In the year 2000, the first Gratama workshop (Gratama Workshop 2000) was held in Osaka as one of the celebration activities within the commemoration of the 400 years of relations between Japan and the Netherlands. The second Gratama workshop (Gratama Workshop 2003) was then organized in Utrecht. The purpose of the workshops was to present and discuss contributions of chemical sciences and technology of both countries towards a sustainable society in the 21st century. The main topic was "Chemistry and Chemical Technology for a Sustainable Society". The present Gratama workshop 2006 is a follow-up of this initiative, focusing on the following areas,

1. Biosynthesis and organic synthesis (fine chemistry); In addition to heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis future synthesis of complex organic molecules will incorporate also strategies from chemical biology (biocatalysis). Full integration of these three strategies may lead to approaches which combine many synthesis steps in one process as well as to 'no-waste' protocols.

2. Hydrogen as sustainable energy carrier; Before a 'hydrogen future' can be reality many knowledge gaps must be bridged. Challenges are to find answers on questions such as, how to produce hydrogen (from fossil and sustainable sources), how to separate hydrogen from production gas mixtures, how to store and transport.

3. Advanced sustainable process by engaging catalytic technologies (bulk chemistry); Utilization of current feedstock and their conversion processes need significantly improved efficiencies by break-through improvements in selectivity. Moreover, new routes to existing (bulk) products are required. On the long term basis a substantial transition to renewable feedstocks is needed to close the C-cycle in the production of bulk chemicals.