Rienk Eelkema & Alan Rowan


Complex reaction networks govern all processes of Life. Chemistry as a discipline is moving from a focus on molecules to a focus on collections of molecules and the emergence of molecular complexity. This means that we need to understand how to study and control complex systems, how to create function… Can we interface molecular systems with electronic systems? With living systems?

Keywords: Systems chemistry, new computational and analytical tools, introduce big data/AI into organic synthesis and the study of complex systems, neuromorphic computing, interface with biology, supramolecular chemistry

Committee members:
Lee Cronin (UK)
Tom de Greef (NL)
Nathalie Katsonis (NL)
Pierangelo Metrangolo (IT)
Marzio Rancan (IT)
Andreas Walther (DE)

1. Robotics & chemistry

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2. AI & chemistry

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3. Chemical systems in motion

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4. Nanomedicine

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5. Electrochemistry

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6. Molecular computing

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7. Photoredox chemistry

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8. Building a cell

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9. Origins of Life

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10. Interactive/Life-like materials

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11. Supramolecular Functional Complexity

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12. Miscellaneous

All topics contributing to the molecular frontiers in chemistry, not well represented in the other sub-topics, are welcome here.

Ingrid Dijkgraaf & Margaret Brimble


Chemistry is indispensable to improve global human health as it enables us to unravel basic (patho)physiologal molecular mechanisms, develop better diagnostics, and design advanced therapeutics. In the Health track of the IUPAC|CHAINS 2023 conference, the current and future global health challenges and how recent advances in chemistry contributed to improve human health will be presented and discussed.

Keywords: Chemical Biology, medicinal Chemistry, immunology, diagnostics, biochemistry, membranes, proteomics, analytical Chemistry, molecular modelling, computational chemistry, smart materials, regenerative materials, biopolymers

Committee members:
Andreas Bender (UK)
Kim Bonger (NL)
Geert van den Boogaart (NL)
Bert Janssen (NL)
Sierin Lim (SG)
Christine Maritz (ZA)
Christina Schroeder (USA)
Dirk Slotboom (NL)

1. Membranes

Potential research directions include but are not limited to the spatial and temporal organization of biological membranes, pH and ion gradients, and membrane transport. Included are molecular mechanisms of membrane proteins, such as receptors, transporters and pores.

2. Phase seperation in cells

Potential research directions include but are not limited to how phase separation contributes to the spatial and temporal organisation of organelles and cells, and to the organization of cellular biochemistry such as metabolism. Included are the molecular mechanisms that drive the formation of biomolecular condensates.

3. Medicinal chemistry

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4. Chemical biology

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5. Glycochemistry and biology

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6. Molecular imaging techniques

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7. Computational methods in drug discovery

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8. Sustainable synthesis methods

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9. Structural biology

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10. Biomaterials

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11. Nucleotide chemistry

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12. Protein design

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13. Photopharmacology

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14. Synthetic biology

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15. Miscellaneous

All topics contributing to health in chemistry, not well represented in the other sub-topics, are welcome here.

Joost Reek & Regina Palkovits


The transition to a sustainable society represents an enormeous challenge. The climate change dictates that we need to rapidly reduce the use of fossile fuels, the chemical industry needs to transition to biobased feedstock and the increasing contamination of plastic in the envrionment shows that we need to rethink our use and (re-use) of these type of materials. At the same time, the access to materials to achieve this, such as those based on rare metals, is limited. These challenges set the stage for academic research in the development of novel chemical processes that are selective, waste free, and of energy friendly. New direction in this area will be at the core of this part of the IUPAC conference.

Keywords: Climate change, energy transition, plastics, catalysis, recycling/circularity, renewable materials, CO2 utilisation, electrochemistry, toxicology, (waste) water purification, photocatalysis, new processes, LCA, process technology, chemical conversion, biotechnology

Committee members:

Katalin Barta Weissert (AT)
Katrien Bernaerts (NL)
Pieter Bruijnincx (NL)
Gert-Jan Gruter (NL)
Syuzanna Harutyunyan (NL)
Frank Hollmann (NL)
Arjan Kleij (ES)
Timothy Noël (NL)
Alessandra Quadrelli (FR)
Erwin Reisner (UK)
Liane Rossi (BR)
Pietro Tundo (IT)

1. Environmental Science

Potential research directions include but are not limited to remediation of pollutants in industrial off-gases, exhaust gas catalysis as well as water purification. Included is the speciation and quantification of micro- and nanoplastics in soil and water.

2. Carbon capture and utilisation

Potential research directions include but are not limited to CO2 separation/capture, storage and chemical conversion.

3. Green hydrogen

Potential research directions include but are not limited to sustainable hydrogen generations, such as electrochemical or photochemical water splitting or biomass reforming, and hydrogen storage.

4. Polymer re- and upcycling/circular and biobased polymers

Potential research directions include but are not limited to the design of circular and/or biobased polymers as well as the recycling and upcycling of plastic waste.

5. Biomass conversion

Potential research directions include but are not limited to chemical transformations of renewable natural resources such as biomass feedstocks, design of catalysts for such applications as well as biorefinery concepts.

6. Artificial photosynthesis

Potential research directions include but are not limited to use light to perform thermodynamically uphill reactions aiming for storage of sunlight into chemicals and fuels. This can be focussed on half reactions that aim for better understanding all the way to stand alone (bias free) solar fuel devices.

7. Electrochemical conversion/paired electrolysis

Potential research directions include but are not limited to the design and investigation of electrochemical transformations, electrocatalysts and reaction systems, examples being electrochemical CO2 or biomass transformations, electrochemical ammonia synthesis, organic and inorganic electrosynthesis, etc.

8. Photoredox catalysis

Potential research directions include the use of light to generate organic radical intermediates that give rise to follow-up reactions. Such photoredox reaction can be combined with a metal or organocatalyst to further control the reactivity

9. Heterogeneous catalysis

Potential contributions include but are not limited to research focussing on advances in catalysis science with solid catalysts, especially those that have potential practical implications or are devoted to novel catalyst concepts.

10. Biocatalysis

Contributions on chemical transformations using biocatalysts such as enzymes, whole cell catalysts and microorganisms and beyond are welcome.

11. Supramolecular catalysis

Research directions include but are not limited a) enzyme mimics (like supramolecular cages), b) transition metal complexes with designed binding sites to control the activity or selectivity of the catalysts,  c) any catalysts systems in which supramolecular interactions play a key role in determining the properties.

12. Fundamentals in catalysis

Potential topics comprehend but are not limited to experimental and computations insights into catalytic reactions mechanisms, structure-activity relations and studies on identifying the nature of active sites under reaction conditions.

13. Homogeneous catalysis

Research directions include but are not limited a) catalyst development by ligand design, b) mechanistic inside in transition metal catalyzed reactions  c) new reactivity displayed by metal complexes that are used as catalysts.

14. Sustainable synthesis

In the scope are benign solvents, sustainable synthesis strategies, alternative energy input such as mechanochemistry, etc.

15. Miscellaneous

All topics contributing to sustainability in chemistry, not well represented in the other sub-topics, are welcome here.

Beatriz Noheda & Ram Seshadri


The Smart and Energy Materials theme addresses the design, synthesis, and characterization of materials that display enhanced response to external stimuli and are optimally suited for applications in electrochemistry, electronics, optoelectronics, and electromechanics. These include materials and meta-materials for energy storage, hydrogen production, photovoltaics, energy-harvesting, electrochromic applications, sensing, and actuating. Besides materials synthesis, computational and theoretical developments for materials design, and advanced characterization techniques will also be emphasized. The theme is broadly interested in addressing current challenges in understanding of the effects of the atomic structure, nano- and mesoscale architecture, surface properties, defect generation, (meta-)stability, and kinetics on the desired properties.

Keywords: Materials for energy and sustainability, energy efficiency, smart and responsive materials, catalysis, design & synthesis, electrochemistry, energy conversion & storage, materials for adaptable & self-learning functionalities, operando spectroscopy/diffraction.

Committee members:
Wesley Browne (NL)
Henrik Hovde Sønsteby (NO)
Mark Huijben (NL)
Guowei Li (CN)
Azahara Luna-Triguero (NL)
Janne-Mieke Meijer (NL)
Monique van der Veen (NL)
Maksym Yarema (CH)
Julia Zaikina (USA)

1. Thermoelectric materials

This subtheme covers various topics in thermoelectrics research, from high-performance thermoelectric materials discovery to multi-scale structure fabrication/modulation technology and device integration. Inorganic, organic, or hybrid thermoelectric materials are all welcome.

2. Materials for energy storage

This subtheme covers from fundamental research to technological advancements in materials for energy storage. This includes, but is not limited to, batteries and supercapacitors, fuel cells, nanocomposite, and phase change materials. Photovoltaic materials are explored in another subtheme.

3. Materials for catalysis and electrocatalysis

This subtheme covers promising areas in the development of catalysts for renewable energy conversion processes. Topics include, but are not limited, to electrochemical or photochemical water splitting, the hydrogenation of carbon dioxide, advanced materials for fuel cells, wastewater treatment and remediation, and other energy-related catalysis reactions.

4. Porous materials for separation and storage

This subtheme covers advances in porous materials that enable capture and separation technologies in applications such as, but not restricted to, carbon capture, hydrogen storage, biogas purification, and hazardous chemicals.

5. Materials for photovoltaics and energy harvesting

This subtheme covers all materials that enable (thermal, radiation and mechanical) energy harvesting: photovoltaics, pyroelectrics, piezoelectrics, electrets, …. The exception is thermoelectric materials, which have a separate subtheme.

6. Neuromorphic and novel memory materials

Relates to materials that present multi-level (ionic or electronic) conductivity, short- or long- term memory and non-linear characteristic such that they can function as artificial synapses and neurons. Others novel materials that present non-volatile properties of use for information storage are also considered here.

7. Conducting polymers

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8. Materials for flexible electronics

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9. Self-assembly of colloidal and supramolecular materials

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10. Plasmonics and metamaterials

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11. Advanced thin film technology of energy and smart materials

This subtheme covers advances in thin film technology to enhance the functionality of energy- and smart materials, or even to allow completely new functionality in thin film systems. Topics include new approaches in chemical thin film deposition (CVD, ALD, etc.) to allow materials and materials quality that has been considered unattainable within this realm. The session discusses coating quality with respect to chemical composition, structure and coverage, all while maintaining an underlying perspective on current and future energy technology.

12. Materials for LED and display applications

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13. Materials for smart sensing and actuating

This subtheme relates to materials that present high sensitivity to external chemical and physical parameters, pH, gases, light, heat, electric or magnetic fields, etc. and they can transform it into electrical signals (for sensing), and viceversa (for actuating).

14. Smart organic and metalorganic molecules

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15. Materials for additive manufacturing

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16. Miscellaneous

All topics contributing to Smart & Energy materials in chemistry, not well represented in the other sub-topics, are welcome here.

Patricia Osseweijer & Julian Kinderlerer


In the theme Ethics, Education and Society we reflect on the responsibility and education of chemical scientists to consider the appropriateness of new chemicals for societal problems, their (dual) use and production process as well as moral issues in the value chain such as benefit sharing, social development, environmental issues and safety. Considerations could include efforts on ethics by design and on ethics in design and whether these should impact the research lab or only the development phases for commercialisation. Novel approaches such as ‘Safe-by-Design’, ‘Value-Sensitive-Design’ and ‘Responsible Research Innovation or Inclusion’ could be discussed as well as methods for education and communication. Juridical issues will also be considered.

Keywords: Societal problems, global challenges, moral issues, SDG’s, dual-use, open science, diversity, education

Committee members:
Graham Dutfield (UK)
Felix Ho (SE)
Peter Hotchkiss (USA)
Dina Maniar (NL)
Marietjie Potgieter (ZA)
David Resnik (USA)
Markus Schmidt (AT)
Lotte Schreuders (NL)

1. Chemistry and climate change

Potential topics include the ethical issues of replacement of fossil fuels and other fossil chemicals with environmentally preferable alternatives. What is the impact on agriculture, agricultural workers and others involved in the shift?

2. Environmental pollution and remediation

Safety of chemical compounds in society: Use of herbicides and pesticides – assurance of safety and impact on communities – glyphosate and carcogenocity (or not) as an example. Could impact of chemical use be identified and mitigated before widespread use – this could be used in mitigating climate change.

3. Interference of novel molecules with reproductive systems

Burden for society

4. Chemical mutagenesis and synthetic biology

Potential research includes the impact of chemical mutagenesis (including gene editing) and/or synthetic biology in plants, animals whether in lab or for commercial use, or even gene drive, and in humans.

5. Safe and sustainable by Design

Potential research directions include but are not limited to new approaches for early detection of risks and uncertainties and co-design for safety. Including stakeholder engagement and dealing with uncertainty and risks in SbD approaches for chemistry.

6. Ethics of production, testing and use of pharmaceuticals

Potential research directions include but are not limited to use light to perform thermodynamically uphill reactions aiming for storage of sunlight into chemicals and fuels. This can be focussed on half reactions that aim for better understanding all the way to stand alone (bias free) solar fuel devices.

7. Ethics of vaccination for pandemics

Topics include but are not limited to the relation to patents and access for all and implications for third world countries.

8. Regulations and their effect on innovation and economy

Potential research directions include risk mitigation and/or risk perception.

9. Additives in food: EU versus US?

Ethics, economic implications, trade, regulation differences and its implications, debate.

10. Novel forms of science communication and engagement

use of living labs; communication, risk perception and citizen science; science communication – reducing gaps in debates; communication and art in Chemistry.

11. Education

Multidisciplinary as novel skill need for future chemist (SbD, ethics, biotech, AI, etc). What is the profile of the future chemist? How to teach responsibility in design and applications?

12. Novel methods of education

How to make maximum use of online opportunities? How to get best results and what is need at different levels of education? gamification and the role of games in education and communication.

13. Ethics of chemical weapons

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is located directly next to our venue. What ethical issues need to be discussed?

14. Diversity and inclusivity in chemistry
15. Miscellaneous

All topics contributing to ethics, education and society in chemistry, not well represented in the other sub-topics, are welcome here.

Koen van den Helder, João Borges & Maximilian Menche


During IUPAC|CHAINS2023, a special emphasis is put on young scientists. The International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN), the European Young Chemists’ Network (EYCN) and the Young Royal Netherlands Chemical Society (Jong KNCV) have joined forces to provide an inspiring program with diverse sessions aimed at building and broadening the network, improving the (21st-century) skillset and boosting the career development of early-career chemists worldwide.


Keywords: 21st-Century skills, networking, personal development, soft skills, IYCN, EYCN, Young KNCV, next generation, early-career chemists, professional development

Committee members:
Tes Apeldoorn (NL)
Claudia Bonfio (IT/FR)
Patrick Fritz (CH)
Torsten John (DE)
Eva Meeus (NL)
Fatima Mustafa (JO)