Joel A. Tickner

Joel Tickner is a leading researcher and strategist in making chemistry safer for people and the environment. His research focuses on the development of innovative scientific methods and policies to implement and accelerate the design and application of safer products and manufacturing processes. He is also a leading expert on environmental health, green chemistry, chemicals policy, and pollution prevention.

Tickner is an internationally respected expert on how chemicals in everyday life can adversely affect adults and children and based on that understanding he has worked tirelessly to advocate for the adoption of safer alternatives in household products, manufacturing processes and more. His research has led to the establishment and growth of the field of chemical alternatives assessment, the process of comparing alternatives for chemicals of concern. He is the founding Executive Director of the Association for the Advancement of Alternatives Assessment, a professional association dedicated to advancing the science, practice, and policy of alternatives assessment and informed substitution.

Tickner also founded the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3), a powerful network of more than 120 companies, bringing together the entire value chain from chemical producers to major brands and retailers. The GC3 occupies a unique role as a highly credible convener and facilitator of green chemistry commercialization, with access to leading-edge research and practice. It offers a tangible opportunity to influence and scale fundamental industry shifts, achieving significantly greater adoption of green chemistry.

Tickner is a professor of environmental health at University of Massachusetts-Lowell, where he has worked to build interdisciplinary bridges across departments and colleges to position the university as a leading institution in the design and application of sustainable chemicals and materials. He is Co-Director of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute, which provides resources and tools to help businesses, municipalities, and communities in Massachusetts find safer alternatives to toxic chemicals.

“Collaboration. Innovation. Acceleration. When you build effective frameworks for the value chain to work together, you can drive the commercial adoption of green chemistry at a much faster pace.”

  • Other: Cleaner Production and Pollution Prevention, (2000), University of Massachusetts Lowell – Lowell, MA
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Precaution in Practice: A Framework for Implementing the Precautionary Principle.
  • Ph D: Work Environment, Cleaner Production and Pollution, (2000), University of Massachusetts at Lowell, – Lowell, MA, USA
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Dissertation: Precaution in Practice: A Framework for Implementing the Precautionary Principle.
  • MS: Environmental Studies, (1993), University of Montana, Missoula, MT, USA – Missoula, MT, USA
  • BA: Spanish with concentration in Environmental Science, (1989), Colby College, Waterville – Waterville, ME, USA

Tickner, Joel, Rachel Simon, Molly Jacobs, et al. Lessons from the 2018 International Symposium on Alternatives Assessment: Advances and Reflections on Practice and Ongoing Needs to Build the Field. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. Volume 15, Number 6—pp. 909–916.

2019 Tickner Joel, Molly Jacobs, Nyree Berkanian. 2019. Alternatives assessment and informed substitution: A global landscape assessment of drivers, methods, policies and needs. Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy. Vol 13, DOI: 10.1016/j.scp.2019.100161.

2018 Tickner, Joel, Molly Jacobs, Tim Malloy, Alex Stone, Topher Buck, Ann Blake. Advancing Alternatives Assessment for Safer Chemical Substitution: A Research and Practice Agenda. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management DOI: 10.1002/ieam.4094 .

2017 Tickner, Joel, Chris Weis, Molly Jacobs. Alternatives Assessment: new ideas, frameworks and policies. Journal of Community Health and Epidemiology, DOI: 10.1136/jech-2016-20781.

2016 Jacobs, Molly, Tim Malloy, Joel Tickner, and Sally Edwards. Alternatives Assessment Frameworks: Research Needs for the Informed Substitution of Hazardous Chemicals. Environmental Health Perspectives 124:265–280.

2015 Geiser, Ken, Joel Tickner, Sally Edwards, Mark Rossi, and Charlotte Brody. Architecture of Alternatives Assessment. Journal of Risk Analysis 35: 2152-2161, DOI: 10.1111/risa.12507.

Bougas, K, J. Tickner, M. Jacobs, S. Edwards, D. Tyrer. 2019. Chemicals Innovation Action Agenda. Transitioning to Safer Chemicals and Technologies. Lowell Center for Sustainable Production and Wood PLC. June

Report written for the European Commission that has served as input to the EU Green Deal Chemicals Strategy. Co-PI on Project

2018 Tickner, J., M. Jacobs, N. Bakarian. 2018. Assessment of chemical and non-chemical alternatives: Focusing on solutions. In Global Chemicals Outlook II. United Nations Environment Programme. [Chapter in influential multi-volume United Nations Report on global chemicals impacts. To be published in winter/spring 2019] 

2018 Tickner, J., M. Jacobs, N Bakarian. 2018. Assessment of Chemical and Non-Chemical Alternatives: Focusing on Solutions Foundation Paper for Global Chemicals Outlook. December [Theoretical background and detailed paper for Global Chemicals Outlook chapter to be published on UNEP website in winter/spring 2019]

2018 Tickner, Joel and Jessica Schifano. 2018. Options for advancing informed substitution and alternatives assessment within Canada’s chemicals program. Lowell Center for Sustainable Production for Health Canada.

2017 Tickner, Joel, Molly Jacobs, Greg Howard. Advancing Capacity to Support Substitution: Connecting Innovation and Substitution Strategies. Lowell Center for Sustainable Production for the European Chemicals Agency. September.

2017 Tickner, Joel, Molly Jacobs, Jessica Schifano, Sally Edwards, Pam Eliason. August 2017. Examining the Opportunities to Support the Transition to Safer Chemicals in Canada. Lowell Center for Sustainable Production for Health Canada.

2017 Tickner, Joel, Molly Jacobs, Greg Howard. August 2017. Approaches for Accelerating Substitution under Reach and Beyond: Strategic Options Assessment. Lowell Center for Sustainable Production for the European Chemicals Agency

2016 Tickner, Joel, Molly Jacobs. 2016. Improving the Identification, Evaluation, Adoption and Development of Safer Alternatives: Needs and Opportunities to Enhance Substitution Efforts within the Context of REACH. Lowell Center for Sustainable Production for the European Chemicals Agency.

2019 Tickner, Joel. 2019. Supply chain collaboration to accelerate safer chemistry is good for the bottom line, people, and the planet. Chemical Watch. December 19

2019 Jacobs, Molly and Joel Tickner. 2019. Alternatives Assessment for Informed Substitution. Time for Methodological Alignment. Chemical Watch. September 3.

2019 Tickner, Joel and Monica Becker. 2019. Collaboration Accelerates Green Chemistry Innovation throughout an industry. Sustainable Brands Blog, May 15

2017 Tickner, Joel. 2017. Expert Focus: The changing US political landscape: what it means for green chemistry. Chemical Watch. April 17

Green Chemistry & Commerce Council

Association for the Advancement of Alternatives Assessment –

Chemicals Policy Initiative –

2018-present    Association for the Advancement of Alternatives Assessment. Founder and Executive Director

2018-present    Advisory Board, National Academy of Sciences, Environmental Health Matters Initiative

2017-present    Lego, Green Chemistry Advisory Board

2017-present    Johnson & Johnson Earthwards Sustainability Recognition Program. Advisory Committee.

2015-2017    Proposal Review Panel, California Breast Cancer Research Program (including Chair)

2014-present    Advisory Board, University of Toledo, School of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering

2013-present    OECD Ad Hoc Working Group on Substitution of Hazardous Chemicals

2013-2014    National Academy of Sciences, Panel on Design and Evaluation of Safer Chemical Substitutes

2013-2014    US Green Building Council Sustainable Materials Fellow

2011-2012    National Academy of Sciences, Panel on the Science for EPA’s Future

  • Exceeding Excellence Award Nominee – UMASS Lowell, Student Government Association
  • Student Government Association Exceeding Excellence Award Nominee – UMASS Lowell, Student Government Association
  • Policy Leader, (2008), Leadership – North American Hazardous Waste Managers Association
  • Policy Leader, North American Hazardous Waste Managers Association (2008) – Awarded to Chemicals Policy Initiative Directed by Joel Tickner
  • Pollution Prevention Champion (2008) – National Pollution Prevention Roundtable
  • Faculty Teaching Award (2006), Teaching – Department of Community Health and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Pioneer of Precaution Award, First National Summit on the Precautionary Principle (2006)
  • President’s Award for Public Service (2005) – University of Massachusetts
  • Top Scientist Award, (2004), Service, Professional – Clean Water Action Alliance
  • Distinguished Guest Lecturer, (2003), Leadership – Executive Environmental Management Course, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Glaverbel Endowed Chair in European Studies, (2002), Service, Professional – University Catholique du Louvain, Belgium
  • Barry Commoner Award (2001) – Department of Work Environment University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Reinvigorating engagement and collaboration through interprofessional education (RECIPE) in nursing and public health students – the 26th Annual Conference for Nurse Educators, May 2018 – North Falmouth, MA,


Joel A. Tickner
Professor, College of Health Sciences
UMass Lowell
Lowell MA 01854 USA