Re-imagining Priorities for Chemistry: A Central Science for “Freedom from Fear and Want”

Stephen A. Matlin, Alain Krief, Henning Hopf, Goverdhan Mehta

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Human security, defined as “freedom from want and fear and freedom to live in dignity”, provides an overarching concept to address threats to human security dimensions such as health, food, economics, the environment and sustainable development, while placing the individual at the centre of attention. Chemistry is central to addressing these challenges, but surprisingly its role and contributions to human security have hitherto not been explicitly set out. This article situates chemistry in the human security framework, highlighting areas where chemistry knowledge, methods and products are vital. It underscores three complementary facets: 1) chemistry contributes to many dimensions of human security, but needs to do much more in the light of oncoming global challenges; 2) the human security framing illuminates areas where chemistry itself needs to adapt to contribute better, by intensification of current approaches and/or by building or strengthening chemistry tools, skills and competencies; and 3) repositioning as central to human security affords chemistry a powerful opportunity to refresh itself as a science for the benefit of society—and it will need to engage more directly and dynamically at the interface of science, society and policy in order to do so.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25610-25623
    Number of pages14
    JournalAngewandte Chemie. International edition
    Issue number49
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


    • green chemistry
    • human security
    • one-health/one-world chemistry
    • people-centred chemistry
    • systems thinking


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