APRU Global ESG Lecture Series 2023

The APRU Global ESG Lecture Series is designed to provide a sound foundation in basic principles of sustainability, and to unify research across ecology, conservation, environmental health and waste management with a focus on the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices.

This lecture series is part of the key activities of the APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program that will be held from March to December 2023. The aim is to provide insights into cutting-edge research to the network. Experts from diverse fields and studies will contribute to individual lectures that generate a broad overview of the subject area.

The series is open to academics and students. Participants will be able to learn from and interact with world-renowned experts through a series of lectures delivered via a real-time video conference on Zoom.

Monthly Sessions

The event schedules below are presented in Korea Standard Time (KST, or UTC+9).

1. March 28 at 10:30 – 11:45 am 
Aging of microplastics and subsequent environmental effects by Prof. Cheng Gu, Nanjing University
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2. April 27 at 3:30 – 4:45 pm
AI for sustainable development towards carbon neutrality by Prof. Xiaonan Wang, Tsinghua University
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3. May 30 at 10:30 – 11:45 am
Hydrothermal conversion of biomass waste for resource recovery by Prof. Shicheng Zhang, Fudan University
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4. June 1 at 10:30 – 11:45 am (Cancelled)
Unlocking the Potential of Circular Economy through Systems and Design Strategies by Prof. Ali Abbas, The University of Sydney
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5. July 27 at 11:00 am – 12:00 pm (UTC+9, time converter)
Hydrometallurgical Processes for Heavy Metals Recovery from Industrial Wastes by Prof. Anushka Rajapaksha, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
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6. August 31 at 9:00 am – 10:00 pm (UTC+9, time converter)
Extracting Lithium from Oilfield Brine Wastewaters by Prof. Daniel Alessi, University of Alberta
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7. September 18 at 10:00 am – 11:00 pm (UTC+9, time converter)
Korean 200 Biodiversity & Nature Positive Commitments 2023 by Dr. Cho Yoora, Director of the International ESG Association
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8. October 23 at 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm (UTC+9, time converter)
Global Circular Economy: Socio-ethical Justice and Challenges for Science by Prof. Jörg Rinklebe, University of Wuppertal
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9. November 20 at 9:00 am – 10:00 am (UTC+9, time converter)
Unlocking the Potential of Circular Economy through Systems and Design Strategies by Prof. Ali Abbas, The University of Sydney
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10. December
Prof. Longbin Huang, The University of Queensland

Prof. Cheng Gu
Nanjing University

Professor Cheng Gu, is a Professor at the School of Environment Nanjing University. He is currently the Changjiang Scholar Distinguished Professor and the recipient of the National Science Fund for Excellent Young Scholars. He is also the Chief Scientist for National Key Research and Development Plans. Prof. Gu’s research focuses on the transformation of organic contaminants in the natural environment. He has published over 100 scientific papers in high impact journals and was issued 8 national and international patents. He is the associated editor of the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology and journal editor for Environmental Chemistry.

Prof. Xiaonan Wang
Tsinghua University

Dr. Xiaonan Wang is an assistant professor and a promising female scientist in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. She is leading a Smart Systems Engineering research group of more than 15 team members. Her team, in close collaboration with the renowned resilience brokers and Imperial College London, has built a systematic planning platform for smart city and engineering development that combines model-based and data-driven approaches for overall economic, environmental and social benefits improvements.

She has published more than 70 peer-reviewed journal and conference proceeding papers, chaired more than 10 sessions and delivered more than 30 presentations/invited talks at international conferences and universities on five continents. Besides academic research and teaching, she has led an education series on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Science & Engineering to disseminate knowledge and public understanding. She has trained more than 500 PG/UG students with machine learning and optimization techniques. Xiaonan and her students have developed novel machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies applied in biomedical, nano-materials, energy, environment and sustainability related research.

She was recognized as an IChemE Global Awards 2017 Young Researcher finalist and several best paper awards at IEEE Conferences. She is also the deputy director of the Accelerated Materials Development programme in Singapore.

Prof. Shicheng Zhang
Fudan University

Dr. Shicheng Zhang is a full Professor at the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, and the Director of Shanghai Technical Service Platform for Pollution Control and Resource Utilization of Organic Wastes. He currently serves
as core group member of the Sustainable Waste Management Program for the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). His research group is focusing on biomass waste and organic waste utilization by chemical, biological and biochemical methods, especially hydrothermal
conversion of biomass waste to high value-added products. Prof. Zhang has published 4 book chapters, more than 190 journal papers with SCI citations over 6400 times (H index 44), and applied more than 40 patents. He serves as an associate Editor of Environmental Engineering
Research, editorial board members of Processes, Biomass, and Environmental Sanitation Engineering (in Chinese), and has served as guest editors of Bioresource Technology and Green Chemistry.

Prof. Ali Abbas
University of Sydney

Dr. Ali is Professor of Chemical Engineering and SOAR Fellow at the University of Sydney in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He is Acting Head of School, and is Founding Director of the Waste Transformation Research Hub, a national centre aimed at addressing the waste industry’s research and technological challenges. He is the founder and director of the Laboratory for Multiscale Systems. Ali received both his Bachelors and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney, Australia. He has held previous academic appointments at NTU (Singapore) and UNSW Asia (Singapore) and visiting professor positions at several institutions including Harvard. Ali has 20 years’ experience in the field of Process Systems Engineering, with expertise in process intensification and design, techno-economic feasibility, process scale-up / optimal operation, with applications in low-emissions technologies, Eco-industrial parks, waste, clean energy, biotechnology and biomedical systems. In recent years, Ali has been working on circular economy transitions, identifying ways to translate the circular economy principles into practice. Ali is a leading Australian figure in circular economy and Chairs the Australian Circular Economy Conference. He conducts fundamental computational and applied research with emphasis on multi-scale systems resource optimisation and efficiency, and has published more than 130 papers in international scientific and engineering journals. Ali is the recipient of multiple awards including the Australia-Harvard Fellowship 2011 as well as the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Fellowship 2012 (Australia-China Future Leader in Clean Coal Technologies). In 2008, A/Prof. Abbas was awarded the PSE Model-based innovation prize (London, UK) recognising his work in model-based optimal process operations, and received the same award as runner-up in 2015. He received the inaugural Sydney Research Accelerator (SOAR) fellowship for University’s most talented researchers in recognition of research leadership. Ali provides consultations to industry and Government, and is active in commercialization activities, developing breakthrough deep technologies across multiple industry sectors in his capacity as company Founder and Director.

Prof. Daniel S. Alessi
University of Alberta

Daniel S. Alessi is a professor and the Encana Chair in Water Resources in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, who specializes in environmental geochemistry and geomicrobiology. Since 2013, his research group has focused on understanding the surface chemistry and reactivity of environmental materials such as iron oxides, bacteria, and biochar, on lithium extraction from oilfield brines, and on improving our knowledge of the water cycle in unconventional oil and gas operations.

Prof. Anushka Rajapaksha
University of Sri Jayewardenepura

Dr. Anushka Rajapaksha is a Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka. She holds B.Sc. in Chemistry Special from University of Peradeniya (2008), M.Phil (Chemical Sciences) from University of Peradeniya (2012), Sri Lanka and Ph.D. from Kangwon National University, South Korea (2015). Her research work includes development of novel engineered/designer biochar as innovative solutions to environmental issues, mainly for remediating toxic heavy metals and pharmaceuticals contaminated soil and water, Heavy metal dissolution, Environmental remediation etc. Dr. Rajapaksha has published more than 100 SCI journal articles. Among those, many were published in high impact journals in the area of environmental chemistry/science. Publications in most journals are highly recognized in the area of Environmental and material science such as Environmental Science and Technology, Geoderma, Science of the Total Environment, Journal of Hazardous Materials etc. Some of the recently published articles are highly cited and some were considered as most downloaded articles in journal history.

Dr. Yoora Cho
International ESG Association

Yoora Cho holds a bachelors degree in Environmental Ecology Engineering and in Chinese Language and Literature from Korea University. She completed her doctoral studies at the Department of Environmental Ecology Engineering at Korea University. In 2018, she conductedresearch on the remediation of soil heavy metal contamination as a visiting researcher at Wuppertal University in Germany. She has been involved in multidisciplinary research in environmental science,collaborating with research teams from China, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, andother countries. Since 2021, she has been conducting research on the decomposition and long-termsoil characteristic changes of residual plastic in soil, focusing on key areas of ESG (Environmental,Social, and Governance) management such as the circular economy of plastics, sustainablemanagement, soil quality assessment of plastic-contaminated soil, environmental degradation assessment of biodegradable plastics, and life cycle assessment of waste.

Prof. Jörg Rinklebe
Bergische Universität Wuppertal

Dr. Jörg Rinklebe is a Professor for Soil- and Groundwater-Management at the University of Wuppertal, Germany. His academic background covers environmental science, bioavailability of emerging contaminants, and remediation of contaminated soils using value-added products such as biochar. He works at various scales, ecosystems, and spheres including pedosphere, hydrosphere lithosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere and has a certain experience in fundamental soil science. His main research is on soils, sediments, waters, plants, and their pollutions (trace elements and nutrients) and linked biogeochemical issues with a special focus in redox chemistry. He also has a certain expertise in soil microbiology. Professor Rinklebe is internationally recognized particularly for his research in the areas of biogeochemistry of trace elements in wetland soils. According to SCOPUS, Professor Rinklebe published over 280 research papers, 21 were nominated in the in ISI web of Science as “Highly Cited Papers” and 3 were s nominated as “Hot Paper”. These papers have been cited 8736 time in Scopus with h-index = 52. Based on these citations, Prof Rinklebe has been selected as ISI Web of Science Globally Highly Cited Researcher in 2019 and 2020. Also, he published three books entitled “Trace Elements in Waterlogged Soils and Sediments” (2016), “Nickel in Soils and Plants” (2018), and “Soil and Groundwater Remediation Technologies” (2020), as well as numerous book chapters. He is serving as Chief Editor for Special Issues of “Environmental Pollution” and “Journal of Hazardous Materials”; Co-Editor in Chief of the international journal Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology (CREST), and as guest editor of various leading international journals. He organized many special symposia at various international conferences such as “Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements” (ICOBTE) and “International Conference on Heavy Metals in the Environment” (ICHMET). He was an invited speaker (plenary and keynote) at many international conferences. He is Visiting Professor at the Department of Environment, Energy and Geoinformatics at Sejong University, Seoul, South Korea and Guest Professor at the Department of Environmental Engineering, China Jiliang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Professor Rinklebe is Vice President of the International Society of Trace Element Biogeochemistry (ISTEB).

Prof. Longbin Huang
University of Queensland

Dr.  Longbin Huang is a full professor and a Program leader in The University of Queensland, leading a research program of “Ecological Engineering of Soil-Plant Systems”. Driven by the passion to translate leading knowledge into industry solutions, Longbin has pioneered transformative concepts and approach to tackle rehabilitation of mine wastes (e.g., tailings), focusing on “ecological engineering of mine wastes” for sustainable “ecological linkages of soil-plant systems”.The program consists of a group of researchers with leading knowledge and research skills on: soil/geo-microbial ecology, environmental mineralogy, bioweathering of minerals, native plant rhizosphere (micro)biology, soil-plant relations, and environmental materials (such as biochar and environmental geopolymers). It aims to deliver transformative knowledge and practices (i.e., technologies/methdologies) in the rehabilitation of mine wastes (e.g., tailings, mineral residues, spoils, waste rocks) and mined landscapes for non-polluting and ecologically and financially sustainable outcomes.In partnership with leading mining companies, Longbin and his team have been focusing on developing game-changing knowledge and technologies of tailings valorisation for achieving non-polluting and ecologically sustainable rehabilitation of, for example, coal mine spoils and tailings, Fe-ore tailings, bauxite residues (or red mud), and Cu/Pb-Zn tailings. Leading the global progress in bauxite rehabilitation, Longbin and his team are currently taking on field-scale research projects on bauxite residue rehabilitation technologies at alumina refineries in Queensland (QAL- and Yarwun refineries) and Northern Territory (Gove refinery).


For inquiries, please contact:
Prof. Yong Sik Ok ([email protected])
Director, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program