Professor Elvis Asare Bediako is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resource

The University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) is hosting a chemistry festival at the main campus of the university in Sunyani in the Bono Region.

The four-day festival, the first of its kind in Ghana, on the theme, Chemistry recreates nature, is in collaboration with the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The festival, which also forms part of the university’s 10-year celebration, will bring together chemistry teams from countries including the USA, Nigeria, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Botswana.

University of Energy and Natural Resources host chemistry festival

Some senior and junior high school students will also be participating in the Chemistry exhibitions and festival training institute to help increase interest in science education and towards governments’ drive to improve STEM education.

At the inauguration and launch of the ACS chemistry festival in Ghana, the Vice-chancellor of UENR, Prof Elvis Asare-Bediako, said chemistry has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the global economy, as chemists are needed in several sectors.

“Advances in chemistry in medicines and new products development, for instance, have saved billions of human lives, increased productivity, and significantly changed the way people live”, he said, adding that all these developments in sciences have enabled humans to deal with their problems and improve their living standards.

The increase in globalization and urbanization has also led to many challenges, including food and energy insecurities, climate change, and pandemics that require innovations in the chemical sciences to provide timely responses and solutions.

University of Energy and Natural Resources host chemistry festival

Because of that, the VC expressed UENR’s delight in being part of the activities of the ACS –one of the world’s largest scientific societies, as they can help the world find solutions to issues that affect livelihood.

Prof Asare-Bediako said, an institution that provides leadership in science, technology, and management of energy and natural resources, and aspires to be a center of excellence in these areas, the chemical science department of the university is to foster, and nature frontiers in chemical sciences, strive to solve critical energy and natural resource challenges that confront the world.

He, however, appealed to the ACS to increase their research into green chemistry to ensure sustainable development amidst the need to create innovative materials to improve human livelihood.

The faculty advisor, ACS-UENR International Student chapter, Dr. Ismaila Emahi said there are many benefits from the ACS to students, the university, and Ghana, including science leadership programs, support in e-books, and research works. He also said every Ghanaian university student who wishes to join the ACS-UENR chapter enjoys a subsidized fee with full benefits.

University of Energy and Natural Resources host chemistry festival
Dr. Ismaila Emaha

The founder of the ACS chemistry festival, Prof Ingrid Montes, explained that there is a need for a chemistry outreach because of the global needs that require that solutions are found for the many challenges.

However, there are some challenges to the sciences. Prof Montes said 80% of countries in the world dedicate a paltry 1% of their GDP to research, a situation she stressed needs to change with more governmental funding for research and education because “that is the only way we can get a better world’ from the many challenges including the covid-19 pandemic.

She also bemoaned the lack of equity in the study of sciences. “33% of researchers, and 28% of engineers, worldwide are women”, she stated and urged for more women to be encouraged to do science.

University of Energy and Natural Resources host chemistry festival
Professor Ingrid Montes

Other stakeholders, including national and some regional STEM coordinators will take part in the festival, which climaxes on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

ACS has an African membership of about 800. The ACS promotes the health of the chemistry enterprise by supporting investments in education, training, entrepreneurship, research, advocacy, outreach, and innovation.