Brief from the 2023 Summer School on Green Chemistry

DAY 1 > DAY 2 > DAY 3  > DAY 4 > DAY 5


Lecturers, students, and young researchers of the 15th Green Chemistry Postgraduate Summer School.

The 15th Green Chemistry Postgraduate Summer School officially started on July 3, 2023, by welcoming outstanding in-person and online students and young researchers from different parts of the world in the beautiful city of Venice, Italy. Opening remarks were delivered by Prof. Pietro Tundo (Chair of Green Sciences for Sustainable Development Foundation), Prof. Buxing Han (Chair of IUPAC Interdivisional Committee of Green Chemistry for Sustainable Development), Prof. Natalia Tarasova (Director of the Institute of Chemistry and Problems of Sustainable Development, Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia), Dr. Maria Georgiadou (Senior Expert at the General Directorate of Research and Innovation of the European Commission), and Mr. Aleksander Antonov (PhosAgro), highlighting the previous successes and importance of this Summer School.

The Organizers of the 15th Green Chemistry Postgraduate Summer School with Nobel Laureate Professor Jean-Marie Lehn.


After opening remarks, Professor Jean-Marie Lehn from the University of Strasbourg, France, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1987, delivered his fascinating lecture on “Perspectives in Chemistry: Molecular-Supramolecular-Adaptive Chemistry”. Prof. Katalin Barta from Universität Graz, Austria, introduced the bright side of lignin depolymerization toward new platform chemicals.

Day 1 of the Summer school ended with two sessions of online poster presentations and one session of in-person poster presentation, where students and young researchers presented their research findings in Green Chemistry and their impact on achieving Sustainable Development Goals.



On Day 2, Mr. Aleksander Antonov of PhosAgro (Europe’s largest producer of phosphate-based fertilizers and the world’s largest producer of high-grade phosphate rock) introduced the previous successes and future funding opportunities provided by PhosAgro for conducting outstanding research and capacity building in Green Chemistry. Then, Dr. Sergey Zinoviev demonstrated the capacity-building programs in the peaceful uses of chemistry of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Dr. Maria Georgiadou (Senior Expert at the General Directorate of Research and Innovation of the European Commission) introduced the EU perspective for renewable fuels under the European policies. Prof. Buxing Han from the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, delivered an interesting lecture on the use of biomass and CO2 as carbon sources to produce fuels and value-added chemicals. Prof. Zhimin Liu from the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, gave a lecture on ionic liquid-catalyzed chemical reactions.

(from left): Aleksander Antonov, Sergey Zinoviev, and Maria Georgiadou
Krzysztof Matyjaszewski

Next, Prof. Krzysztof Matyjaszewski from Carnegie Mellon University, United States, delivered an extraordinary lecture on developing atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and other controlled radical and ionic polymerization techniques to synthesize various well-defined polymers with precisely controlled molecular architecture with designed shape, composition, and functionality. Prof. Francesco Trotta from the University of Turin, Italy, gave an insightful lecture on the use of renewable resources, such as starch, in polymer chemistry. Prof. Philip Jessop, who is the Canada Research Chair of Green Chemistry at Queen’s University, Canada, introduced the use of Life Cycle Assessment in Green Chemistry.

Day 2 of the Summer School ended with one session of online poster presentations, where students and young researchers presented their research findings in Green Chemistry and their impact on achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

Francesco Trotta, Philip Jessop and the In-person poster session


And after a good Day 2, the lecturers went on a walking tour around Venise.


The morning session of Day 3 was started by Prof. Buxing Han (Chair of ICGCSD) and Dr. Torsten John (Chair of IYCN) on the activities, successes, and opportunities of the IUPAC Interdivisional Committee of Green Chemistry for Sustainable Development (ICGCSD) and the International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN), respectively.

Prof. Michael Grätzel from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, who is renowned for inventing the dye-sensitized solar cell, commonly referred to as the “Grätzel cell”, delivered an inspiring lecture on mesoscopic photosystems that have the ability to efficiently convert sunlight into both electricity and chemical fuels, imitating the process of natural photosynthesis. Also, he demonstrated novel approaches aimed at achieving the efficient production of hydrogen and the reduction of carbon dioxide into ethylene by sunlight, utilizing water as the primary source of electrons.

Prof. Paul T. Anastas from the Department of Chemistry, Yale University, United States, delivered a lecture on the Periodic Table of the Elements of Green and Sustainable Chemistry. Drawing inspiration from the original Periodic Table that was introduced 150 years ago, Professor Anastas utilized this metaphor to establish conceptual frameworks and metrics. He emphasized the importance of legal, economic, and policy drivers in propelling the transition toward a more sustainable world. By employing this innovative approach, Professor Anastas aimed to facilitate advancements and empower the global movement toward sustainability.

Carlo Barbante and Peter Licence

Prof. Carlo Barbante from the University Ca’Foscari of Venice, Italy, gave a lecture focusing on the implications of global warming and the resulting effects on climate change. During his lecture, he showcased an innovative analytical methodology based on mass spectrometry. This methodology enables precise and accurate measurements of trace and ultra-trace elements in various environmental and biological samples. He also highlighted the application of chemical imaging analysis for studying long-term paleoclimate and atmospheric chemistry from ice cores. Furthermore, he discussed the examination of quaternary climate, heavy metals, and organic pollutants in polar and temperate ice and snow, as well as the reconstruction of paleofire events using ice and lake sediment records.

Prof. Peter Licence from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, who is widely credited with the discovery of ionic liquids-based surface science, gave an inspiring lecture on sustainable chemistry solutions for the fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors and ultra-high purity functionalized ionic liquids.

Excursion to the islands of Torcello and Burano.

During the social event in the afternoon session of Day 3, the students and lecturers were taken to two remarkable destinations of the Veneto region by a guided boat tour: the Church of Santa Maria Assunta (Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta) on the island of Torcello and the enchanting island of Burano. With its rich history and architectural significance, the basilica offered a glimpse into the past. By strolling along the canals and quaint streets, the students and lecturers immersed themselves in the charm and beauty of the island of Burano, which is known for its vibrant and colorful houses.


Day 4 began its morning session with Prof. Pietro Tundo (Founder and President) and Ms. Graziana Gigliuto (Foundation Secretariat) presenting an overview of the Green Sciences for Sustainable Development Foundation (GSSDF). They highlighted the foundation’s history, vision, mission, ongoing initiatives, and notable achievements.

Dr. Aurelia Visa from the Institute of Chemistry “Coriolan Dragulescu”, Romanian Academy of Sciences, Romania, delivered a lecture on conventional and unconventional metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), composed of different central metal nodes linked by organic linkers, which are an attractive class of materials that have been extensively studied for various environmental applications. She also highlighted the complexity and diversity of the architectural structures of MOFs, providing unique properties, such as high thermal, chemical, and mechanical stability. These characteristics allow these materials to be used in various applications, including the remediation of contaminated water with heavy metals, the treatment of textile and dye industry effluents, catalysis, gas storage, solar energy conversion, and drug delivery. She provided some illustrative examples of how MOFs can be synthesized by greener alternative reaction pathways.

Dr. Mirabbos Hojamberdiev from the Institut für Chemie, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, shared his recent research findings on solar water splitting for the generation of green hydrogen using metal oxynitride photocatalysts. Particularly, he emphasized BaTaO2N, which is a 600 nm-class photocatalyst, due to its small bandgap, suitable band edge positions for visible-light-induced water splitting, chemical stability, and nontoxicity. He discussed the challenge of the synthesis of highly crystalline BaTaO2N with a less defect density and presented his strategies to enhance the photocatalytic performance of BaTaO2N by applying (i) an NH3-assisted direct flux growth approach to reduce the defect density, (ii) engineering the bandgap by cation substitution, and (iii) exploring the effects of the altered morphology, size, and porosity on the visible-light-induced water oxidation activity and photoelectrochemical performance of BaTaO2N.

Aurelia Visa, Mirabbos Hojamberdiev, and Jonathan Forman

During his lecture, Prof. Konstantinos Triantafyllidis from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, highlighted the importance of adding the value of sidestreams in the biorefinery and pulp industry, specifically focusing on lignin valorization for the production of fuels, chemicals, and polymers. He discussed the state-of-the-art and recent scientific findings of his research group regarding lignin production through biomass fractionation, characterization techniques, and the development of valorization processes. Notably, he emphasized the utilization of lignin as a reactive additive in epoxy or phenolic resins without the need for prior depolymerization. This approach not only reduces the dependency on petroleum-based monomers but also capitalizes on lignin’s intrinsic functionality and aromatic properties. The lecture shed light on the current advances in lignin utilization, offering promising avenues for sustainable and eco-friendly practices in the biorefinery and pulp industry.

Prof. Natalia Tarasova from the Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia delivered an intriguing lecture that underlined the advancement of green chemistry within the framework of “planetary boundaries”. This concept was initially introduced by Rockström et al. (Nature 461 (2009) 472–475), highlighting the limitations imposed by Earth’s ecosystems and the impact of human-made chemicals on the environment. She emphasized that the excessive consumption of natural resources over the past four decades has resulted in a depletion of biocapacity — the ability of Earth’s ecosystems to regenerate biomaterials and manage anthropogenic waste. Consequently, the concept of “planetary boundaries” has gained widespread recognition. Additionally, she highlighted the challenges in quantitatively defining the limits of chemical pollution and aerosol content in the atmosphere. According to her, the lack of concrete results and uncertainty contributes to the emergence of chemophobia, which hampers sustainable development efforts. To address this issue, she emphasized the importance of adopting the principles of green chemistry as a guiding framework for chemistry professionals, serving as a code of conduct to promote sustainable practices.

During his engaging lecture, Dr. Jonathan E. Forman from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the United States discussed the role of green chemistry in both warfare and peaceful contexts, as well as chemical security. He highlighted the significance of arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation agreements, emphasizing the intersection of chemistry with legal obligations and diplomatic efforts. The lecture also delved into policy considerations and the impact of how chemicals are described within these agreements on the implementation of treaties. Particularly, he drew attention to the field of green chemistry, which aims to identify chemicals that are less hazardous. However, he emphasized the importance of recognizing that toxicity is dependent on the dosage of a chemical. He posed a thought-provoking question: If a chemical is designed to be less harmful and developed for benign purposes, does this mitigate or eliminate the risk of it being maliciously employed with harmful intent? These questions were explored during his lecture, encouraging students to examine the relationship between green chemistry and the broader objectives of chemical security.

Day 4 of the Summer School ended with one session of online poster presentations and one session of in-person poster presentations by attending students.


Oliver Reiser, Fabio Aricò, and Elsje Alessandra Quadrelli

Three insightful lectures were delivered in the morning session of Day 5. First, Prof. Oliver Reiser from Universität Regensburg, Germany, introduced synthetic organic chemistry undertaking significant efforts to develop new catalytic transformations that utilize greener reagents and avoid stoichiometric additives. He highlighted a visible-light photoredox catalysis offering unique activation modes of molecules, which serves as an alternative to many thermal transition-metals catalyzed reactions. He discussed the rapidly emerging copper-based photocatalysts, which can offer not only economical and economic advantages but can interact with substrates beyond electron transfer via inner sphere mechanisms.

Next, Prof. Fabio Aricò from Ca’ Foscari University, Italy, presented bio-based platform chemicals and dialkyl carbonates. Among the originally selected chemicals, D-sorbitol, together with 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) derivatives still occupy a top position in the list as they encompass all of the desired criteria for bio-based platform chemicals. In this perspective, his research team explored the reactivity and upgrading of D-sorbitol, and HMF with organic carbonates employed as green reagents and solvents. Several industrially appealing products have been achieved with potential applications as high boiling green solvents (i.e. dimethyl isosorbide), biofuels candidates (2,5-bis-alkoxymethylfurans – BAMF) and monomers for bio-polymers.

Finally, Prof. Elsje Alessandra Quadrelli from Université de Lyon, France, delivered a transdisciplinary talk on the challenge of being a researcher in green chemistry at the Anthropocene epoch. She discussed the complexity and the systemic nature of the rapid changes reinforcing the calls for profound changes on how disciplinary separations are to be overcome to improve how scientific research is performed. She posited that opening a transdisciplinary reflection associating chemists and experts of the problem outside chemistry, more specifically philosophers, economists, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, might be of interest to our community and will help us shape an intellectually informed approach to key systemic questions at the heart of green chemistry.

The jury of the 15th Green Chemistry Postgraduate Summer School evaluated in-person and online poster presentations and selected two in-person and three online poster presentations to be awarded. Also, the Jury selected one more in-person poster presentation to be awarded with special recognition. The poster winners presented their research works to teachers, online and in-person participants in the following order:

In-person poster award winners:

Géraldine Chanteux from Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium, on “Building high functional MOFs with electrically conducting properties for energy storage applications

Sherwin Hugo T. Lu from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, on “Laser-Induced Graphene from Coconut Fiber for the Solid-Phase Extraction of Organophosphorus Pesticides


Jury’s special recognition:

Soulaima Chkirida from Mohammed V University of Rabat, Morocco, on “New in-situ magnetic alginate coated chitosan core@shell beads with excellent performance in simulated and real wastewater treatment: behavior, mechanisms, and green perspectives

Géraldine Chanteux, Sherwin Hugo T. Lu, and Soulaima Chkirida


Online poster award winners:

Ariadne Magalhães Carneiro from São Paulo State University, Brazil, on “An efficient, fast, and green procedure to quantify zeaxanthin and lutein in corn grains

Joaquín Arata Badano from Instituto de Investigaciones en Físico Química Córdoba (INFIQC-CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina, on “Guanidine-based Deep Eutectic Solvents in CO2 capture process

Vuyolwethu Tokoyi from Durban University of Technology, South Africa, on “Application of ZIF-8/ionic liquids for the conversion of glucose extracted from sugarcane bagasse to biochemicals

Ariadne Magalhães Carneiro, Joaquín Arata Badano, and Vuyolwethu Tokoyi


Dr. Aurelia Visa (one of the co-organizers of the Summer School) made a presentation demonstrating the success of the 15th Green Chemistry Postgraduate Summer School 2023, delivered gratitude to all teachers for their insightful lecturers on Green Chemistry and students for sharing this wonderful and memorable moment together, and wished to continue their journey making our planet greener. Finally, the 15th Green Chemistry Postgraduate Summer School was officially closed by the final remarks of Prof. Pietro Tundo (Chairman of the Summer School), wishing students the best in their future careers in the area of Green Chemistry.

See YOU Next Year!

15th Green Chemistry Postgraduate Summer School event page

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