the 2017 Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge – a competition that stimulates innovative chemistry research that helps the environment  and low-resource communities.


the-elsevier-foundation-green-and-sustainable-chemistry-challenge-940x788-300x251Judging Panel
Meet the judging panel

The top five candidates will be invited to present their proposals at the 2018 Green & Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Berlin,  where the winners will be announced. The winning project will receive a € 50,000 award and the second prize winner will receive € 25,000.

The Elsevier Foundation Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge is jointly run by the Elsevier Foundation and Elsevier’s chemistry journals team.  The Challenge is open to individuals and non-profit organizations whose projects use green and sustainable chemistry solutions to tackle some of the developing world’s greatest sustainability challenges whether in water, sanitation or energy.

Meet the winners of the 2017 Elsevier Foundation

Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge


                                       First Prize: “Biosurfactants to combat mosquito-borne diseases”

Denis Pires de Lima, © Dario Spoto

The proposal presented by Dr. de Lima demonstrates well how sustainable chemistry can contribute to sustainable development in several other fields, in this case health. The scientific jury recognized that the project goes beyond re-using waste; by replacing dangerous toxic chemicals with organic matter, it tackles important global issues for several countries at risk.

“The quality of life of millions in Brazil, and in other countries at risk, can be greatly improved by this project.” he said. “Having received this award will also prove fundamental to the development of research at my university. it will motivate students to pursue sustainable chemistry work and show them the importance of green solutions.”

Second prize: “Crude oil-polluted site ecorestoration, Niger Delta, Nigeria”

Chioma Blaise Chikere, © Dario Spoto

In awarding Dr. Chikere’s project, the jury members recognized that as the problem of oil-polluted soil goes way beyond Nigeria, the project sets an example for many developing countries facing the same conditions. They also wanted to stress the importance of giving incentive to work with local expertise and raise awareness around an issue that has been devastating the country.

“This prize is important not only for me and my team, but for Nigeria as well,” she said. “The recognition makes me feel that we’re not left out as a developing country. Through science, we’ll be able to change lives and solve real life problems beyond the African continent. This award will give me access to better research facilities and help empower local Nigerian women through eco-restoration and biodiversity recovery.”

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