Chemistry goes green at Imperial College London: New masters course aims to 'clean up' the chemical industry

Imperial College, London, November 8 2006
Imperial College London is launching a one-year, full-time Master of Research (MRes) course in Green Chemistry, it is announced today. The course will allow postgraduate students to develop their skills in a rapidly growing field which aims to ‘clean up’ the chemical industry, making industrial processes cleaner, greener and more efficient for the benefit of the environment.
Green Chemistry is an emerging discipline which is being propelled to the forefront of chemistry research by pressure on industry to reduce waste and pollution, and by consumers’ increasing awareness of and concern with environmental issues. Advances in Green Chemistry in recent years have seen chemical processes being cut in length and complexity, resulting in less energy being used to make drugs and other products, while some international firms have reduced the amounts of hazardous waste they produce by millions of tonnes.
The new Green Chemistry course at Imperial is being set up to build on these successes by supporting future scientists to hone their skills in the field. The course will offer a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject which will expose students to topics as diverse as biotechnology, renewable energy, environmental policy, and chemical synthesis and catalysis, with both taught and research components.
Postgraduate students embarking on the course will be supported by an established and renowned Sustainable Chemistry group at Imperial’s Department of Chemistry. This group’s research includes searching for new ways of producing plastics using plants and other biological materials, instead of the petrochemicals that currently make almost all of the plastics used on a daily basis such as carrier bags and cling film.
Professor Tom Welton from Imperial’s Department of Chemistry, who will be leading the new MRes course, said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer up-coming chemists the chance to study for this masters course which will give them an excellent grounding in Green Chemistry, and which will be an ideal preparation for a PhD and research career in this essential field.
“The stereotypical image of the energy-guzzling chemical industry, polluting the air and creating hazardous waste products is no longer compatible with governments’ and consumers’ concern for the environment. The chemicals industries have made a good start, but we need to develop the next generation of researchers to take this to the next level, so that chemical and pharmaceutical companies can continue to provide much needed products without putting such a strain on our environment and natural resources.”
The Masters of Research in Green Chemistry will have its first intake in the academic year 2007/2008. Applications to the course will be accepted from with immediate effect, and students wishing to find out more about the course should go to: MRes in Green Chemistry: Energy and the Environment.
For further information please contact:
Danielle Reeves
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: +44 (0)20 759 42198
Mob: +44 (0)7803 886248
Notes to Editors:
1. Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (11,500) and staff (6,000) of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance the quality of life and the environment – underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture. Website:

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