Green chemistry makes itself at home in Mazovia

A Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry is emerging – a strong research infrastructure aggregating the best chemistry-related institutions from Warsaw and the area around Warsaw. The main Valley’s objective is to develop a friendly environment, conducive to dynamic development of various fields of chemistry and to fast transfer of research findings to the industry.

Over a dozen chemistry-related research institutions from Warsaw and Mazovia, including research institutes, institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) and universities are joining efforts in the framework of a distributed knowledge and technology transfer incubator named Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry. Unique in Poland, the project has been already proposed to be included in the Polish Road Map for Research Infrastructures comprising scientific initiatives with the highest priority for the state’s development. On 27 February, the project was presented to Adam Struzik, the Marshal of the Mazovian Voivodship, and gained his support.

„The Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry is a response to the initiatives of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education with regard to establishing the Polish Road Map for Research Infrastructures that is short of projects from chemistry, chemical engineering and material sciences. This is also a response to Marshal Struzik’s appeal for proposals to enrich the Development Strategy for the Mazovian Voivodship. The Valley will provide friendly environment for intensifying cooperation in developing innovations and innovativeness, and for increasing internationalisation of companies in the voivodship, thus contributing to a stimulation of Warsaw’s metropolitan development as well. It is one of a very few projects to join efforts and activities of universities, institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences and research institutes”, says Prof. Andrzej Chmielewski, the director of the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, who spoke on behalf of the research institutes in the meeting with Marshal Struzik. The PAS institutes were represented by Prof. Robert Hołyst, the director of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the PAS, and the community of Mazovian higher education institutions was represented by Prof. Eugeniusz Molga and Prof. Jerzy Szawłowski from the Warsaw University of Technology.

“The Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry was initiated by Warsaw’s chemical community during the celebrations of the International Year of Chemistry in June 2011. At present, the following institutions are involved in the project: Warsaw University of Technology – the School of Advanced Chemical and Material Technologies, Warsaw University – the Faculty of Chemistry, Military University of Technology – the Faculty of New Technologies and Chemistry, the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, the Industrial Chemistry Research Institute, the Pharmaceutical Research Institute and the Institute of Industrial Organic Chemistry.

All founding institutions of the Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry represent a high scientific level. They are carrying out many advanced projects, have good cooperation with the industry, possess numerous laboratories and top-class equipment, and have also a good record of implementations in Poland and abroad. The cooperation within the Valley will allow them to maximise the efficiency of use of these facilities and to provide a critical mass of science that is necessary for the development of chemistry-related companies in Mazovia.

According to the initiators’ intention, the Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry is going to be a strong research structure, exploiting the research potential of the research institutes, the PAS institutes and the chemical faculties of higher education institutions and cooperating with engineering design offices and the industry. The access to well-equipped laboratories and semi-technical pilot plants operated within the Valley will also contribute to the development of various areas of chemistry. The Valley will also provide support for educational and information programmes from chemistry and related sciences, including scientific conferences, doctoral studies, postgraduate studies and scientific visits for foreign students as well as public presentation of scientific achievements.

Since the middle of 2011, the Mazovian Voivodship is a member of the European Chemical Regions Network, ECRN. At present, the network consists of 21 European Regions, where the chemical industry plays an important role. The emerging Valley will therefore naturally contribute to an increasing Mazovia’s importance on the chemical map of Europe.

The most important objectives of the Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry include encouraging young researchers to establish companies to transfer innovative chemical technologies to the industry and the market. „We all are vitally interested that the graduates, and even students, can establish spinoff companies”, says Prof. Hołyst. „These companies guarantee the transfer of knowledge to the industry and offer jobs to creative people. By-and-by, after reaching a critical mass, one of them will grow to a global concern that will provide support to Polish science, which is still underfinanced as compared with other European competitors. It was the case in Finland and we want to achieve the same in Mazovia”. In the Valley, young spinoffs can be provided with legal assistance in securing venture capital funding, and their representatives will be aware where to look for innovative ideas.

One of the first activities towards establishing the Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry is the E-Lab data base of accessible laboratory equipment. The E-Lab data base is shared by interested parties and is being developed within a NOBLESSE project carried out by the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the PAS. It is planned that in the next step a data base with scientific specialisations will be developed. The access to both data bases will largely facilitate the start-up for young spinoff companies who must often use sophisticated research equipment and consultation with top-class experts in the initial phase of their business activity.

The initiators of the project emphasise that the present stage of development of the Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry does not require any additional sources for its funding. At future stages, high scientific level of institutions participating at the consortium and the cooperation with the industry should provide revenues to guarantee efficient project functioning.

This press release was prepared thanks to the NOBLESSE grant under the activity „Research potential” of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union.

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