RSC's global expansion continues in India

21 September 2010

The Royal Society of Chemistry opened its latest international office in Bangalore yesterday as part of the scientific charity's continuing drive to expand its international network in publishing and educational activities. The India office will serve to build a stronger relationship with the Chemical Research Society of India and help expand the RSC's global network.

Speaking at the British Deputy High Commission in Bangalore, Dr Richard Pike, chief executive of the RSC, said it was a very exciting time for the society as he warned greater international co-operation was vital in order to meet the energy and environmental challenges of the future.

"This is a natural extension of our long-standing links with, and commitment to, India," he said. "As India's remarkable growth as a nation continues, chemistry and related-sciences will play a leading role in developing society, providing innovative solutions for challenges in energy, health, agriculture, climate change and sustainability. We look forward to strengthening our links with India and building new relationships in the future, through our office in Bangalore and our network of partners in industry, academia and government in both the UK and India."

Dr Pike earlier warned of an "uneasy future" caused by the problem of access to vital elements. "Depletion in the world's essential elements and a parallel excess of other chemical elements will dominate relations between countries in the future," he added. 

He highlighted at the Bangalore event the Indian government's recent rejection of plans by minerals firm Lafarge to set up a cement manufacturing plant in the Himalayas, which would have put carbon dioxide and other elements into the environment.

"Conversely, across the border in China, where RSC already has two other offices, the government clampdown on polluting antimony mines - which provide material for fire retardants - has sent global prices for that element spiralling to a record 11,000 US dollars per tonne. By comparison, weight-for-weight, crude oil is barely one-twentieth of this in terms of current market value. With 2011 being the International Year of Chemistry, I urge the scientific and wider communities to recognise the challenges the world faces, and set the right priorities in education, research, industry and the world's political frameworks to address these."

Andrew Jackson, counsellor at the Knowledge Economy in the British High Commission, said the opening of the RSC office is very welcome. "The RSC has long ties with India, promoting a wide range of collaboration with Indian partners, including in areas of research excellence, with the private sector exploring chemistry and innovation in market opportunities, and just last week developing young Indian talent in the field. The increased opportunities for this and other work show the RSC playing a full role in the UK's enhanced relationship with India. The High Commission, Science and Innovation Network and Research Councils India office have been happy to help support this work and look forward to further close work together through the new office."

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