Latest Course News

Internationally unique programme "Sustainable Chemistry" launched at Leuphana University

2019-09-09 Part-time and online: The international master's programme will be offered for the first time in the summer semester 2020 at the Professional School. Its development is part of the work of the ISC3 Research & Education Hub at the Institute of Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry at Leuphana University.

"Sustainable chemistry presents an opportunity to use our abundant natural resources as a substitute for chemical and artificial products. We can exploit resources while at the same time protecting the environment, the health of our vulnerable population groups and their social and economic well-being. Expertise in sustainable chemistry is therefore the key to accelerating sustainable development," says Dr. Sam Adu-Kumi, Vice President of the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency. One of the largest and most toxic landfills in the world is located in the West African country - full of imported electrical waste from the Global North. The environmental problems, often caused by Western industry and lifestyle, are not only huge in Ghana. Dr. Adu-Kumi therefore welcomes the new and internationally unique programme "Sustainable Chemistry".

The programme taught in English is aimed at professionals worldwide with a degree in chemistry or related disciplines. "Everywhere there is a huge demand for chemists who are committed to sustainability. We deliberately focus on continuing vocational training, because the problems are pressing," explains Klaus Kümmerer, Professor of Sustainable Chemistry and programme manager. The programme was developed jointly with ISC3. The International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre has been established by the Agency for International Cooperation (Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment (Bundesumweltministerium, BMU) and the Federal Environment Agency (Bundesumweltamt, UBA). Leuphana is part of the ISC3 with a Research & Education Hub at the Institute of Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry. 

The programme covers a wide range of topics from toxicology, environmental behaviour of chemical substances, modelling of substance properties and substance design using chemical informatics to global substance flows, methods of sustainability assessment, international conventions, and alternative business models for chemical products, all united under the central question of how chemistry can contribute to sustainable development and Agenda 2030 in a sustainable way. The programme can be studied almost entirely online. A few short attendance periods are planned for practical experiments and exchanges among students and teachers. Kümmerer considers the master's degree in "Sustainable Chemistry" a great benefit for companies, too. "Participants transfer new ideas to companies, such as the computer-aided resource-efficient molecular design or legal knowledge. Companies can thus make themselves fit for the future." The four-semester programme can be partially studied as well, leading to the certificates "Sustainable Chemistry and Regulatory Affairs" and "Sustainable Chemistry and Benign by Design".

The team of lecturers comprises international and interdisciplinary faculty. In addition to colleagues from public authorities and industry, professors from internationally renowned universities such as chemist Vânia Gomes Zuin, professor at the University of Sao Carlos in Brazil, and James Clark, professor of chemistry at the University of York, England, will teach the programme. Professor Clark is one of the leading representatives of Green Chemistry. Kümmerer also hopes for an intensive exchange of chemists from the Global South and North as a result of the programme.

„The chemical industry stands out as a gatekeeper on the pathway towards a 1.5C world. It takes a generation of dedicated, interdisciplinary trained chemists to make that change happen. So congrats, Leuphana: With your Masters programme Sustainable Chemistry you really nailed it!”
Ste­fan Ha­ver, Head of Cor­po­ra­te Re­s­pon­si­bi­li­ty, Evo­nik In­dus­tries AG

I welcome this new course on Sustainable Chemistry. An understanding of sustainability and its vital role in the future chemical industry is essential to the training of the modern chemist.
Prof. Dr. Ja­mes Clark, York

 „Sustainability and Circular Economy will be key drivers for economic and societal development in the years to come. This journey requests all stakeholders, enterprises, users of chemical products, end consumers, authorities as well as the civil society to interact for its successful implementation. Chemistry and the chemical industry, respectively, will have to play a key role to offer solutions e. g., by shifting to renewable resources and increasing the efficiency of usage as well as closing loops throughout the life cycle. Some examples might be the increasing use of biorenewables or waste to produce chemicals or even CO2 as a raw material. This master programme will help participants to better understand the complex requirements of sustainability in a globally interconnected environment and thus prepare them to better comply with the underlying challenges.“
Dr. Peter Nagler, Executive Director Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences, A*STAR , Singapore

Video about the Master-Programme Sustainable Chemistry (Duration 4:15 Min.)

Author: Marietta Hülsmann