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One of the greatest challenges confronted by all societies today is to integrate environmental sustainability with economic growth and welfare. The Carbon Dioxide Activation Center (CADIAC) will take on this challenge through a unique and multifaceted research effort merging strong nanoscience and chemistry competences in transition-metal catalysis, surface chemistry, electrochemistry, and hybrid organic/inorganic materials with the aim of developing new and efficient catalytic systems for converting CO2 into high-value compounds. The synthesis of a range of carboxylate-containing compounds, such as alkyl, alkenyl and aryl acids and other derivatives, as well as related compounds encompassing aldehydes and alcohols will be pursued. All represent valuable feedstocks to commodities such as plastics, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals etc., and all currently originate from fossil sources. The outcome of this research endeavour will lead to new fundamental scientific knowledge on how to specifically activate carbon dioxide under mild and environmentally friendly reaction conditions, and to transform this under-utilised resource to value-added bulk chemicals in energy efficient manners, which, ultimately, can contribute to make our society carbon‑neutral.