On September 7 and 8, 2012, McGill University (Montréal, Canada) hosted a unique workshop designed to foster green innovation in the next generation. Ten MBA students from the Desautels Faculty of Management and ten PhD candidates from the departments of chemistry and civil engineering were gathered to reflect on this concept. Two guests speakers gave lectures putting green chemistry in the context of industry.
The first one, by Phil Dell’Orco, head of sustainability at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), addressed the question of fostering and coordinating green chemistry in a large pharmaceutical company. Lynn Leger from Green Center Canada presented how her organization is constantly touring universities (in Canada and outside)
PHOTO: Phil Dell’Oroco, Process Engineering at GlaxoSmithKline. By Owen Egan for the McGill Reporter
to find scientific innovations and bring them to the market. She elaborated on some of the challenges associated with the transition from research to the market. We also had a few smaller classes to introduce the concepts of green chemistry, such as the green principles and metrics, and what it takes to be successful in innovation, as well as green drivers of innovation.
Students were then divided into mixed groups (composed of both business and chemistry and engineering students) and had to work together on building a case study. They were given an innovation, coming straight from Green Centre Canada – an antibacterial compound mimicking garlic active ingredient. Students had to find a market, build a financial case and work some of the chemistry associated.
They came out of it with amazing presentations on their ideas and demonstrated outstanding ability to interact with people from a different discipline. They all pointed out how much they appreciated being exposed to a difference academic culture and recognized the importance of building bonds across disciplines to bridge the gap towards greener innovations.
This workshop was made possible through funding from the CREATE program of NSERC, a Canadian federal funding agency, and the Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management. Steve Maguire (from the School of Management) and I created an organized the whole two-day event. And we’re very excited about it. We’ll definitely do it again next year.
Read about the workshop in the McGill Reporter.
By Audrey Moores, Ph.D.
Department of Chemistry