The Summer School on Green Chemistry was founded in 1998, in the wake of the growing interest in green chemistry among the chemical community. For the first time it was being recognized by chemists that there could be—and had to be—mutual understanding and collaboration between (A) the players involved in chemical production, and (B) representatives from all the social categories concerned with safeguarding the environment and human health. It appeared clear that the existing gap could be bridged best by young chemists able to redesign chemical production so it was safe, environmentally friendly, socially acceptable, and profitable. In short: green. The Summer School on Green Chemistry was devised by the Italian Interuniversity Consortium "Chemistry for the Environment" (INCA, www.unive.it/inca) as a high-level training school for young chemists to meet this goal.
The school became reality in 1998 with a grant from the European Commission's IV Framework Programme (FP) Training and Mobility of Researchers (TMR) program, and continued within the V FP as part of the improving program, as well as through funding from INCA, the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, NATO, and INTAS. At the time the present volume goes to press (2007) the school has continued as a NATO Advanced Study Institute.
The innovative approach to the design of clean chemical reactions and processes has proved very successful, as shown by the increase in the number of applicants to the school year after year. From 1998 to 2005 nearly 500 chemistry researchers, between the ages of 25 and 35, from both academic and industrial backgrounds, have attended the school.
The success of the school can be judged by the large amount of positive feedback we as organizers have received over time. Many of the participants, after returning home, either continued research in green chemistry with a broader understanding of the issues, or started applying the green chemistry principles to their research.
Many students have benefited from meeting some of the teachers at the school, by visiting them in their laboratories, and by establishing collaborations among themselves and with the research groups represented at the school. Numerous friendships also have been established. All these links make up a wide web of people with a common interest in green chemistry, a network that has spread over through most of Europe, and beyond.
The school was established in Venice, Italy. For most of the young participants it was the first time they visited the city, which provided the perfect setting for informal and pleasant contact among all participants.
After the first three sessions of the Summer School on Green Chemistry it became apparent that a textbook was needed, since the lecture notes handed out to the participants represented the only comprehensive printed material existing on the subject. Thanks to the editorial effort by the teachers, with the support of INCA, the first edition of the volume, "GREEN CHEMISTRY—A Collection of Lectures from the Summer Schools on Green Chemistry," was produced in 2001. This book was based on the lecture notes, plus some explanatory text. The volume was made available on the Internet and handed out to the students attending the school that year. It was updated and enlarged twice, in 2002 and 2004, by incorporating new and revised chapters.
The Summer School on Green Chemistry has proved to be a stepping stone in the careers of many young researchers who wished to combine state-of-the-art research in chemistry with environmental awareness. It has also been central to a spontaneous network of scientists who practice green chemistry, and who found common ground for research, collaborations, and the teaching of green chemistry.
The present volume is the consolidation of eight years of work, during which new developments and a deeper understanding of green chemistry have developed. Hopefully, it will provide food-for-thought for the reader.
The Ca' Foscari University of Venice and National Interuniversity Consortium, "Chemistry for the Environment"
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