The Chemical Sciences Roundtable (CSR) was established in 1997 by the National Research Council (NRC). It provides a science oriented apolitical forum for leaders in the chemical sciences to discuss chemistry-related issues affecting government, industry, and universities. Organized by the National Research Council's Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, the CSR aims to strengthen the chemical sciences by fostering communication among the people and organizations - spanning industry, government, universities, and professional associations - involved with the chemical enterprise. One way it does this is by organizing workshops that address issues in chemical science and technology that require national attention.
In September 2011, the CSR organized a workshop on the topic, "The Role of Chemical Sciences in Finding Alternatives to Critical Resources." The one-and-a-half-day workshop addressed key topics, including the economic and political matrix, the history of societal responses to key mineral and material shortages, the applications for and properties of existing minerals and materials, and the chemistry of possible replacements. The workshop featured several presentations highlighting the importance of critical nonfuel mineral and material resources in history, catalysis, agriculture, and electronic, magnetic, and optical applications.
The Role of the Chemical Sciences in Finding Alternatives to Critical Resources: A Workshop Summary explains the presentations and discussions that took place at the workshop. In accordance with the policies of the NRC, the workshop did not attempt to establish any conclusions or recommendations about needs and future directions, focusing instead on issues identified by the speakers.