Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Environmental Education Research Group

Re-imagining futures in STEME

Re-positioning chemistry as the ‘sustainability science’ through systems thinking

Cross-disciplinary researchers have called for a radical re-positioning of chemistry, and a prominent international project has coined the term “one-world chemistry” to describe a systems thinking approach to teaching and learning chemistry, emphasising how factors such as ethics and sustainability are key motivators for reimagining the role of chemistry in the eyes of the public, the media and industry. Chemistry and Education researchers across Deakin University, including researchers from the Institute for Frontier Materials, are collaborating with international experts to design, implement and evaluate novel approaches that incorporate ‘systems thinking’ pedagogy into practice, improving the teaching and learning of sustainability in the chemical sciences from primary to tertiary educational levels, to focus on the molecular basis for sustainability. The International Year of the Periodic Table of Elements in 2019 provides a perfect opportunity to inaugurate this interdisciplinary research.

This project is currently funded by a Science and Society Network (SSN) Interdisciplinary Establishment grant at Deakin.

Team members: Seamus Delaney, Madeleine Schultz (School of Life & Environmental Sciences), Prof Maria Forsyth and A/Prof Luke Henderson (Institute for Frontier Materials), Prof Bob Bucat (University of Western Australia), Prof Peter Mahaffy (King’s College, Canada).