August 25, 2016 matt.scott

By Matt Scott

The expo hall at the Pennsylvania Convention Center this past Monday was a maze of giant platforms and posters depicting the future of chemistry— unlocking the power of nanobubbles for instance and our latest innovation challenge, #LAUNCHChemistry.

We kicked off the 2016 Chemistry Innovation Challenge live at the 252nd American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting. David Constable, Director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute, joined us for a Facebook Live event to launch the challenge, which is focused on smarter chemistry for a greener future.

“What we’re trying to get out of LAUNCH is to be truly disruptive in chemistry,” Constable told the social media audience. “[We want] to highlight innovations which will enable chemists to get data and tools to allow them to do chemistry in a way which is safer, more effective, and better for the world.”

More than 12,000 chemistry buffs were in attendance for Monday’s meeting. One of them was Rose Kennedy, a graduate student at Harvard University. Kennedy highlighted the importance of considering the techniques and building blocks available to us now as well as in the future.

“One of the biggest places we need to be putting our attention right now has to do with issues of sustainability,” Kennedy shared. “This means thinking about using catalysis and renewable resources to drive the many applications of chemistry in a direction that we can use for centuries to come."

The national meeting also reflected the diversity of this year’s chemistry innovation challenge, serving as an opportunity for us to connect with potential innovators from all corners of the globe. Wasiu Lawal, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington, was one of those people. For Lawal and so many others, chemistry innovation hits close to home.

“I grew up in Nigeria… It’s a part of the world where we have a lot of issues; many of them are environmental. To find solutions to some of these problems, it’s very important we try to be sustainable and try to conserve resources,” Lawal reflected. “We have people, we have parts of the world where resources are a little bit scarce. That’s why innovation is very important — because we need to always try to come up with solutions to problems.”

The 2016 LAUNCH Chemistry Innovation Challenge is accepting submissions until October 31. Alongside the ACS Green Chemistry Institute, NIKE, Inc., and additional partner organizations, LAUNCH is looking for innovators and companies who make chemistry smarter by generating data, making data more accessible, analyzing the data or applying data in ways that move chemistry towards predictive design-based discovery. We believe that the future of chemistry is smart, data-rich, and data-driven. We are especially excited to see how the global community of problem solvers will use chemistry to revolutionize the way we make, build, and live.

#LAUNCHChemistry hashtag has reached over 455,000. Engage with us on social media and share your stories of innovation in chemistry using the hashtag.