Twelve months ago, I reflected on the need for action and change in the face of the pandemic and the vital role that organizations and professional bodies, including the Royal Society of Chemistry, have to play in the global science ecosystem and in supporting society as a whole.

Whether Covid-19, climate change or clean water, there is no discipline, no profession and no nation that offers the required range of solutions. Our future global prosperity depends on innovation, partnerships and teamwork, across nations and across disciplines.

The RSC is now 12 months ahead with a clear strategy to ensure we are doing our part to help chemical scientists contribute to groundbreaking scientific discoveries and applications. And together with the rest of the world, we look forward to the next big challenge and innovations that will change and change our lives.

Chemistry plays a fundamental role in developing sustainable solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. Our new Horizon Awards highlight the most exciting contemporary chemical science at the cutting edge of research and innovation. These prizes have recognized the teams and collaborations that open up new directions and opportunities in their field through groundbreaking scientific developments. The 2021 award winners have clearly demonstrated their impact and potential for sustainable change, including a novel approach to early Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, waste-to-fuel catalyst technology and the development of hydrogen peroxide for water purification. Most importantly, all winners have demonstrated the power of partnership.

The RSC’s Emerging Technologies competition is an annual initiative for young companies and academic entrepreneurs who want to commercialize their technologies to have a lasting impact on society. One of our 2020 winners has made significant achievements in CO conversion2 convert them into tailor-made chemical intermediates, increase sustainability and close the carbon cycle. That year, the competition attracted an additional 120 high-quality applications, with our final 24 companies shortlisted, representing a wide range of proposals from technology innovators, startups and spin-outs.

We share the responsibility to build trust and trust in the public

We also pay tribute to the phenomenal work of the people teaching chemistry and inspiring future generations. Our education awards honor those who work in primary, secondary, further and higher education. It is so important that we focus on the future skills and talents needed in science by encouraging young people for careers in chemistry and the exciting opportunities that the subject offers.

Perhaps science is more in the limelight than ever, and across the scientific community we have demonstrated the power of working together to enable meaningful scientific breakthroughs and new technologies. We have a responsibility to build public trust and trust – we cannot assume that this will just happen, we must continue to work on it and invest in open knowledge sharing and awareness raising. There must also be trust and confidence within the scientific community.

Science culture encompasses the behaviors, values, and attitudes of our scientific communities. It influences career paths and influences the way science, innovation and related services are designed, provided and communicated. The role of the RSC as a professional body and publisher that sets standards and upholds professional and ethical behavior means we need to do more to address science culture and enable change through positive action.

Last month Chemistry world, our President Tom Welton stressed the importance of making change. By showing leadership and building visible partnerships at home and abroad, we can serve our purpose of helping the chemical science community make the world a better place. And by building new innovation networks to promote cooperation between industry, science and politics, we can ensure lasting changes and effects for the benefit of all.


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