Winning projects announced for the 2019 Elsevier Foundation-ISC3 Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge

Top projects awarded for innovative wastewater treatments and solutions for ecosystem balance


Dresden, May 9, 2019

Two new chemistry solutions that use a new green technique to remove toxic metal from wastewater and improve pollination and ecosystem health with the help of butterflies have won the Elsevier Foundation-ISC3 Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge.

The 2019 first prize winner is Ramia Albakain, Associate Professor at the University of Jordan. The second prize was awarded to Dr. Ankur Patwardhan, Head of the Biodiversity Department at Maharashtra Education Society’s Abasaheb Garware College, Pune, India.

The Elsevier Foundation-ISC3 Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge is a collaboration between the Elsevier Foundation, Elsevier’s chemistry journals, and most recently the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) – which joins the partnership by contributing new expertise, networks and a third prize for entrepreneurial spirit.

The five finalists for the 2019 edition pitched their projects during the 4th Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Dresden, after being selected from over 400 submissions by a jury of experts in the field.

“The Challenge’s top 5 finalists all presented highly competitive proposals,” said Professor Dr. Klaus Kümmerer, Chair of the Challenge’s scientific jury. “With our decision, we are glad to recognize projects that have the potential to address urgent issues in their communities.”

2019 Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge Winners, Drs. Albakain and Patwardhan (right) (Credit: Jürgen Lösel)
2019 Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge Winners, Drs. Albakain and Patwardhan (right) (Credit: Jürgen Lösel).

The first prize, worth EUR €50,000, was awarded to Dr. Ramia Albakain for her project “New green technique to remove toxic metal from wastewater”. Due to a landscape where little precipitation occurs, Jordan suffers from year-long water shortages. To tackle these desertic climate challenges, the project showcased environmentally-friendly solutions to use green membranes to treat medical wastewater, making it safe for agricultural irrigation.

“Receiving this prize will enable me to not only initiate collaborations in Jordan, but to also do that internationally: I’m looking forward to more opportunities do joint capacity building with my team, for the success of the project,” said Dr. Albakain.

“The two winning projects of this year’s Challenge demonstrate the great impact they can have even beyond their local areas,” said Rob van Daalen, Senior Publisher of Chemistry Journals at Elsevier. “By awarding these prizes, we feel that we can truly help the winners take those essential next steps in their work.”

Dr. Patwardhan was awarded the second prize of EUR €25,000 for his project, “Butterfly attractant for pollination and ecosystem health”. The project focuses on the plant-pollinator interactions that play a vital role in maintaining ecosystem balance and aims at enhancing floral visits by butterflies through the development of natural attractant formulations.

“This prize gives me the energy and confidence to keep going: to serve the community is a priority, and as first step I’ll reach to the farmers who have supported the development of the project,” said Dr. Ankur Patwardhan.

“Through projects such as these, which clearly tackle key UN Sustainable Development Goals around life on land and water security, the Challenge is helping build a stronger, green and sustainable chemistry community, and will boost knowledge exchange around the globe. Though it was difficult to make a choice, all of our finalists are truly winners,” said Ylann Schemm, Director of the Elsevier Foundation.

Additionally, Mario Heredia Salgado has received the third and newest Challenge prize from ICS3, the “Entrepreneurial Spirit in Sustainable Chemistry Award”. Dr. Salgado developed a process to produce biochar from agribusiness biomass wastes to improve stressed soils. Mr. Heredia Salgado, a researcher at the Energy Systems and Climate Changes at Aveiro University in Ecuador, received a cash prize of EUR €25,000 plus the onboarding and implantation support of the ISC3’s Global Start-up Service.

All five of the Finalists will be invited to attend the 2019 ISC3 Green & Sustainable Summer School at Leuphana University in September.

For further information about the Green Chemistry Challenge, visit the Elsevier Foundation website, or join the conversation on social media at @ELSchemistry and #GREENCHEM2019.

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Notes for editors
Reference sheets for each award winner with a more extensive biography and description of their work are available upon request.

For over 60 years, Elsevier has been a leading publisher of chemistry journals and books. We publish highly respected titles, including prestigious society journals, book series, and a range of impressive major reference works. The Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge and the related Conference were initiated and are sponsored by the chemistry department. The associated journals are: Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable ChemistrySustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy, and (recently launched) Materials Today Sustainability.

Dr. Küemmerer is Director of the Institute of Sustainable Chemistry at Leuphana University Lüeneburg and also serves as the scientific director for ISC3, The International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative, Chair of the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference, and is Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s journals Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry and Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy.

About Leuphana University
A university dedicated to freedom and responsibility for the common good, Leuphana is a young university that lays emphasis on innovation, rather than tradition. It is continuously aspiring to create a space stimulated by a collective search for knowledge and sustainable solutions. www.leuphana.de

About ISC3
The ISC3 is a globally acting, non-profit organization, multi-stakeholder platform and think tank founded in 2017 on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and the German Federal Environment Agency to promote and develop sustainable chemistry solutions worldwide.  It manages a knowledge platform and a network of experts, offers training and support for implementation especially for developing countries, carries out innovation scouting activities to discover new technologies, processes and business models. The ISC3 Innovation Hub in cooperation with DECHEMA initiates innovations in the field of sustainable chemistry and supports entrepreneurs through its Global Start-up Service. ISC3 is also active in the field of science and operates as a Research and Education Hub in cooperation with the Leuphana University. www.isc3.org

About The Elsevier Foundation
The Elsevier Foundation provides grants to knowledge centered institutions around the world, with a sustainability focus on innovations in health information, diversity in STM, research in developing countries and technology for development. Since 2006, the Foundation has awarded more than 100 grants worth millions of dollars to non-profit organizations working in these fields. Through gift-matching, the Foundation also supports the efforts of Elsevier employees to play a positive role in their local and global communities. The Elsevier Foundation is a corporate not-for-profit 501(c)(3), funded by Elsevier, a global information analytics business. www.elsevierfoundation.org

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com

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