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Royal Society of Chemistry Panel Discussion

Panel discussion on the Future of the Chemical Sciences

Monday 24 July

Room 207
14:30 – 16:30


The panel discussion will be focussed on the Future of the Chemical Sciences. The panel will consist of 6-8 participants (6 preferably) and each will talk on a different topic to set the scene. Following these talks the discussion will be opened to the audience.

Confirmed panellists:

  • Professor Paul Mulvaney, author of RACI Decadel Plan
  • Sir John Holman, President, RSC
  • Samantha Read, CEO, Chemistry Australia [industry peak body] (or Peter Berry)
  • Prof Penny Brothers – President NZIC
  • Prof Frances Arnold

Potential discussion points to be addressed, one each by the panellists:

  • Professor Paul Mulvaney – introduce RACI Decadel plan and key conclusions and ideas
  • Sir John Holman – introduce the RSC’s Future of the Chemical Sciences report. This report intends to help us understand how the chemical sciences could evolve in the next ten to twenty years and how this could affect academia, industry and society at large. We used scenario planning as a methodology to understand uncertainty and challenge conventional thinking. Our report was released during the autumn of 2016 with the hope to stimulate dialogue within the chemical sciences community about how to prepare for the future, so that we can shape the way the chemical sciences might develop for the benefit of people around the world. A copy of the report is available here: and other related content on our Chemistry World website.
  • Does education need to change to provide the necessary skills for future chemists to succeed in an increasingly interdisciplinary environment?
  • How can we measure success of the research community in this world which is focussing on solving problems?
  • How do you think that scholarly communication might be changing? How best might the chemistry community communicate their success stories/outputs?
  • What could be the roles that chemical societies and other organisations play to support our communities and continue to be relevant to them?
  • Related to above, how can we improve the gender parity in academia? What sort of positive action can we take today to ensure a more diverse and inclusive academic workforce? What could be the roles of the societies today to proactively influence this?

Other discussion points for the audience or panel:

  • Needs of future professional chemists?
  • Is diversity in industry also an issue?
  • Funding issues from government
  • Effect of technology on the way we teach chemistry
  • Are we attracting the best students to chemistry? Will this change in the future?
  • What are the careers of the future chemists?


Potentially Robin Williams who is MC at the Shark Brain event.

Alternatively, Alejandra Palermo, Royal Society of Chemistry and lead author of the RSC Future of the Chemical Science report.

Venue, Date and Time

Either Monday or Tuesday. Time and venue TBC, need to check that Paul Mulvaney and Tom Welton are available before confirming.

1.5 hours in length

Each panellist has 5 minutes to talk followed by discussion

Presentations 30-40 minutes, discussion 50-60 minutes, depending on number of panellists

Expression of Interest

Key Dates

  • Abstract submission opens Now Closed
  • Registration opens Now Open
  • Abstract submission closes 30 March 2017
  • Early bird registration deadline 7 May 2017
  • 17ACC 23-28 July 2017
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