The Mazovia valley in Poland is fast becoming a hub for green chemistry research in Europe thanks to a new research infrastructure that will be used by top chemistry-related institutions from all over the country. The aim is to develop a friendly research environment conducive to dynamic development of various fields of chemistry and the fast transfer of research.
The project, named the 'Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry' will provide access to well equipped laboratories, and provide support for educational and information programmes. Emphasis will be placed on getting innovative chemical technologies to market.
The Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education is currently in the process of establishing a 'Polish Road Map for Research Infrastructures' and it has highlighted the lack of chemistry, chemical engineering and material sciences projects. The Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry aims to address these concerns and fill in the gaps.
Since 2011 the Mazovian Voivodship region has been a member of the European Chemical Regions Network (ECRN) which is made up of 21 European regions where the chemical industry plays an important role. The Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry project aims to ensure Mazovia remains a key chemical player in Europe. The idea is that cooperation in the Mazovia region will allow the researchers to be more efficient and make the most out of the available facilities by forming a scientific 'critical mass', necessary for the development of chemistry-related companies in Mazovia.
As well as focusing on getting innovative chemical technologies to market, the project emphasises the importance of encouraging young researchers to establish companies themselves. As Professor Robert Holyst, Director of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences explains: 'We all are vitally interested that graduates, and even students, can establish spinoff companies. These companies guarantee the transfer of knowledge to the industry and offer jobs to creative people. By-and-by, after achieving a critical mass, one of them will grow to a global concern that will provide support to Polish science, which is still underfinanced compared with other European competitors. It was the case in Finland and we want to achieve the same in Mazovia.'
A whole host of institutions are involved in the project, including the Warsaw University of Technology, University of Warsaw, 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.
One of the first activities being carried out that will put the establishment of the Mazovian Valley of Green Chemistry in motion is the eLab database of accessible laboratory equipment. The E-Lab database is being developed as part of the EU-funded project NOBLESSE ('NanOtechnology, Biomaterials and aLternative Energy Source for ERA integration') carried out by the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences. NOBLESSE, which runs until 2014, received a EUR 3,321,290 boost of EU funding as part of the 'Regions of Knowledge' Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
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