The Elsevier Foundation Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge

Top 5 proposals announced!

Congratulations to the top contestants selected for joining us at the Green & Sustainable Chemistry Conference, 13-16 May 2018, Berlin, Germany:

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

We believe that chemistry plays a critical role in developing a sustainable future. Chemists have a special responsibility to develop those new products, resources and processes to make that happen. The Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge seeks to stimulate innovative chemistry research that helps the environment and low-resource communities. The winning project will receive a prize of €50,000 with €25,000 for the second place prize.

We look for proposals outlining innovative chemistry ideas that tackle some of the developing world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Projects will be reviewed according to the following criteria:

  • Provide a description of the project background and the urgency of the problem. Please include a description of the broader context and highlight how the project links to the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Comply with at least one of the 12 principles of green chemistry, or more specifically:
    • Reduce or eliminate the use or generation of one or more hazardous substance or material
    • Provide a more sustainable use of resources (e.g., bio-, minerals, metals but also water, energy), or products, or more sustainable manufacturing/ application of chemical products
    • Increase longevity, increase reuse or recyclability e.g. by proper design or manner of application etc.,
    • Design a new business model fitting into the criteria of green and sustainable chemistry.
  • Be replicable, scalable, sustainable, and set a benchmark for innovation – new ideas or concepts in development will be given preference over more advanced projects.
  • Be suitable for use in developing countries. Have considered the project’s social impact on local communities, including gender equality either in design or implementation.
  • Have practical applicability – include an implementation plan. Please note that if the project has been developed in a high-income country, contextually appropriate knowledge transfer will need to be demonstrated, for instance through a developing country implementation partner. If the idea presented is already patented it will not be eligible. Patents resulting from the work in case of executing the awarded project will be possible anyway.

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

13-16 May 2018
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. Read more about Elsevier and green chemistry.

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.”

Meet the winners of the 2016 Elsevier Foundation

Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge

First Prize: “Sustainable Textile Dyeing Using Nanocellulosic Fibers”

Second prize winners Prof. Suzana Yusup, PhD, and Daniel Joe Dailin, PhD, pose with pose with Conference Chair Prof. Klaus Kümmerer, PhD, (left) and Elsevier Senior Publisher Rob van Daalen

The proposal presented by Dr. Yunsang Kim’s won first prize because of the innovative green chemistry aspect and the large positive impact on the environment: he will use innovative textile dyeing technology using nanocellulosic (NC) fibers to reduce the generation of wastewater and release of toxic chemicals. The proposed technology is expected to reduce more than 80 percent of water consumption and help diminish environmental footprint of textile industries around the globe.

“I am really very happy and overwhelmed in winning this prize,” he said. “I feel responsible in developing this project to the next stage and for the actual implementation of the project, and I will do my very best for that.”

Second Prize: “Biopesticide for Improvement of Paddy Yield”

Second prize winners Prof. Suzana Yusup, PhD, and Daniel Joe Dailin, PhD, pose with pose with Conference Chair Prof. Klaus Kümmerer, PhD, (left) and Elsevier Senior Publisher Rob van Daalen.

This proposal, presented by Prof. Suzana Yusup, was selected as runner up because of the innovative sustainable agricultural aspect: using natural products to develop a water-based bio-pesticide. The formulated product will be tested on paddy plants and should improve the productivity of paddy fields.

“I am so excited and thrilled in winning this award,” Dr. Yusup said. “The prize will help us to implement our project in the local communities of our country, and we will do our best to make this a successful project.”

Field trial visit to the Center of Excellence for Rice in Malaysia, left to right: Shahrizal Abdul, Rob van Daalen, Raudhah Talib, Dr. Suzana Yusup, Noor Hafizah Ramli and Abu Bakar Ahmad.



A year later, Dr. Yusup invited Rob van Daalen, Senior Publisher for Elsevier’s Chemistry journals who initiated the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge in collaboration with Prof. Klaus Kümmerer of Leuphana University, to have a look at the results of the field trials. She says that thanks to the Challenge “It gave internal recognition and the opportunity to enhance our research to support the global (UN) SDGs. It captured public attention, particularly the farmers, on the importance of the application of green and sustainable methods for improving paddy yield. The research support received through Elsevier Foundation also enables us to accelerate our research in a trans-disciplinary manner, collaborating with people from industry, farmers, governmental bodies and social sciences.”

Visit Elsevier and Green Chemistry for more information!

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