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Business & Education Business

Invigorating Industry

sponsored by The Royal Society of Chemistry

The RSC is a professional body that aims to advance excellence in the chemical sciences. As a not-for-profit organization, they invest any surplus income to achieve charitable objectives in support of the chemical science community. We spoke with Andrew Waterworth (Industry Engagement Manager for the RSC) to find out more.

What’s the main focus of your role with the RSC?

The RSC’s commitment to academic research is widely apparent, but we must also ensure that every great innovation has the potential to become a commercial reality. As Industry Engagement Manager, I work primarily with small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the chemical industry – helping them access RSC support. Our support takes many forms, and – having obtained experience across many industry sectors myself – I’d say I’m well placed to understand a business’ needs and guide them towards their full potential. I deal with stakeholders ranging from multinationals to regional catapults and trade associations to universities so that I can stay abreast of the whole field, meaning I can connect people to the right networks to enable growth.

Why is it important to support industry scientists?

Chemistry is “the industry of industries”; industrial chemistry not only provides a foundation for everyday well-being, but also provides stability in our economy. In the UK alone, the chemical industry contributes an annual turnover of about £50 billion. And, given that the majority of chemical companies in the UK are SMEs (around 97 percent), the need to support these companies by providing a voice that can influence policy, funding and government priorities is clear. Without this support, a great idea, concept, or innovation could fall through the cracks.

How could industry scientists benefit from RSC membership?

We have a dedicated in-house careers team comprised of specific chemistry specialists who can aid continuous professional development in a huge number of ways – including careers consultations, help with CV writing, and overseeing our professional mentoring scheme. We also offer professional development support for those in their early career, through RSciTech and RSci (which are highly sought-after by employers), and skill development grants. For those working on research and development in a chemical sciences SME, we have our EnterprisePlus scheme. The scheme supports companies in networking, profile building, recruitment support, access to funding options, and much more. There are vouchers available to employees of registered companies for training and skills development, and grants to support intern or apprenticeship schemes.

We provide a platform that unites different perspectives to facilitate mutually beneficial collaboration.

Our Synergy program brings experts together to solve complex chemistry challenges in industry, although this idea may sound simple, finding common ground between businesses that operate in completely different markets isn’t always straightforward. And that’s where we come in by facilitating collaboration across industry. Some of the big challenges in industry – like corrosion and sustainable material consumption – can only be solved through long-term collaboration between industry, academia, government, and with society. We provide a platform that unites different perspectives to facilitate mutually beneficial collaboration.

How do you plan to reach out to industry scientists in 2020?

We’ll be sending numerous support teams to exhibitions and conferences across the world in the coming year, including Analytica and Arablab – the full list is available on our website.

Our Policy team is gathering evidence from industry, academia and trade associations to inform the UK Chemicals Strategy, and presented our recommendations in January at the Westminster Briefing.

We also run our Chemistry Means Business event annually, which hosts over 200 attendees and more than 60 SMEs, providing a great platform for European emerging technology companies. Attending these events ensures industry researchers are aware of the unique advantages made available through the RSC – and how these benefit their organization in the long term.

What is your unique selling point?

RSC Select is a great example of the flexibility apparent in our support. This service offers on-demand access to ground-breaking research in chemistry across disciplines. In this way, the RSC can continue its commitment to advancing excellence in chemistry.

Personally, I think the standout benefit of the RSC is the fact that it provides something for everybody. As well as tailored membership offerings for all stages of a chemist’s career, we provide a variety of products and services to non-members. The RSC is for all.

To find out more about the RSC and their plans for industry, visit If you’re interested in joining the RSC as an individual member, email [email protected] To enquire about EnterprisePlus, email [email protected]

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