Since its foundation in the early 1980s, the International Organization for Chemical Sciences in Development (IOCD) has worked to engage chemists from around the world in tackling major challenges in areas including human health, agriculture, the environment, conservation, exploration and sustainable, equitable of biotic

During a conference on Chemistry Education as an Agent in Global Progress.in June 2015, IOCD scientist Stephen Matlin gave a paper on ‘The Contribution of the Chemical Sciences to Global Progress: Achievements, Prospects and Challenges’. In the course of his presentation, he drew on the example of the global health threat posed by anti-microbial resistance and noted that the solution being encourages was a ‘One Health’ approach which recognized that animal and human health and the environment are inter-connected. He commented that “we need to have a similar orientation in our thinking about the chemical sciences, which projects them as taking a harmonized and comprehensive systems approach to understanding and solving global challenges”.

Subsequently, Matlin and three other IOCD scientists, Goverdhan Mehta, Henning Hopf and Alain Krief, developed this idea further and elaborated it into the concept of ‘One-World Chemistry’. The IOCD group published a paper in Nature Chemistry in 2016, introducing the concept which embodies the group’s view that chemistry must go beyond ‘being a science’ and embrace ‘being a science for the benefit of society’.