The theme of the WCLM 2023 has its roots in a relatively new (2019) IUPAC project – the identification of the Top Ten Emerging Technologies in Chemistry – technologies that are judged to have the highest potential to improve the quality of life, contribute to economic growth, and advance society towards a more sustainable future. Every year and since 2019 when this project was initiated as one marking IUPAC’s 100th anniversary, it has sparked a global conversation about how chemistry is evolving, and it has raised questions such as what is the “next best thing” in chemistry? how do we prepare for it? where is chemistry heading with regards to access to resources, regulation, energy, health, materials…?
This year’s WCLM will attempt to answer some of the aforementioned questions. In planning for this meeting, leaders in the global chemical community were asked what they perceived as Society’s most pressing problems and what challenges chemistry faces in finding solutions to those problems. The following topics emerged and have been selected for presentation and debate during the coming meeting:
- The digitalization of chemistry (artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, quantum computers, robotics)
- The advanced chemical recycling of plastics
- New fuels (the future of energy and the environment)
- Pandemic responsiveness (speed of testing, personalized medicine, wearable sensors)
- New methods for drug discovery (programmable chemical syntheses, spatial genomics – will build on the first bullet point above)
- The future of chemistry education (how should chemists be prepared for the lab of the future, for data sharing/management, for the interdisciplinary nature of scientific research, etc.?)
There will be one speaker per topic for a fifteen to twenty minutes presentation, and time will be allotted at the end for a wrap-up and a question-and-answer session. This meeting will be in-person, as part of the during the IUPAC World Chemistry Congress in The Hague, The Netherlands on 23 August 2023. The Congress, themed ‘Connecting Chemical Worlds’, brings together all disciplines of chemistry, and a diverse audience of chemists from both academia and industry, and from all around the globe.