New partnership promises bright future for organic chemistry in the UK


05 September 2007

The teaching of organic chemistry in schools across the UK is to benefit as a result of a donation to the Royal Society of Chemistry from Shire plc, a FTSE50 leading global biopharmaceutical company, headquartered in the UK.

The donation will be used to help teachers deliver A-Level organic chemistry lessons with increased confidence and enthusiasm, leading to significant long-term benefits to UK industry, economy and society.

Shire is providing an unrestricted education donation of 250,000 over the coming five years, and has pledged to participate in teaching sessions and will grant teachers access to Shire sites for training. In addition, Shire will be sponsoring an award for a group of top A-Level chemistry students in 2008, giving them the chance to travel to Boston, Massachusetts, the heartland of the biotech industry in the United States.

The RSC will employ its educational expertise to deliver improvements in the understanding and teaching of organic chemistry, modernise the A-Level science curriculum, provide materials that teachers enjoy using and students understand and increase the awareness of science in the public domain.

Richard Pike, chief executive of the RSC, said today: "It is with great pleasure that I announce this investment in the future of organic chemistry in the UK - a vital branch of science that helps drive our economy and keeps the UK at the forefront of worldwide scientific endeavour and underpins the nation's world class pharmaceutical industry.

"I am delighted to welcome Shire as an RSC corporate partner that shares our belief in the importance of investing in the next generation of scientists. We have decided to use the donation to build an ambitious partnership involving not only the RSC and Shire, but teachers, students, media, government, industry and universities, all demonstrating the exciting applications of chemistry, and the many career opportunities open to graduates in this area.

"Through this project we will identify teachers from across the UK for special training and ongoing support, and online resources will be promoted globally by the RSC through its website, publications, and network of 120,000 scientists in 80 countries."

Matthew Emmens, chief executive officer of Shire, said: "Shire success depends on its people, many of whom have scientific backgrounds. We believe in the importance of investing in encouraging the future generation of talented chemists and promoting awareness of the exciting career opportunities that exist in companies such as our own. We are very pleased to become a partner with the Royal Society of Chemistry."

Contact and Further Information

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