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Solving Global Challenges through Collaboration with Tomorrow's Leaders
5:43 AM MDT | October 7, 2011 | By NEIL HAWKINS, V.P./DOW CHEMICAL
By Neil Hawkins, Vice President of Sustainability and Environment, Health & Safety, The Dow Chemical Company
Our global population doubled over the last century and continues to expand, requiring new demands of the planet. While chemistry holds solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, like drinkable water and affordable energy, it’s only through collaboration and shared commitment to empowering future sustainability leaders that we can unlock our greatest potential, and more rapidly deliver life-changing solutions to global communities.
In alignment with this critical need for collaboration, Dow has established strategic partnerships with academic institutions across the globe to advance scientific research and develop the world's next generation of scientists and leaders. Dow's contributions to advancing sustainable chemistry includes funding research at universities and independent laboratories, developing curriculum in sustainable chemistry, sharing technical expertise, offering specialized internships, and granting endowments.
Through programs like Dow’s Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Awards, which we launched in 2009, students across the globe are encouraged and recognized for helping to solve pressing social, economic and environmental challenges. The program promotes forward thinking in social and environmental responsibility by leveraging Dow partnerships with leading universities worldwide – including The University of California – Berkeley, The University of Cambridge, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), The University of Michigan, Northwestern University, Peking University, The University of Sao Paulo and Tufts University. Throughout the academic year, students work on thesis-like projects to sustainability-related challenges.
At a recent global recognition event at the University of California, Berkeley, we recognized the winners of our third annual Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge. Winning students from partner universities around the world were recognized for their innovation and commitment to providing sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing social, economic and environmental problems.
Award winners were selected using a peer review process by the participating universities with guidance from high-level criteria provided by Dow. Examples of projects recognized include:
* A third-party credit rewards program that enables cardholders to invest their reward points or airline miles in clean energy projects, providing a simple way to help people off-set their carbon footprint.
* Research on glacier melt and runoff in Greenland and the Himalayas, an initiative that could help shed light on the impact global warming has on Earth’s water reserves.
* A project that aims to better understand how sustainable chemistry can be applied to modern medicine, using drug-resistant bacterial infections and Type II diabetes as the model for treatment.
A total of 46 student winners were recognized globally for their enthusiasm and commitment to sustainability, and the graduate student teams received $10,000 for their innovative solutions to the world’s challenges.
While many of these initiatives are targeted at college or graduate students, there’s also value in exciting students about the power of chemistry at an early age. As part of our 2011 global partnership of the United Nations-designated International Year of Chemistry, Dow is working with organizations worldwide to bring together students, teachers and communities to celebrate chemistry and advance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in today’s grade schools.
For Dow, sustainable solutions are not just a driver of business and innovation, they are the key to solving the world’s most pressing challenges. For more information about the Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge and the 2011 honorees, please visit www.dowstudentchallenge.com.
HAWKINS: Meeting challenges through collaboration.