The Institute of Chemistry at TU Berlin has become the first European institution of any kind to sign the Green Chemistry Commitment launched by international organization Beyond Benign. By doing so, the University pledges to make the principles of green chemistry an integral part of its teaching. The aim of green chemistry is to reduce or eliminate the use or creation of hazardous substances in the chemical industry when designing chemical products.
Among the founders of Beyond Benign is John Warner, one of the co-founders of the 12 principles of green chemistry and the man who gave his name to the Chemical Invention Factory (CIF) at TU Berlin, of whose advisory board he is also a member. Beyond Benign seeks to incorporate educational resources for green chemistry as well as sustainable research in teaching and industry. To achieve this, the organization is working worldwide with selected partners.
“We are proud and delighted to have signed up to this commitment,” says Professor Dr. Martin Oestreich, managing director of the Institute of Chemistry at TU Berlin. “It makes clear our intention and creative drive to contribute to a sustainable society using our research findings in chemistry, a process we will start in our teaching.”
The UniSysCat (Unifying Systems in Catalysis) Cluster of Excellence, also located at TU Berlin, had already committed itself to researching and implementing green chemistry. “It was a logical step for us to take to strengthen the University's position in the area of sustainability by reinforcing our commitment to these principles in our teaching and research,” says Professor Dr. Arne Thomas, professor of functional materials at TU Berlin and head of UniSysCat.
Signing up to this voluntary commitment in December 2020 opens up new innovative programs to chemistry students at TU Berlin and improves their career opportunities by providing them the opportunity for exchange within international networks.
TU Berlin now fulfills the criteria of a sustainable university in three key areas within chemistry: in research through the UniSysCat Cluster of Excellence, in teaching through the Green Chemistry Commitment and in knowledge transfer through the Chemical Invention Factory. Located on Campus Charlottenburg, the CIF supports startups and aspiring startups in the initial phases of their development and provides them with suitable labs and access to the latest research infrastructure as well as a network of mentors, coaches, companies and experienced entrepreneurs.
“These are ideal conditions to enable Berlin to draw on its existing ecosystem to become the center for green chemistry in Europe in terms of teaching, research and finding solutions for a sustainable society,” says Martin Rahmel, managing director of the CIF.