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  • Writer's pictureCecilia Wandiga

CSTI Board Spotlight - Hezron Ogutu



As Africa industrializes, we are also urbanizing. However, both activities have historically led to a loss of both agricultural land and conservation spaces. We intend to create models that enable BOTH/AND instead of either/or scenarios.


Here what Hezron Ogutu. Ph.D has to say:


The Centre for Science and Technology Innovations (CSTI) is revolutionizing the traditional scientific model by adopting a "flipping by the science" approach, where society actively engages with and directs the research agenda. This innovative method ensures that the core needs of communities drive scientific exploration and application, particularly through CSTI's transdisciplinary EcoChemistry team.


Community-Driven Research Model


CSTI’s model invites communities to present their challenges and needs, allowing the EcoChemistry team to develop targeted solutions.



This approach democratizes science, ensuring that research is not only conducted for society but with society. Here’s how CSTI aligns its initiatives with key sustainable and social goals:


1. Sustainable Construction Solutions


Emissions Reduction:


  • Research Focus: Sustainable Building Materials Communities can request studies on reducing emissions in local construction projects, using low-carbon materials, and incorporating renewable energy.

  • Goal Alignment: Reduces greenhouse gas emissions, aiding in climate change mitigation.


Biodiversity Intactness:


  • Research Focus: Urban Resilience and Biodiversity Conservation - Local stakeholders can seek guidance on preserving biodiversity during urban development.

  • Goal Alignment: Protects ecosystems and promotes urban biodiversity, enhancing community well-being.


2. Environmental and Health Safety


Persistent Pollutants Substitution:


  • Research Focus: Non-toxic Construction Materials Community-driven projects can focus on identifying and substituting persistent pollutants in building materials.

  • Goal Alignment: Enhances public health and reduces environmental contamination.


Health Risks:


  • Research Focus: Health Impacts of Sustainable Design Communities can engage CSTI to study and mitigate health risks associated with construction and living environments.

  • Goal Alignment: Promotes healthier living conditions and reduces health disparities.


3. Socioeconomic Development


Financial Inclusion:


  • Research Focus: Economic Viability of Sustainable Projects Communities can leverage CSTI’s expertise to ensure local economic benefits from sustainable building projects.

  • Goal Alignment: Drives economic growth, job creation, and financial inclusivity, particularly for marginalized groups.


Social Justice and Debt Reduction:


  • Research Focus: Affordable Sustainable Housing and Local Economic Contribution - CSTI can assist in developing affordable housing that incorporates sustainable practices, reducing financial burdens.

  • Goal Alignment: Addresses social justice by providing equitable access to sustainable living and reducing debt through cost-effective building practices.


Alignment with IUPAC's World FAIR Project


CSTI’s initiatives will grow towards close alignment with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)’s World FAIR project, which emphasizes the creation of a sustainability blueprint for digital standards in chemistry data reporting.



What this means for non-chemists can be understood in the context of innovation for NetZero construction materials. Biochar can be used to create carbon neutral construction materials. An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is used in the sustainable construction industry. The chemicals in a biochar carbon neutral construction materials also need to be declared. Just like biochar, carbon black is a product that has many different formulations and performance characteristics. To illustrate, this Wikipedia summary has a Simplified Molecular Input Line Entry System (SMILES) codes for carbon black and a 3D model. SMILES codes need to be created for biochar carbon neutral construction materials.


By integrating FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) into African research, CSTI ensures:


  • Transparency and Accessibility: Communities can access and utilize research data, promoting informed decision-making.

  • Interoperability: Research findings are compatible with global data standards, facilitating broader application and collaboration.

  • Reusability: Data and methodologies can be adapted for various community-driven projects, enhancing the impact and sustainability of solutions.


Integration with TNFD, TCFD, and ISSB/IFRS Standards


In addition to aligning with IUPAC’s World FAIR project, CSTI’s approach is in harmony with key global frameworks and standards:


  • Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD):


Alignment: CSTI’s research on biodiversity and sustainable practices provides critical data that supports the TNFD’s goal of integrating nature-related risks into financial decision-making. By prioritizing biodiversity intactness, CSTI contributes valuable insights that help organizations disclose and manage nature-related risks and opportunities.


  • Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD):


Alignment: CSTI’s focus on emissions reduction and sustainable construction practices aligns with TCFD’s framework for climate-related financial disclosures. The data generated from CSTI’s research helps organizations understand and report the financial implications of climate change, thus enhancing transparency and accountability.


  • International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) / International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS):


Alignment: CSTI’s adherence to rigorous data standards and its commitment to sustainability reporting are in line with the ISSB/IFRS’s mission to develop a comprehensive global baseline of sustainability disclosures. By providing standardized, reliable data, CSTI supports the creation of consistent, comparable, and decision-useful information for investors and other stakeholders.


Conclusion


CSTI stands out as a hub of scientific ideas and invention, engaging with chemistry ideas driven by societal needs. By using chemistry and its principles, CSTI is building a sustainable future, addressing social justice, reducing debt, and creating a more inclusive and equitable society. This model not only advances scientific understanding but also ensures that its benefits are felt directly by the communities it aims to serve.




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