VENICE, Italy, September 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ("UNESCO"), in partnership with PhosAgro and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry ("IUPAC"), today presented leading chemists from around the world with the latest round of grants for research in the field of green chemistry.
The presentation took place during the opening of the 6th International IUPAC Conference on Green Chemistry, which will be followed by an academic symposium dedicated entirely to a discussion of the grant programme.
The award ceremony was attended by IUPAC President and Associate Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Natalia Tarasova; the President of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO, Franco Bernabè; PhosAgro CEO and member of Russia's National Commission for UNESCO Andrey Guryev; member of the Executive Committee of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the former President of IUPAC, Nicole Moreau; the chair of the international academic jury for the grants project, Professor John Corish from the University of Dublin; as well as leading representatives of the global scientific and educational communities.
The five-year, global project called Green Chemistry for Life, with USD 1.4 million in funding, was launched on 29 March 2013 at UNESCO's Paris headquarters. The initiative is aimed at providing support for talented young scientists from around the world that are conducting research in the field of green chemistry. Their goal is to protect the environment and human health through the development of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly technologies.
This programme is unique in that for the first time in UNESCO's long history, and in the entire UN system, this kind of initiative is being implemented with extra-budgetary funds provided by Russian business. PhosAgro, with assistance from Russia's Foreign Ministry and the Russian National Commission for UNESCO, that offered to provide financial support for scientific research for young scientists from all around the world. The programme has proven to be a useful and effective way to support and promote promising projects developed by young scientists, as well as to attract attention of the public to the key role that chemistry plays in solving issues facing global civilisation.
By upgrading its production facilities with safe and energy-saving technologies, monitored indicators of PhosAgro's impact on the environment today are below the values established in European and Russian reference documents on best available technologies. With the goal of developing and implementing technical innovations and preparing young scientists, PhosAgro conducts a programme of research and educational activities. PhosAgro has its own Scientific Research Institute for Fertilisers and Insectofungicides; in addition, the company has partnered with industry-leading scientific and engineering organisations in Russia. In the same vein, it also carries out charitable work, an important part of which is the Green Chemistry for Life project.
In 2016, the international scientific jury selected the six best projects from among submissions from around the world for the PhosAgro/UNESCO/IUPAC grant. The winners included young scientists from Egypt (Ahmed Shebl Elsayed Sayed), Pakistan (Muhammad Ismail), Italy (Enrico Ravera), Russia (Alsu Akhmetshina), Kenya (Wycliffe Chisutia Wanyonyi) and Uruguay (Ignacio Carrera), who will all receive grants for further research. The winners may use their prize money for research on topic that include ways to minimise the impact of pesticides on plants, fruits and vegetables and to ensure the safety of farmers and workers; to patent new wastewater treatment technologies; to discover technologies for greener drug synthesis; or for the introduction of more environmentally friendly means of synthesising nano-fertilisers. A very interesting idea was proposed by the above-mentioned scientist from Kenya, Wycliffe Chisutia Wanyonyi, which is to use chicken feathers for the production of cosmetics, such as hair-care products, and even the production of fertilisers.
In her address to conference participants, IUPAC President Natalia Tarasova said: "science today plays a leading role in addressing the challenges facing humanity, which is why it is especially important to support talented young people. We also believe in scientific diplomacy, in the notion that science knows no boundaries, since scientists from all around the world speak the same language. That is why it is important to develop support for young scientists at the international level."
Russian National Commission for UNESCO Member and PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev said: "the further progress of humankind while minimising our impact on the environment at the global level is possible only through the joint efforts of science, international organisations and business. I hope that, in the future, this project will serve as an example of successful cooperation between science and industry in the formation of a new ethics of progress that envisages a great degree of responsibility for the prosperity of future generations on our planet."
Professor John Corish of the Trinity College Dublin School of Chemistry at the University of Dublin, who is also IUPAC's Treasurer said: "There were no weak projects this year, and submissions were received from all around the world: from Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Western and Eastern Europe, North America, Africa and the Arab world. Making a selection from among the projects was very difficult, but I can say that all of this year's winners are very good. I have no doubt that some of these technologies will eventually be used everywhere and will change our world for the better."
Grant recipient Ignacio Carrera from Uruguay said: "Green Chemistry for Life is an excellent programme. It is very important, especially for young scientists, to receive funding and support for their research."
Grant recipient and Chemistry PhD Alsu Akhmetshina from the R. E. Alekseev Nizhgorod State Technical University in Russia said: "The Green Chemistry for Life project represents a big step towards waste-free production, towards responsible and sustainable industry and agriculture."