Jennifer Love, CSC President
Commonwealth Chemistry Congress

The 2nd Commonwealth Chemistry Congress (CCC) was held in Trinidad and Tobago, May 23-25, 2023, at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. The congress attracted were about 200 delegates from 30 Commonwealth countries. The Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) was represented by Dr Josephine Tsang, Executive Director of the CIC. The Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) was represented by Dr Jennifer Love, President of the CSC and Professor at the University of Calgary. Dr Deborah Nicoll-Griffith (CIC Chair) who has served on the Executive Board of Commonwealth Chemistry since its inception, also attended the conference.

The title of the conference ‘Partnerships for the goals’ refers to SDG 17, and was discussed repeatedly throughout the conference. The specific goals chosen by Commonwealth Chemistry for the program are:

1: Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3)

2: Quality and Effective Education (SDG 4)

3: Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10)

4: Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6) and Climate Action (SDG 13)

5: Affordable and Clean Energy (SGD 7) and Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12)

After an inspiring opening ceremony, Dr Josephine Tsang participated in a panel discussion entitled ‘Chemistry, The Commonwealth, and the SDGs’ – SDGs refers to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Dr Tsang introduced the term JEDI: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, which was new to most of the delegates, and was mentioned appreciatively throughout the congress. The first day continued with talks on topics 1, 4, and 5, including an invited lecture by Dr Audrey Moores (McGill University) in the area of Affordable and Clean Energy (SGD 7) and Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12). Later in the day, another panel discussion was held on the topic of Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10).

The second day commenced with a panel discussion on Quality and Effective Education (SDG 4), in which Dr Peter Mahaffy (The King’s University) participated. The day continued with talks on topics 1, 4, and 5, including an invited lecture by Dr Cora Young (York University), and concluded with an exceptional gala dinner and cultural showcase at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, which included music, dance, spoken word, and traditional character performances.

The third day commenced with a plenary lecture by Dr Philip Jessop (Queen’s University) on the topic of Affordable and Clean Energy (SGD 7) and Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12). The day concluded with an Annual General Meeting, attended by Drs Tsang, Nicoll-Griffith, and Love. Dr Nicoll-Griffith completed her term on the Executive Board, and is continuing to participate as part of the Finance Committee. Dr Alison Thompson (Dalhousie University), who was unable to attend, was elected as a member of the Executive Board.

The CSC was also represented by three early career researchers (ECRs) who were selected for the alignment of their research programs with one or more of the SDGs: Francesco Gentile (University of Ottawa), Susana Kimura-Hara (University of Calgary), and Marc-André Légaré (McGill University). These ECRs gave both poster presentations and flash talks. Other Canadian delegates included Dr Pierre Kennepohl (University of Calgary) and Dr Bibiana Campos-Seijo (Managing Director of Communications for CIC).


Dr. Marc-André Légaré
Assistant Professor | Department of Chemistry
Otto Maass Building, OM 427
801 Sherbrooke St. West,
Montreal, Canada, H3A 0B8
514-398-4400 ext: 00307

The 2nd Commonwealth Chemistry Congress was held on May 23th-25th on the St-Augustine campus of The University of the West Indies, in Trinidad and Tobago. The theme of the congress was Sustainability, which was expressed using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6) and Climate Action (SDG 13).

Over three intense days, the delegates attended a variety of panel and lectures, as well as shorter ‘flash’ presentations given by the early career delegates. While plenary activities brought all participants together, technical presentations were divided into sessions according to the relevant SDGs. Plenary sessions included panels on topics of general interest, notably on contemporary challenges in chemistry in the Commonwealth, on Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in STEM, and on chemical education (the minister of education of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was present at the latter). Canadian delegates were featured in these panels, as well as in the invited plenary lectures. New findings and ‘state-of-the-art’ approaches to sustainability were discussed, as well as their implications for the Commonwealth countries.

The CCC was a privileged opportunity to make connections with scientists from other Commonwealth nations and to learn of both the challenges that we share and those that are unique to them. Accessibility to equipment and resources in several developing nations was repeatedly cited as a major obstacle to research. I and other Canadian delegates have networked with members of the other delegations and discussed opportunities for collaboration and for facilitating international sharing of resources in the scientific endeavor.

Overall, the CCC is an unique opportunity for academic scientists from Canada to exchange and learn from their peers from a diverse group of countries. Canada and the CSC’s contributed strongly to the success of the event and I hope that the discussions started this year will encourage more international cooperation in the sustainability sciences.


Francesco Gentile, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences
Principal Investigator, Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology
University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Office: STM-351
Phone: +1 (613) 562-5800 #3971


Attendance to the 2nd Commonwealth Chemistry Congress at UWI-St’ Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago

My experience at the Congress has been great overall. It was a great opportunity to learn about the research from too often underrepresented countries and to gain a fresh perspective, as well as to establish exciting new collaborations. The organization by Dr. Forde and his team was outstanding and the venue was fantastic.

The talks and posters were all very relevant to the current and future role of chemistry research to solve the most pressing challenges of our planet. The conference audience was equally representative of the diversity of Commonwealth countries and focused on early career chemists, a very important showcasing opportunity for those who couldn’t properly expand their network during the pandemic. This was very different than normal Chemistry conferences centered around research from North America and Europe – and I feel it has been a much more enriching experience than usual. I plaud the decision of the Canadian Society for Chemistry to participate and I hope that this Commonwealth chemistry community will prosper in the future and that I will be part of it.

Despite not being offered a flash talk, my poster attracted a lot of interest from researchers from Africa and Asia, with whom I am already exploring further collaborations and international funding opportunities. This will allow to expand my current research interests and have chance to make an impact worldwide and will be a great opportunity for my trainees to expand their scientific horizons as well. It was also great to represent our country together with other delegates and CSC representatives and feel part of our national research community. Overall, the 2nd Commonwealth Chemistry Congress has been an outstanding experience and I am grateful to have been given the chance to participate as delegate for Canada.


Susana Kimura-Hara
Assistant Professor
Canadian Research Chair in Analytical and Aquatic Chemistry
Department of Chemistry, University of Calgary
Early Career Advisory Editorial Board, Environmental Science & Technology
SB 333, 2500 University Drive NW,
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4 CANADA
Phone: +1-403-220-7519


I recently attended the Commonwealth Chemistry Congress (CCC) in Trinidad and Tobago in May 2023 as a CSC Early Career Chemist Delegate. This was an outstanding event where chemists around the world came together to share their research and teaching experiences towards United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDG). The CCC included 3 panels, flash presentations, poster presentations, and keynote speakers. One of the topics that stood out to me was the role that chemistry has on today’s modern world. Chemistry has provided great scientific advancements but we also have the ethical responsibility to consider the possible unintended consequences that science might have on our planet (i.e., green house gases and climate change, CFCs and ozone layer, pesticides and environmental health). To do this, as educators we also need to teach about the SDGs to our students and the panel “Quality and Effective Education” presented several approaches on how to do that.

I also had the opportunity to network with people from Trinidad and Tobago, Sri Lanka, India, Ghana, Canada, UK, Fiji, Guyana, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Australia. There were some initial exchange of contact information that hopefully can turn into partnerships in the future, which is one of the goals of the congress: make partnerships. I was so impressed with the whole congress and extremely grateful to the students and faculty from the host university, University of West Indies St. Augustine. They did an amazing job. I particularly enjoyed the conversations with the students, the cultural event at National Academy of the Performing Arts, and the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.