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Inclusion and Diversity Forum 2021: Why belonging and inequalities in race and ethnicity matter

8 December 2021 14:00-17:00

The Royal Society of Chemistry Inclusion and Diversity Forum 2021 will take place virtually on 8 December, where we will be discussing inequalities in the chemical sciences with a focus on race and ethnicity.

Throughout this interactive event, we will present findings of our research into race and ethnicity inequalities in the chemical sciences. We will also discuss our recently launched report A sense of belonging in the chemical sciences

We will share some of our new initiatives to tackle inequalities in the chemical sciences and encourage participants to engage in the discussions and share your views.

The keynote speakers will be Professor Ann Morning discussing the importance of race and ethnicity data collection and its challenges, and Professor Catherine Ngila discussing global connectivity for the chemistry community.

During the Forum, a panel of experts from the global research ecosystem will discuss Influencing Change, the winners of the 2021 RSC Inclusion and Diversity Prize will receive their award, and a poster session will feature a number of community-driven projects supported by the RSC Inclusion and Diversity Fund.

If you have any accessibility requirements, please let us know through the registration form.


All times listed are in GMT. Please note that final timings are subject to change.

10:00 – Inclusion and Diversity Fund poster viewing available
Posters of community-driven projects supported by the Inclusion and Diversity Fund are available for viewing from 10:00 and throughout the event.

14:00 – Welcome remarks
  • Dr Helen Pain CSci CChem FRSC (CEO Royal Society of Chemistry)
14:10 – Our research findings on race and ethnicity inequalities in the chemical sciences
  • Professor Marina Resmini FRSC (QMUL and RSC Inclusion and Diversity Committee)
  • Professor Robert Mokaya FRSC (University of Nottingham)
14:35 – Opening keynote talk
  • Professor Ann Morning (New York University)
  • Chair: Professor Marina Resmini FRSC
14:55 – Panel discussion – Influencing Change
  • Dr Alison Wall (EPSRC UKRI)
  • Sandra Kerr CBE OBE (Business in the Community)
  • Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu (University College London)
  • Kevin Coutinho (University College London and Higher Education Race Action Group)
  • Chair: Dr Ale Palermo FRSC (Royal Society of Chemistry)
15:25 Break
15:40 – New initiatives and upcoming opportunities 
15:55 – A sense of belonging in the chemical sciences
  • Dr Rehana Sidat CSci CChem FRSC (GlaxoSmithKline)
  • Dr Pooja Goddard MRSC (Loughborough University and RSC Inclusion and Diversity Committee)
16:10 – Inclusion and Diversity Fund flash poster presentations 
16:20 – Awarding of 2021 Inclusion and Diversity Prize
  • Ashley Walker (Howard University) representing #BlackInChem
  • Awarded by: Professor Marina Resmini FRSC
16:30 – Closing keynote talk
  • Professor Catherine Ngila (Executive Director, The African Academy of Sciences)
  • Chair: Professor Gill Reid CChem FRSC (University of Southampton and RSC President-Elect)
16:50 – Closing remarks
  • Professor Gill Reid CChem FRSC 
  • Dr Helen Pain CSci CChem FRSC
17:00 – Networking
Professor Ann Morning, New York University, United States

Ann Morning is an Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University as well as the Academic Director at 19 Washington Square North, the home of NYU Abu Dhabi in New York. Trained in economics, political science, and international affairs as well as sociology, her research interests include race, demography, and the sociology of science, especially as they pertain to census classification worldwide and to individuals’ concepts of difference.  She is the author of The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference (University of California Press 2011), and co-author of An Ugly Word: Rethinking Race in Italy and the United States (with Marcello Maneri, U. Milan-Bicocca; forthcoming in 2022 from Russell Sage Foundation). Her articles have appeared in such journals as the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Demography, Science, Sociological Theory, and Ethnic & Racial Studies. Morning was a 2008-09 Fulbright research fellow at the University of Milan-Bicocca, a 2014-15 Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, and a 2019 Visiting Professor at the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris. She was a member of the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations from 2013 to 2019 and has consulted on racial statistics for the European Commission and the United Nations. Morning holds her B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Yale University, a Master’s of International Affairs from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University.

Professor J Catherine Ngila, The African Academy of Sciences, Kenya

Prof Jane Catherine Ngila is currently the Acting Executive Director of The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) since mid-July 2020. She provides leadership and strategic direction of The AAS’s programmatic and operational management whose vision is to transforms lives in Africa through science. The AAS’s tripartite mandate is; (a) recognizing excellence through the Academy’s highly prestigious Fellowship, Affiliates and Award schemes; (b) Advisory and think tank functions for shaping Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) strategies and policies and; (c) implementing key STI programmes addressing Africa’s developmental challenges.

Prof Ngila is the immediate former Deputy Vice Chancellor of Riara University for Academic and Student Affairs (DVC-AA). She is also a former Deputy Director of the Institute of Oil and Gas (MIOG) under Kenya Pipeline Company, in charge of Training, Academic Programmes and Linkages. She is a Visiting Professor at University of Johannesburg, University of Nairobi, and Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology. She also worked at University of Johannesburg, University of KwaZulu Natal, University of Botswana and Kenyatta University.

Prof Ngila is a Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences; Fellow Africa Academy of Science (AAS); Member of Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf); Member of the AAS mentorship programmes; was Co-Chair of the 2021 Commonwealth Science Conference 22-26 Feb; Mentor for Mastercard Foundation; She is a member of various chemical societies and professional organizations.

Prof Ngila has won various Awards; 2021 L'Oréal-UNESCO For International Women in Science Awards for excellence in water research; 2017 African Union Kwame Nkrumah East Africa Regional Women Scientific Awards (January 2017); 2016 South Africa (SA) Distinguished Women in Science (WISA) Awards. She has received various Awards from SA National Research Foundation, Water Research Commission, and Council for Scientific for Industrial Research.

Prof Ngila’s research work is on Analytical/Environmental Chemistry and focuses on water quality/pollution monitoring, modelling methods of water treatment based on nanotechnology, development of analytical methodologies for detecting metal pollutants and other chemical substances in water. She has published over 430 publications comprising of 215 journal articles, 16 book chapters, 18 conference proceedings, 40 keynote/invited lectures and 160 conference abstracts. Her ResearchGate Score is 39.73 with over 2,601 citations; Google Scholar h-Index of 33. More details in the following links:

Robert Mokaya FRSC, University of Nottingham , United Kingdom

Robert Mokaya FRSC received a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Nairobi and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Following a Research Fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was awarded an EPSRC Advanced Fellowship. He was then appointed to a lectureship in Materials Chemistry at The University of Nottingham where he is now Professor of Materials Chemistry and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement. He is a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award holder (2017-2022). In 2021, he was appointed to the Royal Society of Chemistry Board of Trustees

Dr Alison Wall, EPSRC UKRI, United Kingdom

Alison is the EPSRC deputy director with responsibility for the realising excellence in people and accessing talent through equality, diversity and inclusion delivery plan priorities. Alison is also Programme Director for the Additional Funding Programme for Mathematical Sciences. As well as working in EPSRC, Alison is also involved in leading work across UK Research and Innovation, as a recent chair of the UKRI EDI Implementation Group and current chair of the UK Research and Innovation Careers Network (RICN). EPSRC published detailed data on Race and Ethnicity in early 2021 which was followed by community surveys and many conversations with research organisations to gather input. Actions to respond to the issues raised have just been agreed with EPSRC’s Council (December 2021). 

Sandra Kerr CBE OBE, Business in the Community, United Kingdom

Sandra Kerr CBE, Race Equality Director, Business in the Community
Sandra works together with business leaders and government policy makers to influence action on race in the UK.
Prior to working at Business in the Community Sandra worked for DWP and the Cabinet Office. Between 2012 and 2016, Sandra chaired the DWP Ethnic Minority Employment Stakeholder Group, advising the Government on employment barriers facing individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds.
In 2012 Sandra was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List for Services to Black and Minority Ethnic People.  In 2019 Sandra was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list for Services to Equality and Diversity. In 2020, Sandra published the Race at Work Black Voices and the Race at Work Charter report.
More than 24,000 responses to the Race at Work 2015 and 2018 surveys provided the evidence to establish the Race at Work Charter which now has more than 780 employer signatories. Sandra sits on the Royal Society Diversity Committee, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Strategic Advisory Board and the Cabinet Office Race Board.
Sandra is a big advocate of mentorship, sponsorship and allyship.

Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, University College London, United Kingdom

Ijeoma Uchegbu FMedSci is UCL’s Professor of Pharmaceutical Nanoscience, a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a governor on the Wellcome board and Chief Scientific Officer of Nanomerics Ltd, a UCL spin out company.
She has studied the mechanisms of drug transport across biological barriers and created transformational drug transport nanoparticles.  She was the first to show that peptides could be delivered across the blood brain barrier to elicit a pharmacological response, when presented as peptide drug nanofibers and the first to demonstrate, via definitive pharmacology and pharmacokinetics evidence, peptide transport into the brain, using peptide nanoparticles delivered via the nose to brain route.  These findings led to  the enkephalin pain medicine candidate Envelta™, which was designed to address the opioid crisis.  In preclinical studies, Envelta™ showed no analgesic tolerance, reward seeking behaviour or potential to cause significant constipation.  Envelta has been out licensed to Virpax Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRPX) and is currently being developed by the US National Center for Advancing Translational Studies.  If successful, this will be the first neuropeptide medicine approval and it will have been made possible by the innovation originating in Uchegbu’s group.
The technology underpinning Envelta™ won first prize in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies competition in 2017 and the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences Science Innovation Award in 2016. 
Three other medicine candidates based on this nanotechnology have been out-licensed to pharmaceutical companies in the US.  Uchegbu’s work has been funded continuously for 21 years by the EPSRC and she serves on the BBSRC Council.  As UCL’s Pro Vice Provost for Africa and the Middle East, Uchegbu leads on the international research and teaching engagement strategy in this region.  She has served as Chair of the Academy of  Pharmaceutical Sciences and chaired EPSRC and Science Foundation Ireland grant prioritisation panels.  She is UCL Provost’s Envoy for Race Equality and leads on race equality work at UCL.  Her initiatives (e.g. Dean’s Pledges on Race Equality) were instrumental in achieving UCL’s Bronze Race Charter in 2020.     

Kevin Coutinho, University College London, United Kingdom

Gender Equality Policy Manager, University College London
Kevin is an equalities practitioner within higher education, currently working at University College London as their Athena SWAN and Gender Equality Policy Manager. He is also Chair of Higher Education Race Action Group (HERAG), an Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charter panellist for Advance HE and Chair of Trustees for the Windsor Fellowship. Kevin also holds Council positions at the Faraday Institution and The Linnean Society of London and was recently awarded a Guardian Public Service Leadership award. Kevin is an independent appointed member of the RSC Inclusion and Diversity Committee.

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