Catalysis is everywhere! Catalysts can, amongst others, be found in our body (enzymes are essential for life), they are applied in the automotive industry (to clean exhaust fumes), in laundry detergent (to break down food remains on your dirty clothes) and in the chemical, and food industries (no gasoline, plastic, beer, bread or wine without the right catalyst). The importance of catalysis as a tool for the chemist is further illustrated by the fact that 90% of all new chemical processes has one or more catalytic steps. In these lectures, we will treat the different sides of catalysis, more specifically bio-, homogeneous, and heterogeneous catalysis, together. While in biocatalysis mainly enzymes function as catalysts, in homogeneous catalysis these are mainly organometallic complexes and in heterogeneous catalysis, they are porous solid inorganic materials. In this course, we want to stress the differences and similarities within the different disciplines so that you are capable of assessing a chemical conversion in a multidisciplinary fashion. Theory and practical lectures will be tools to gain a general understanding of the different subsections.
In the second part of the course, academic context is key. In a group assignment, a catalytic process will be assessed on its potential to convert both fossil and renewable resources into an important chemical compound. This results in a paper and a poster presentation. During the excursion, the participants will get a feeling for the scale of the chemical industry, and integrated approaches to make a process economically viable. Furthermore, the importance of safety is stressed. Last, as catalysis goes hand in hand with innovation, a lecture on patent law will be given by Professor Eelco Vogt (Universiteit Utrecht/Albemarle).
After successfully passing this course, you will be capable of getting a global impression of a scientific article in a catalysis journal. It should provide you with tools to solve a problem with the most suitable approach. Furthermore, there will be enough theoretical baggage to understand societal problems and provide you with an academic vision.
The Da Vinci project is an interdisciplinary honours programme on sustainability for 2nd- and 3rd-year Bachelor's students who are looking for an extra challenge.
Do you want to meet people from different backgrounds, look across disciplinary boundaries and collaborate outside your comfort zone? Are you willing to try new things and want to work together in interdisciplinary teams on real-life sustainability related challenges with the involvement of important stakeholders? And above all, are you not afraid to fail? Then the new Da Vinci Project might be interesting for you!
PROGRAMME: FOCUS ON GLOBAL CHALLENGES
Six groups of five students originating from different scientific backgrounds work together on a specific sustainable development-related challenge provided by an external partner, ranging from private sector (e.g. VNCI, MBK-NL or VNO NCW) to local and national governments (e.g. municipality Utrecht and Ministry of EZK). The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint for a better and more sustainable future for all, are a guiding principle for this project.
You focus on different global challenges like clean air, sustainable housing and waste as a resource. Through an active learning-by-doing approach, you will be trained to collaborate transdisciplinary, thereby broadening your horizon. You will acquire new skills for life hard to acquire in a normal academic environment.
CONSTRUCT A PROTOTYPE
To finish this programme successfully, we ask you to deliver a real prototype, which you construct together with your team members. This prototype is complemented by a reflection report, in which you tell us about your own experiences with interdisciplinarity, teamwork, design thinking and working with external parties. Together with your team, you will pitch your solution and prototype to the external partner.
The Da Vinci Project is a selective 10 EC course at undergraduate level, to be taken on top of any Bachelor’s programme.
The programme is for 2nd- and 3-rd year students
There is no programme fee
Prof. dr. ir. B.M. (Bert) Weckhuysen (coordinator)
Prof. dr. A. Sluijs
Dr. B. McGonigle