The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has awarded grants for research in the field of green chemistry to leading young scientists from around the world in partnership with PhosAgro Group and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).
The award ceremony took place in Tashkent on the sidelines of the International Symposium “Science for Sustainable Development: Challenges for Central Asia”, hosted by the local campus of the Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia. The ceremony was attended by Lidia Brito, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences; Amal Kasri, Head of UNESCO’s Department of Basic Sciences, Research, Innovation and Engineering; Christopher Brett, Vice-President of the Scientific Board of UNESCO’s International Basic Sciences Programme and a past President of IUPAC; Konstantin Mogilevsky, Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation; Luc Allemand, Secretary General of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development; Siroj Loikov, First Deputy CEO of PhosAgro; and representatives of government agencies and non-governmental organisations.
The international scientific jury selected seven winners whose research is aimed at developing breakthrough technologies in the fields of environmental stewardship, public health, food security, improved energy efficiency and natural resource management.
The winners’ research focuses on, among other things, the development of environmentally friendly nanobioherbicides for weed control (Afef Ladhari, Tunisia), the regeneration of coenzymes in the synthesis of biodiesel (Anita Šalić, Croatia), the development of green materials for solar cells (Federico Bella, Italy), the solvent- and catalyst-free synthesis of benzene derivatives (Hasmik Khachatryan, Armenia), the green synthesis of platinum- and nickel-based catalysts widely used in industry (Viet Huong Nguyen, Vietnam) and the transformation of biomass residues using photoelectricalchemical cells (Antonio Otavio de Toledo Patrocinio, Brazil).
Mohamad Azuwa Mohamed (Malaysia) received a special grant for a project involving phosphogypsum conversion. The project focuses on the production of photocatalysts from a by-product of phosphoric acid production to be used in the clean production of hydrogen peroxide as well as the removal of pharmaceutical residues.
Lidia Brito, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, said: “For the last nine years PhosAgro has been partnering with UNESCO and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry to offer research grants in green chemistry to young PhD holders. This company is not only one of the largest producers of fertilizers in the world; it is also committed to green chemistry. Since we launched this partnership nine years ago, we have received over 900 applications and approved 48 research grants for the most promising ideas in green chemistry. Today I would like to congratulate the seven young scientists who are being awarded research grants.”
Christopher Brett, a past President of IUPAC and Vice-President of the Scientific Board for UNESCO’s International Basic Sciences Programme, said: “Interest in the programme has been growing rapidly every year. This topic – green chemistry for life – is obviously limitless. We are all aware of the challenges that humanity faces in respect of climate and green chemistry at the planetary level. With this in mind, we hope that this important and successful partnership between PhosAgro, UNESCO and IUPAC will continue on an even broader scale.”
Siroj Loikov, First Deputy CEO of PhosAgro, said: “As a producer of eco-efficient fertilizers that are free of cadmium concentrations that would be hazardous to human health and soils, we have no doubt that business has a key role to play in ensuring the sustainability of the planet. We are grateful to our partners, UNESCO and IUPAC, who precisely 10 years ago supported the idea of launching a global programme in the field of green chemistry. Green Chemistry for Life was the first initiative in the long history of UNESCO and the entire UN system to be carried out on an extrabudgetary basis with funding from a Russian company. We can say that it has been life-changing for dozens of young scientists from Russia and 31 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. PhosAgro will continue to work under the auspices of the UN to ensure the prosperity of future generations.”
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