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Sustainability by design

Watch this video to find out how chemists at the University of Nottingham are working with industry to develop sustainable solutions.
Earlier on, we were talking with Jonathan and David. And in particular, David told us a lot about the new building that we’re going to have for the School of Chemistry in Jubilee campus. Now I’m joined here by another one of my colleagues, Chris Moody. Given your involvement in this, can you tell us a little bit how the idea was developed of creating this new building? For many years, we’ve had a range of collaborative research projects with GSK. And GSK its precursor companies have historically employed a lot of Nottingham graduates. So there’s been this close relationship for many years. Both organisations have an interest in sustainability.
GSK’s chief executive Andrew Witty has challenged his company to massively reduce their carbon footprint over the next decade or two. So following a meeting with Andrew Witty a couple of years ago, this idea was floated whereby not only one would carry out sustainable type chemistry in the laboratories, but one would also think about the laboratory design itself. And therefore GSK came to us with an idea that not only could we design a new type of chemistry laboratory, but one might actually then go ahead and build it. And what impact do you think this new centre is going to have? Not just for the School of Chemistry, but for the wider community.
Well hopefully, we will change the ethos of not only in the way the chemistry is taught in universities, but the way that chemistry research is carried on. Now that, again, will not only apply to universities, of course. That will apply to the wider industry. Obviously, GSK’s particular interest is in the pharmaceutical industry and the manufacture of new medicines. So clearly, that is going to be a major research interest. We hope the students who are involved in the new building will just start to think about things in a slightly different way. They will consider sustainability as the first and foremost consideration before they start any of their research.
We also hope that the centre will serve as a hub for small companies in the local area so they can come in and see new ways of working, which are going to be saving water, saving energy, et cetera. Well, thank you very much, Chris. That’s all for now. See you later.

This video explains how academic chemists at Nottingham work with industry to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to our everyday needs and wants. Those of you in China can also view this video on our Tudou channel.

Think about: Look around your home or workplace at the items you use, or the activities you do, every day. Can Green Chemistry be applied to produce or do this more sustainably? Do some research and tell us what you find out. If you are stuck for ideas, try one of these:

  • Carpet
  • Photographs
  • Cooking dinner
  • Cleaning

Share your findings via a posting below, or link to your blog if you write one.

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Sustainability, Society and You

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