Meeting of the Minds: Catalyzing Education to Industry Innovation

Jun 20, 2024 9:00 AM ET

Green chemistry education provides chemists with a framework to design chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances—which is key to creating a more sustainable future. Despite green chemistry’s benefits, integrating green chemistry into curriculum and practice in higher education remains a challenge for education systems.

MilliporeSigma, the U.S. and Canada Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in partnership with global green chemistry education nonprofit Beyond Benign, recently hosted Catalyze: Education to Industry Innovation—a Green Chemistry Symposium that brought together industry professionals, green chemistry experts, educators and students for focused, interactive discussions on how green chemistry education in university curriculum can be a critical driver for industry innovation and the resources available to help integrate green chemistry principles into education. Participants left the event energized about preparing next generation scientists with the skills and tools to address sustainability through chemistry.

Giovanni Brito, PhD student from Queen’s University shared, “The Catalyze event was a life-changing experience for me! Being among the greatest in the field of Green Chemistry sparked even more of my curiosity and urge to keep specializing and learning about it. The event was even better than I expected. I was very happy to know that those striving to incorporate Green Chemistry into education are not only experts, but human beings that take care of others. I can’t wait for the second edition!”

Here are a few highlights:

  • Keynotes from MilliporeSigma’s Chief Technology Officer, Karen Madden, who discussed how the organization’s DOZN™ tool and Cyrene™ greener alternative solvent, among others, help build sustainability into innovation; and Dr. John Warner, co-author of Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, who emphasized the importance of taking a systems approach to sustainability.
  • A panel discussion featuring MilliporeSigma’s Jeffrey Whitford, Vice President of Sustainability and Social Business Innovation, Seventh Generation’s Martin Wolf and Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ Sarah Mandlebaum, who discussed transparency and the importance of conveying the value of sustainable products to the supply chain and consumers, among others.
  • Breakout sessions exploring sustainable alternative products, integrating systems thinking into undergraduate science curriculums and a behind-the scenes look at MilliporeSigma’s M Lab facilities, which provided a glimpse into the company’s customer collaboration labs for bioprocessing optimization.

Educators can learn more about Beyond Benign’s Green Chemistry Commitment (GCC) program by visiting its GCC webpage, or by contacting Dr. Natalie O'Neil, Beyond Benign's Director of Higher Education, at for any questions.