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)
Bartosz Grzybowski (PL)
Nathalie Katsonis (NL)
Pierangelo Metrangolo (IT)
Marzio Rancan (IT)
Andreas Walther (DE)

1. Robotics & chemistry

Potential research directions include but are not limited to the use of robotics to accelerate chemical discovery. Such methods include lab automation, microfluidics, high throughput screening, and associated big data and AI approaches.

2. AI & chemistry

Potential research directions include the development and use of artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches to advance understanding and discovery in all branches of chemical sciences.

3. Chemical systems in motion

Research into both artificial and biological molecular machines has prompted a paradigm shift in chemistry, from perceiving molecules as motionless species to understanding them as nanoscopic objects capable of displaying sophisticated and controlled motion in response to external stimuli or under the constant influx of chemical fuels. This session will be devoted to the design, synthesis, and control of chemical systems in motion, and will reflect a variety of approaches, including, but not limited to: i) artificial molecular motors and switches; ii)  nanomotors, micromotors, and other active colloids; iii) molecular systems out of equilibrium; and iv) motion as a chemically-induced shape transformation.

4. Nanomedicine

Nanomedicine concerns the application of nanotechnology in the biomedical field. Potential research directions include but are not limited to controlled/targeted delivery, nanoparticles and other nanocarriers, complex fluids and environments, nanophotonics and nanosensors, nanomaterial-cell interactions, nanofluidics.

5. Electrochemistry

This sub-theme is focused on electrochemistry research that goes beyond the study of elementary electrochemical processes and chemical conversions, instead aiming for advanced applications in the fields of sensors, bio-interfacing, chemical computing, out-of-equilibrium systems, and others.

6. Molecular computing

Potential research directions include but are not limited to the use of molecules and materials to actively perform computational, data storage and learning operations.

7. Photoredox chemistry

This sub-theme is focused on photoredox chemistry research that goes beyond the study of new chemical conversions. Potential research directions include but are not limited to development of new concepts in photoredox chemistry, and applications in soft materials, biohybrid materials, neuromorphic computing, out-of-equilibrium systems, and others.

8. Building a cell

Potential research directions include the development of completely synthetic cell mimics. Such methods include, a) synthetic communication, b) synthetic division and c) synthetic metabolism.

9. Origins of Life

Potential research directions include, but are not limited to: the study of potential prebiotic origins of biomolecules, metabolism, self-replication and compartmentalization processes, the origin of information storage and transfer, the origin of cognition, the prebiotic environment on Earth.

10. Interactive/Life-like materials

Potential research directions include, but are not limited to: signal processing and communication in soft materials; soft robotics; learning, decision making and memory; continuous operation and energy conversion; interactive functions such as grabbing, adhesion, cargo transport, amongst many others.

11. Supramolecular Functional Complexity

This section will be devoted to advances in the design of complex supramolecular landscapes to develop functional materials. Potential research directions include but are not limited to assembly pathway engineering, supramolecular chemistry in complex mixtures, catalysis, chirality, photoswitches, chemical reaction networks and stimuli responsive materials.

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

Research directions include the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of new chemical entities for therapeutic or diagnostic use. Compounds can be for example small organics, biologics, and organometallics.

4. Chemical biology

Potential research directions include but are not limited to the development and use of chemical probes and strategies to study, manipulate and analyze biomolecules and biological processes. This includes the use of reporter molecules, bioorthogonal chemistry, enrichment strategies and chemical proteomics

5. Glycochemistry and biology

Potential research directions include but are not limited to understanding the structure, synthesis and biology of carbohydrates and their bioconjugates. This includes the synthesis, development and use of probes, inhibitors, bioassays and glycomics.

6. Molecular imaging techniques

Topics covered include the development analytical methods (using any type of physical or other readout principle), data analysis techniques, and applications with high spatial and potentially also temporal resolution, such as single-cell and single-molecule resolution methods, in particular (but not limited to) those applied to biological systems.

7. Computational methods in drug discovery

This topic covers any type of data- or model-driven computational approach, on any type of life science data but with a chemical aspect to it, as applied to any stage of preclinical drug discovery. Areas covered are in particular ligand- and structure based methods, including in particular those which are machine learning/AI-based, as well as experimental validation and applications.

8. Synthetic sustainable methods

Potential research directions include but are not limited to development of new organic synthesis routes that use less organic or less toxic solvents, use of more effective reagents, and reuse of solvents and reagents.

9. Structural biology

Possible research directions include, but are not limited to, structures of proteins, DNA, RNA and complexes and visualization of (sub)cellular samples. Application or development of (biophysical) techniques and algorithms on such samples including, but not limited to, X-ray diffraction, NMR, cryo-EM, cryo-ET and in-silico methodology.

10. Biomaterials

Potential research directions include but are not limited to design and production of chemical that are engineered to interact in a biocompatible way with biological systems to have a therapeutic or diagnostic function. Included are (bio)polymers, biomimetics, hydrogels, and biodegradables and elucidation of their biophysical and chemical properties.

11. Nucleotide chemistry

Research directions include the design, synthesis and application of building blocks of nucleic acids to for example unravel molecular mechanisms of health and disease or develop new diagnostics or therapeutics.

12. Protein design

Potential research directions include but are not limited to the rational design and production of proteins to advance basic understanding of protein function and/or structure.

13. Photopharmacology

Research topics include but are not limited to the design, synthesis and conjugation of photoswitchable moieties and in vitro and in vivo application of molecules that can be (de)activated with light.

14. Synthetic biology

Potential research directions include but are not limited to development of new organic synthesis routes that use less organic or less toxic solvents, use of more effective reagents, and reuse of solvents and reagents.

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)
Mariona Coll (ES)
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 for cooling and refrigeration, power generation and waste heat recovery, computational design, synthesis, and structure-property relationship in thermoelectric materials; band, phonon and interface engineering to optimize electronic and phonon transport, modules fabrication and long-term stability assessment are the emphases of this subtheme.

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. Examples of materials in scope include (but not limited to) natural zeolites or artificial organic frameworks (MOFs, COFs), hydrogels, and additive manufacturing products.

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. Other novel materials that present non-volatile properties of use for information storage are also considered here.

7. Conducting polymers and flexible electronics

This subtheme covers conducting polymers, organic-based electronic components and elastic substrates for stretchable and flexible electronics. Developments around new materials and fabrication strategies to achieve wearable and bio-integrated electronics are part of this subtheme.

8. Self-assembly of colloidal and supramolecular materials

This subtheme focuses on recent progress for self-assemblies of soft matter materials, such as colloidal nanocrystals, clusters, polymer particles and macromolecules. Topics include, but are not limited to, synthetic aspects (optimal experimental conditions, formation mechanism, etc.), (super-)structural characterization (texture, disorder, geometrical parameters of assemblies, etc.), collective properties which arise from the soft matter ordering (Dirac solids, superfluorescence, etc.), including theory and multi-scale modeling, active and bioinspired building blocks, and applications.

9. Plasmonics and metamaterials

This subtheme covers advances in plasmonic materials related to electric field enhancement, energy transfer and hot electron/hole transfer. Topics include, but are not limited to, their fundamental properties but also their applications in for example catalysis, sensing and biomedical applications. It also covers advances in metamaterials that derive extraordinary electromagnetic properties, e.g. negative refractive index and dichroic behaviour, from their structuring at the nano- and micrometre scale. New synthetic methods for both types of materials are also included.

10. 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.

11. Materials for LED and display applications

Color purity, energy efficiency as well as photostability and charge carrier lifetime are among the most important characteristics for modern display applications. While research pushes the boundaries with organic and inorganic materials, industry focused on optimization and longevity of imaging technologies. This subtheme covers all topics related to semiconductors that can be utilized in lighting applications, from transparent displays and high-purity emission in the visible and near-IR cameras.

12. 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).

13. Smart organic and metalorganic molecules

This subtheme covers advances in responsive and functional materials comprised of molecular organic and inorganic compounds, especially those in which the incorporation in a material matrix leads to additional optical, electrochemical, and electronic properties to enhance the functionality of energy- and smart materials. The session discusses challenges in prediction of properties of small molecules in complex matrices and in characterization of function.

14. Energetics of magnetic and ferroic materials

This theme will cover the design, synthesis, and understanding of bulk and thin-film materials where magnetic or ferroic order and couplings thereof play an important role in controlling the materials response. Some of the broad functional classes covered include electrocalorics, magnetocalorics, other caloric phenomena, and multiferroics.

15. 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

The replacement of fossil fuels in chemistry is a hot topic presently. Contributions are invited to the consequences of such replacements / transitions in production technology and Carbon resourcing. We especially welcome discussions on the ethical issues, including impact on agriculture, agricultural workers and others involved in the shift.

2. Environmental pollution and remediation

Herbicide and pesticides such as glyphosate and carcegenocity of compounds are debated for decades. Contributions on the impact of chemical uses in the environment and approaches to mitigation are welcomed as well as overviews of state-of-the-art and novel ways to prevent wide-spread impacts.

3. Interference of novel molecules with reproductive systems

It is known that novel molecules can have effects to reproductive systems. Contributions are invited on what we know of the consequences of novel molecules to reproductive systems; how they are studied and what systems do we have to avoid those. Also abstracts on consequences on society of failing reproductive systems due to (novel) molecules are welcome. As well as contributions on public concerns, governance, responsibility and communication about these concerns.

4. Chemical mutagenesis and synthetic biology

Chemical mutagenesis and Synthetic Biology are since long debated for their societal impacts. Contributions are invited on the state-of-the-art in the debate, on ethical issues raised in lab studies or trials for commercial use, concerns on gene drive, and concerns for citizens of effects to humankind. But also on approach to prevent (perceived) risks.

5. Safe and sustainable by Design

Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design (SSbD) is one of the new approaches for early detection of risks and uncertainties and co-design for safety. Contributions are invited on the methodology, e.g. how to include stakeholder engagement, and on dealing with uncertainty and risks in Safe and Sustainable by Design approaches for chemistry. Examples of case studies are also welcomed.

6. Ethics of production, testing and use of pharmaceuticals

Contributions are invited about research on concerns and ethical issues related to production, testing and use of pharmaceuticals, and their impacts, for example of opiates and OxyContin in  the US.

7. Ethics of vaccination for pandemics

Vaccinations have become a major global issue. Contributions are invited to discuss the relation to patents and access-for-all. For example: What are the implications for third world?

8. Regulations and their effect on innovation and economy

Regulations play a major effect on innovation and (regional/national) economies. Contributions are invited about for example the precautionary principle and other methods for risk mitigation. Effect of regulation on innovation and economy. The role of governance institutions and their efficacy. Research on risk perceptions of production and use of chemical compounds.

9. Additives in food: EU versus US?

The EU and US have different regulations for additives in food. Input is requested on ethics, economic implications, trade, regulation differences and its implications, and the sociatel debate.

10. Novel forms of science communication and engagement

Contributions are welcomed about the organisation and use of living labs; communication strategies, risk perception studies and use of citizen science. Contributions on science communication, for example how they contribute to reducing gaps in debates. Use of novel forms of communication and art in Chemistry.

11. Education

Contributions are invited about approaches to introduce 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

Contributions are invited on how to make maximum use of online opportunities, how to get best results and what is needed at different levels of education? Also contributions on gamification and the role of games in education and communication are welcomed.

13. Ethics of chemical weapons

Contributions are invited to studies on ethical issues related to the production, maintenance and use of chemical weapons. This could also be related to governance, international cooperation and agreements and responsibility.

14. Diversity and inclusivity in chemistry

Contributions are invited on the following questions: How can we make the discipline of chemistry more inclusive? What issues are at stake? How to promote inclusivity? What is role of education and how is state-of-the-art in governance and how can this be improved?

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)