China links are the route for the future, says RSC
06 July 2005
The phenomenal expansion of Chinese and Indian chemical sciences offers a great 21st century opportunity to the British chemistry community, the Royal Society of Chemistry believes.
The RSC has in the past six months been developing close ties with Chinese higher education in particular through a scheme to produce two-way benefits, says Dr Neville Reed, RSC Communications Director, who was part of a Spring delegation to tour major cities in the People's Republic.
"Their universities are generating an astounding amount of excellent research, taking in scores of thousands of students and forging very close ties with industry and commerce," said Dr Reed.
"Our philosophy at the RSC in the 20th century was, and will continue to be, open, international and energetic. We want to bring in as many Chinese authors as we can to publish in our stable of chemistry journals and to establish free association between our chemical scientists and those of China.
"We are already looking to introduce a specialist manager who will handle our relationship with Chinese universities and naturally we will hope to see links proliferate with other chemical associations in the Far East."
Meanwhile at home the RSC is adamant that its subject must be allowed to flourish with the kind of verve and central support now evident in China and India.
This week the RSC was disappointed that the Higher Education Funding Council for England failed to grasp the funding nettle by not committing to deeper science funding at UK universities in a new major report published on the issue of subjects that are both of strategic importance and vulnerable.
"We may wish to be partners with international chemistry communities but we also need to compete with them in the 21st century. If we allow chemistry to atrophy from lack of university resources we will see very quickly and very damagingly the consequences of neglect.
"We believe that British chemical scientists are the most enterprising in the world and have been for some time but to enable them and their endeavours to flourish in the 21st century we do need to see some more support from Government and the funding council."
Chancellor Gordon Brown, who last year met RSC representatives and subsequently committed more money to sciences in the UK, has already pointed to the need to work with, and to compete with, emerging economies and said after a visit to China:
"Before I came to China I understood the scale and significance of what was happening in China and Asia, as something that would affect us all. There is no doubt in my mind that when China is turning out two million graduates each year, we cannot afford for any young people in our country to be left behind," he told reporters in Shenzhen.
"When you look at what is happening in China, you know that we have got to do more in the future in order to compete," he said. "We have got to raise our sights and raise our game, be more ambitious for the future."
Contact and Further Information
Media Relations Manager
Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BA
Tel: +44 (0)20 7440 3317 or +44 (0) 7966 939257
Fax: +44 (0)20 7437 8883