European collaborations

EuCheMS, the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences, provides a single voice for chemistry in Europe. Its reach is impressive with circa 40 member societies representing over 150,000 chemists. Since 2006 the biennial EuChemMS Chemistry Congress has brought together chemists from all over the world – more than 2,000 delegates from 50 countries – to discuss the latest research and its impact on society. The reason I’m telling you is that the host country of its 2018 (7th) edition is going to be the UK.
Building on the preliminary theme ‘From breakthrough science to global societal challenges’, the Congress will highlight the key role of the chemical sciences in areas such as energy, resource efficiency, health and food, as well as the underpinning research that enables advances towards tackling this challenges.
I’m sure that scientists around the UK are looking forward to welcoming European colleagues and those from further afield to our shores for such a gathering of the chemical science community. There will be opportunity for scientists across Europe and career stages to get involved and help make it a huge success. It’ll also be a great opportunity for scientists to engage with colleagues from across the globe in a way that will hopefully sow the seeds for many fruitful collaborations and cement the future of those already in place. So we’ll see you in Liverpool in 2018, but hopefully before then, in Istanbul, Turkey, later this year and Seville, Spain, in 2016. 

Horizon 2020

The theme of the 2018 EuCheMS congress reflects the focus of Horizon 2020 – Europe’s flagship science funding programme – on both excellent science and global societal challenges. A third pillar is industrial leadership, which means that this programme focuses much more strongly than its predecessors on industrially led innovation.  

To discuss the opportunities that this provides for UK-based chemical and biotechnology industry, Chemistry World hosted a webinar at the end of February with Steven Fletcher from the Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network and Rodney Townsend from SusChem. One interesting point is that UK industry tends to participate less in European projects than companies from other EU member states. The speakers explained that many UK companies tend to regard Europe as ‘extra’ rather than core funding, so don’t get involved. 
Additionally, the perceived complexity and bureaucracy make big and small companies reluctant to take part, owing to the amount of internal effort required. Besides, businesses may not have a clear view of what their medium to long term business technology requirements are, so the benefits of a collaboration will not be immediately obvious. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. 
[The webinar is now available for on-demand viewing at]  

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