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Chemical Sciences in Development

What We Do: Partnerships and Collaborations

To strengthen its reach and its capacities to deliver on its objectives, IOCD engages in strategic collaborations and partnerships with other organizations. Current examples, described below, include:
African Academy of Sciences (AAS)
IOCD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AAS during a meeting in Namur on 16 August 2012. The MOU provides a framework within which the two organizations will seek ways to collaborate and add value to what each is doing. The aim is to reinforce the impact of each organization's work and ensure that science and technology make their full contribution to development in Africa and elsewhere.
Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, President of IOCD (right), and Professor Berhanu Abegaz, Executive Director of AAS, at the signing of the MOU at a meeting in Namur on 16 August 2012.

Based in Kenya, AAS was created in 1985. One of its primary functions is to honour African science and technology achievers in Africa. It also acts as a development-oriented mobilizer of the entire African science and technology community to facilitate the development of scientific and technological capacity for science-led development in Africa, promoting excellence and relevance in doing so.
As part of its collaboration with the AAS, IOCD assisted in a project to produce copies of the Ishango Bone for display as a symbol of early science in Africa. The Ishango Bone, discovered in 1957 dates from about 22,000 years ago in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, is carved with markings that many experts consider to have mathematical significance. It is one of the oldest surviving examples of the practice of arithmetic in the world. IOCD worked closely with a number of partners in the project, including the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), Nairobi, the International Institute of Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, UNESCO, University of Namur, Vitro Laser Solutions UG and Prof. Malik Maaza, University of South Africa. Manufactured by Vitra Laser Solutions UG in Germany, a 2D image of the Ishango Bone etched in a glass plate and illuminated by LEDs in the plate's edge was presented to the AAS in a ceremony in Nairobi on 10 September 2015 to launch the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa. IOCD's Executive Director Prof. Alain Krief participated in the event.
Foerderverein Uni Kinshasa (fUNIKIN)
IOCD's governing body agreed in October 2012 to establish a partnership with fUNIKIN, the initiative of Prof. Gerhard Bringmann (University of Würzburg, Germany) to promote excellence in education in DR Congo and to provide PhD fellowships there. IOCD is now a member of fUNIKIN's ‘Directory Panel’ and fUNIKIN is now a Partner of IOCD.
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)
IOCD has collaborated for many years with IUPAC, including in the establishment of IOCD's former Working Group in Environmental Analytical Chemistry and support for the former Global Microscience Project.
Reports of IOCD's activities have been appeared periodically in IUPAC's journal Chemistry International. These have included:
  • an article providing a perspective on IOCD's three decades of achievements and its current activities and strategiese, written by Professor Stephen Matlin, Head of IOCD's Strategic Development Programme:

    S.A. Matlin. IOCD: Chemical sciences in development. Chemistry International, 2013, 35(1), 8-11.

  • an article on chemistry education based on a workshop organized by IOCD in Namur in 2014:

    S.A. Matlin. Scoping the Future of Education in Chemistry. Chemistry International, 2014, 36(4) 28-30. DOI:

  • an article on the roles of international chemistry organizations and the changes needed to make them more effective in serving the interests of the chemical sciences in the 21stst century:

    S.A. Matlin, A. Krief, H. Hopf, G. Mehta. Chemistry organizations in a changing world. Chemistry International 2017, 39(1), 15-19.

In 2017, IOCD initiated collaboration with IUPAC to support and conduct a project on the incorporation of systems thinking into general chemistry education.
Namur Research College (NARC)
IOCD has collaborated with the Namur Research College to mount a prestigious series of international symposia in Namur presenting the latest advances in research in the chemical sciences. Inaugurated in 2012, the series has featured Nobel Laureates and other leading scientists at the cutting edge of new fields of research.
  • 1st NARC-IOCD Symposium, held 5 July 2012 and entitled Chemical Development: Chemistry, a Crossway Towards Interdisciplinary Science, featured a lecture by the chemistry Nobel Laureate Prof. Ryoji Noyori (Saitama, Japan) on “Science and Technology for Future Generations”.
  • 2nd NARC-IOCD Symposium, held 20 November 2012 on Materials Science, marked the occasion of a visit to Namur by two leading scientists, both directors of materials research centres at the Institute National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), Montreal. Prof. Federico Rosei's seminar was on “Strategies for controlled assembly at the nanoscale”, while that by Prof. Mohamed Chaker was entitled “The Infrastructure of nanostructures and femtoscience”.
  • 3rd NARC-IOCD Symposium, held 15 January 2014, was entitled Research and Education in Natural Sciences. Presenters included Prof. Mei-Hung Chiu (National Taiwan Normal University) on “Augmented reality for science learning”, Prof. Henning Hopf (Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany) on “Linear polyolefins - an old topic of organic chemistry in new light”, Prof. Goverdhan Mehta (Hyderabad University, India) on “Enhancing nature and chemical space - synergy between natural products and organic synthesis for human well-being” and Prof. Gary Molander (University of Pennsylvania, USA) on “A novel mechanistic paradigm for cross-coupling”.
  • 4th NARC- IOCD Symposium was held 3-4 June, 2014 and entitled Chemistry, a Crossway Toward Interdisciplinary Science: A Symposium for the Dissemination of Chemical Development. Presenters included Prof. Takuzo Aida (University of Tokyo, Japan) on “Molecular design of soft materials for advanced functions”, Dr. Stuart Cantrill (Nature Publishing Group, United Kingdom) on “The nature of chemistry publishing”, Prof. Odile Eisentein (University of Montpellier, France) on “Experimental and computational chemistry: an ideal partnership”, Prof. Stefan Hecht (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany) on “Designing functional molecular nanostructures”, Prof. Henri Kagan (University of Paris-Sud, France) on “Some aspects of asymmetric amplification in chemical systems”, Prof. Ilan Marek (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel), on “Merging allylic C-H and Selective C-C bond activation towards the formation of all-carbon quaternary stereocenters”, Prof. Luis Marzan (Ikerbasque at CIC biomaGUNE, Spain) on “Understanding synthesis and assembly of metal nanoparticles”, Prof. Stefan Matile (University of Geneva, Switzerland) on “Supramolecular systems at work”, Prof. Jaume Veciana ((Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain) on “Organizing and processing functional supramolecular materials. Nanostructured materials with magnetic and electronic properties and their applications” and Nobel Laureate Prof. Ada Yonath (Weizman Institute, Israel) on “A prebiotic chemical bonding entity”.
  • 5th NARC-IOCD Symposium, was held on 26 November 2014 with the title Meeting for the dissemination of chemical knowledge on the occasion of the German Year and with the support of the University of Namur, the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research, the German Embassy in Belgium and the Belgian Division of the Tokyo Chemical Industry-Europe. The programme include a lecture by IOCD's President, the chemistry Nobel Laureate Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn, on “Perspectives in chemistry: from supramolecular chemistry towards adaptive chemistry”. There were also lectures by several chemists from Germany, including Prof. Burkhard König (Regensburg University) on “Chemical photocatalysis using visible light”, Prof. Ryan Gilmour (Münster University) on “Deconstructing organocatalytic reactions”, Prof. Carsten Bolm (RWTH-Aachen University) on “How much catalyst do we need?”, Dr. Peter Gölitz and Dr. Eva Wille (Wiley-VCH, Wheinheim) on “Some secrets of scientific publishing: Angewandte Chemie and the Chem. Pub. Europe journals as an example”, Prof. Oliver Reiser (Regensburg University) on “Mag(net)ic molecules - synthesis and applications for sustainable chemistry”, and Prof. Fransziska Schoenebeck, (RWTH-Aachen University) on “Understanding and design of organometallic reactivity with experimental and computational tools”.
IOCD was founded under the auspices of UNESCO at a meeting in UNESCO headquarters in Paris in 1981 and subsequently became an international NGO registered in Belgium. There have been collaborations across a range of projects and programmes since that time, including in chemical education, natural products chemistry and microscale science.
IOCD is delighted that in 2015 an official partnership (consultative status) was established with UNESCO. In announcing this new formal relationship in June 2015, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova noted the clear relevance of IOCD's work to the current programmes and activities of UNESCO, built on a solid foundation based on many areas of common interest and synergies and previous collaborations, as witnessed by the close cooperation between both organizations during the 2011 International Year of Chemistry. The announcement was warmly welcomed by IOCD's President Jean-Marie Lehn and Executive Director Alain Krief, who expressed their hope that this will lead to further cooperation that strengthens the impact of IOCD's work.
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