”Chemistry across Europe” – a webpage for chemistry students and graduates
In 1999, the Bologna Declaration was signed by the education ministers from 29 countries to ensure comparability in the standards and quality of higher education qualifications and to increase mobility within Europe. Almost 20 years later, moving to another country still presents a considerable challenge for most students and graduates. A lot of information has to be gathered before one can get started. This can be tedious, especially if one has not yet made a final decision about which country to choose.
The European Young Chemists’ Network (EYCN) therefore decided to use and share the knowledge of their delegates from more than 20 countries to provide a clearly structured and accessible webpage for chemists interested in moving to another European country. This new webpage, map.eycn.eu, incorporates general information about chemistry in all EYCN member states, which can be of interest for all kinds of purposes, such as internships, studying abroad or working in the chemical industry.
The webpage covers multiple areas, such as the general procedure for getting into undergraduate studies or PhD programmes, the layout of a typical university year and an overview of the biggest employers in the field of chemistry for each country. The EYCN aims to constantly improve the extent of information provided in the following months and years by working closely together with industry and university partners. This will provide more specific information, e.g. childcare options, research internships and average wages.
The project plan is to further widen the extent of the webpage by including more details, for more countries, while keeping the design user-friendly. The EYCN strives to enable and support the mobility of chemists to discover another European country. If you want to provide any feedback on the webpage project, such as missing or additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
EYCN Project Team Leader
The role of Chemistry in the Energy Transition
“The time will arrive when the industry of Europe will cease to find those natural resources, so necessary for it. […] Will man, then, return to the power of water and wind? Or will he emigrate where the most powerful source of heat sends its rays to all? History will show what will come.” 
These words were written by Professor Augustin Mouchot, way back in… 1873! At the 1878 Paris World’s Fair, Mouchot won a Gold Medal for his revolutionary solar powered engine. His works and his words would however soon be forgotten as coal, and not much later natural oil and gas, turned out to be much more abundant than initially thought and feared.
In the 21st Century, mankind is still addicted to fossil fuels. Growing climate change and global warming concerns, in spite of scepticism in some areas, are driving efforts to switch to renewables worldwide. The latest direction seems to be the circular economy. Numerous symposia on this topic have been held lately, in Europe and elsewhere, combining concepts like sustainability, recycling, waste minimisation, zero carbon emission, smart grid, cradle-to-cradle, urban mining and so on. The search for ever more efficient electricity generating and storing systems using low toxicity, widely abundant elements and materials is essential for a successful energy transition. Carbon capture and storage might help restore the Earth’s carbon balance; excess electricity from renewable sources could be used to produce ‘solar fuels’ from captured CO2 that can replace fossil fuels in their current use, or even can be stored in the Earth’s crust. Excess electricity could also be used for the desalination of sea water to produce fresh water and harvest valuable elements.
Chemists have always had a leading role in exploring and utilising energy sources. Fossil fuels have been great base materials for (organic) chemists, leading to many kinds of useful materials and products like polymers and medicines. Nowadays, chemists are facing a new challenge: to use their skills and knowledge to establish a really sustainable society that can be preserved for many generations to come. Since the late 1990s, a specific term for this kind of chemistry has evolved: Green and/or Sustainable Chemistry. In 2015, the EuChemS Working Party on Green and Sustainable Chemistry, lead by Professor Pietro Tundo, was approved by EuChemS as a Division, recognising the adult status of the research field. While some overlap between the longstanding Division of Chemistry and the Environment and the Division of Green and Sustainable Chemistry is obvious, this is viewed as fertile ground to develop collaborative environmentally friendly projects.
But in actual fact, aren’t all chemists who are willing to take a (Hippocratic) Oath for Scientists, Green Chemists by definition? Don’t we all aim for a better, sustainable world? Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule, but they remind us even more of our moral responsibility towards humanity, nature and the planet.
Willem de Lange
EuChemS Division of Chemistry and the Environment, Secretary
EuChemS Division of Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Chair
 Bill Kovarik, The surprising History of Sustainable Energy, 2011/03/29