Dick Co, research associate professor of chemistry at Northwestern University, delivered one of three opening keynote addresses at the first annual United Nations Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation in New York June 6. Co, invited by the U.S. Department of State, joined other scientists, entrepreneurs, and executives asked to address the global challenges identified by the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

During his remarks to an audience of 400 excellencies, distinguished delegates, and stakeholders, Co, managing director of the Solar Fuels Institute (SOFI), highlighted SOFI’s work to make a cost-competitive, carbon-neutral solar fuel from sunlight, water and air. SOFI is a one of four research centers within the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN)

“Answering the United Nations’ call for solutions will require that nations leverage existing infrastructures to turn scientific breakthroughs into scalable technologies and implement effective policies toward the Sustainable Development Goals,” Co said.

The Forum was co-chaired by Dr. Vaughan Turekian, science and technology adviser to the Secretary of State of the U.S., and Ambassador Macharia Kamau, permanent representative of Kenya to the United Nations. Ambassador Kamau commented on the urgent need for the Forum to facilitate stakeholder collaborations that translate to impact.

“This Forum cannot be just a talk show. We’re going to have to figure out how the outcomes of the collective efforts are systematized in a way in which they can be picked up and used, and really impact the work we’re trying to do as the United Nations,” he said.

View the full story, including a video of Co's keynote address, here.