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Chemical Science symposium 2023: Chemistry of polymers

26 - 27 October 2023, London, United Kingdom



Under the banner of our flagship diamond open access journal, Chemical Science, we’ll be shining a spotlight on cutting-edge chemistry research and giving it the sort of attention that drives scientific progress and makes a difference.

This hybrid meeting is the next iteration in the Chemical Science symposia series hosted by the Royal Society of Chemistry.  We’re excited to welcome delegates to the home of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and look forward to a conversation enriched by the online participation of our international community.

We warmly invite you to join us in London, or online, in October 2023, for the fifth Chemical Science symposium, and look forward to welcoming you to the discussion.

About the symposium

Leading researchers and emerging investigators from a broad range of backgrounds will come together to explore and celebrate the theme of the 2023 symposium: Chemistry of Polymers

The scientific programme of invited talks will be added shortly. The invited speakers will also be complemented by flash talks and poster sessions to provide further networking opportunities and discussion for all attendees.

The invited speakers for this symposium will discuss research over a range of topics, including:
  • Chemistry and Synthesis of Polymers
  • Optoelectronic Polymers
  • Recyclable Polymers and 3D printing
  • Biopolymers
  • Polymer Assemblies
Steven Armes, The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Steve graduated from Bristol University (BSc 1983 and PhD 1987). He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico before taking up a lectureship at Sussex University in 1989. He was promoted to full Professor in 2000 and moved to Sheffield University in 2004. He has published >700 papers (45,200 citations, H-index 122), received six RSC medals and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014. Steve has graduated 65 PhD students and has advised more than 70 postdoctoral scientists. He collaborates with various industrial companies, including BASF, BP, Syngenta, Ashland and GEO Specialty Chemicals.

Christopher Barner-Kowollik, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

A PhD graduate of Göttingen University, Germany, Christopher Barner-Kowollik joined the University of New South Wales in early 2000, becoming one of the co-directors of its Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design in 2006. In 2008, he joined KIT, later establishing a German Research Council (DFG) Centre of Excellence. He moved to QUT in 2017, founding QUT’s Soft Matter Materials Laboratory, one of the world’s leading photochemical research teams. Over his 24-year career to date focussing on precision (macromolecular) photochemical processes, he supported highly collaborative large teams across two continents, documented in over 760 peer-reviewed publications that have been cited over 45 000 times. His multi-award-winning research – most recently recognized by the 2023 Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Centenary Prize - explores precision wavelength orthogonal, synergistic and antagonistic photochemical reactions and their applications in macromolecular systems.

Eva Blasco, Heidelberg University, Germany

Eva Blasco completed her Ph.D. studies at the University of Zaragoza (Spain) under the supervision of Prof. L. Oriol and Dr. Pinol. Thereafter, she obtained an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to work in the groups of Prof. C. Barner-Kowollik (Polymer Chemistry) and Prof. M. Wegener (Applied Physics) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany. Afterwards, she continue as a group leader at the same institution. In October 2020, she was appointed junior professor at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) and since January 2023 she has been promoted to full professor. Her research interests include the development of new functional polymers by employing light, particularly, for 3D laser printing.

Anindita Das, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata, India

Anindita Das received her Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Suhrit Ghosh from the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Kolkata, India in 2014. Subsequently, she worked as an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Patrick Théato at the University of Hamburg, Germany. In 2016, she moved to the group of Prof. E. W. Meijer at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, for her second postdoctoral research. In 2017, she joined as a Faculty Fellow at IACS, where she currently holds the position of Assistant Professor in the School of Applied and Interdisciplinary Sciences. Her research interests include supramolecular assemblies of functional π-systems and macromolecules employing halogen-bonding and other underexplored supramolecular interactions, crystallization-driven macromolecular assemblies and biodegradable polymers.

James Hedrick, IBM, United States

James L. Hedrick is a Distinguished Research Staff Member at IBM's Almaden Research Center, but spends a significant amount of time at IBM's Yorktown Heights Research facility, Stanford University as well as the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), Singapore. Jim has pioneered new polymer-forming reactions as high temperature interlayer dielectrics and block copolymers for low dielectric materials and help create the foundation of block copolymer lithography. Jim introduced the polymer community to organic catalysis as an environmentally benign means to living polymerization that provided entry into the nanomedicine field. Jim now leads an effort at IBM in collaboration with IBN to solve critical problems in antimicrobial resistance, gene delivery, sustained therapeutic release and cancer therapies. Jim has over 500 publications, ~450 patents, serves on numerous advisory boards and as won many awards including the IBM Grand Challenge (2017) on Antibiotic Resistance, ACS Herman Mark Senior Scholar award (2017), President Obama’s EPA Green Chemistry award (2012), ACS Polymer Fellow (2010), Carl Marvel award (ACS) on Creative Polymer Chemistry (2003), ACS award on Cooperative Chemistry with Stanford University (2009) and IBM Master Inventor (2018).

Brett Helms, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, United States

Dr. Brett A. Helms is a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He completed his B.S. in chemistry in 2000 at Harvey Mudd College and his Ph.D. in the College of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. Since starting his independent career, he has built a diverse research program to solve global challenges in energy and sustainability. He harnesses synthetic chemistry, computational insights, X-ray characterization, and engineering to forge a molecular-level understanding of materials to realize performance advantages with them in batteries, adaptive and reconfigurable energy materials, and chemically recyclable polymers for the circular economy.

Bumjoon Kim, KAIST, South Korea

Bumjoon Kim is a KAIST Endowed Chair Professor and Department Head in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST. He received his Ph.D. degree from UC Santa Barbara (2006). Afterward, he worked with Prof. Jean Fréchet at UC Berkeley until 2008. He received awards including the MSIT-NRF Scientist of the Month Award (Korean Government, 2021), S-Oil Next-Generation Researcher Award (Korea Academy of Science and Technology, 2021), Young Scientist Award (World Economic Forum 2013), KAIST Academic Excellence Award (2015) and Shimgye Science Award (2017). He has published 280 peer-reviewed papers and 70 issued/pending patents with an H-index of 74 and > 18000 citations. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2022) and a member of the National Academy of Engineering of Korea (2023). He currently serves as an editorial (advisory) board member of Chem. Mater. (ACS), J. Mater. Chem. A (RSC), Chinese Journal of Polymer Science and Giant (Elsevier) and serves as an associate editor of Nanoresearch Energy.

Christine Luscombe, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan

Christine Luscombe received her Bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2000, after which she worked with Profs. Andrew Holmes and Wilhelm Huck in the Melville Laboratory of Polymer Synthesis at the University of Cambridge where her research focused on surface modifications using supercritical carbon dioxide for her PhD. In January 2004, she joined the group of Prof. Jean Fréchet for her post-doctoral studies where she began her research on semiconducting polymers for organic photovoltaics. In September 2006, she joined the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. She moved to the Okinawa Institute of Technology Graduate University in Japan in 2021.  

Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Carnegie Mellon, United States

Kris Matyjaszewski is J.C. Warner University Professor of Natural Sciences and director of Center for Macromolecular Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He prepares advanced materials for biomedical, environmental and energy-related applications. In 1994 he discovered Cu-mediated atom transfer radical polymerization, commercialized in 2004 in US, Japan and Europe. He has co-authored >1,200 publications, (180,000 citations, h-index 204) and 68 US patents. He is a member of National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences and European, Australian, Polish Academies of Sciences. He received 2023 NAS Award in Chemical Sciences, 2017 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry, 2015 Dreyfus Prize in Chemical Sciences, 2011 Wolf Prize in Chemistry, 2009 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, and eleven honorary degrees.

Julien Nicolas, Université Paris-Saclay, France

Julien Nicolas received his PhD degree in 2005 from the University Pierre and Marie Curie (Paris, France), where he studied nitroxide-mediated polymerization and emulsion polymerization. After a postdoctoral position at the University of Warwick (Coventry, UK) on polymer-protein bioconjugates, he obtained in 2007 a permanent CNRS researcher position at Institut Galien Paris-Saclay (Châtenay-Malabry, France) and got promoted Director of Research at CNRS in 2016. His current research activities lie in advanced macromolecular synthesis and in the design of innovative polymer-based nanomedicines, in particular polymer nanoparticles and polymer prodrug nanocarriers for anticancer therapy. He serves as Associate Editor for Chemistry of Materials (ACS) and is part of the Editorial Advisory Board of ACS Macro Letters (ACS), Macromolecules (ACS) and Polymer Chemistry (RSC). He received the 2016 SCF/GFP award, the 2017 Polymer Chemistry Lectureship award, the 2017 Novacap Prize of the Academy of Science and the 2018 Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules Young Investigator Award.

Javier Read de Alaniz, University of California Santa Barbara, United States

Javier Read de Alaniz is the director of the NSF BioPACIFIC Materials Innovation Platform, Associate Director of the California NanoSystems Institute and a member of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC Santa Barbara since 2009. Javier received his B.S. degree from Fort Lewis College in 1999 where he conducted undergraduate research under the direction of Professor William R. Bartlett. He obtained his Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Tomislav Rovis at Colorado State University in 2006. His doctoral research focused on asymmetric catalysis. Javier then moved to California, where he worked in the area of total synthesis with Professor Larry E. Overman at the University of California, Irvine. During that time, he was the recipient of the University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Ben Zhong Tang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China

Ben Zhong TANG is a Presidential Chair Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. He is a Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. His team is working on polymer chemistry, materials science and theranostic systems. His papers have been cited >161,000 times, with a h-index of 176. He has been listed as a Highly Cited Researcher in both areas of Chemistry and Materials Science since 2014. He has received many awards, including National Natural Science Award (1st class) in 2017, Nano Today Award in 2021 and Biomaterials Global Impact Award in 2023. He is serving as Editor-in-Chief of Aggregate published by Wiley.

Helen Tran, University of Toronto, Canada

Dr. Tran is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Chemistry (co-appointed in the Department of Chemical Engineering). She was an Intelligence Community postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University under the mentorship of Prof. Zhenan Bao in the Chemical Engineering Department, where she worked on stretchable and biodegradable electronics. She received her BS in Chemistry with a minor in Chemical Engineering from the University of California—Berkeley in 2009, conducting undergraduate research with Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu (Electrical Engineering, Berkeley) and Prof. Christopher Schuh (Material Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology). In the two subsequent years, Dr. Tran was a post-baccalaureate fellow and Scientific Engineering Assistant in Dr. Ronald Zuckermann’s research group at the Molecular Foundry at Berkeley National Labs, exploring the self-assembly of biomimetic polymers into 2D nanosheets. She completed her PhD at Columbia University in 2016 under the supervision of Prof. Luis Campos as a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate fellow, broadly investigating hierarchical ordering and periodic patterning in block copolymer systems. To date, she has been awarded the Agilent Cary Recognition for Scientific Innovation Award, the Dorothy Shoichet Women Faculty in Science Award of Excellence, International Center for Materials Research fellowship, and George Pegram Award. Also, she was selected as a AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador for her outreach endeavors, leading to media opportunities such as being featured on the CBS TV show Mission Unstoppable and on the Girl Scouts Cadette Badge Workbook for Exploring STEM Careers. Dr. Tran has been committed to scientific outreach, endorses communication among interdisciplinary disciplines, and continually strives to become a supportive mentor. 

Charlotte Williams, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Charlotte K. Williams FRS is a professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Associate Head of Department (Research) in Oxford Chemistry. She is an EPSRC Established Career Research Fellow. She heads-up a research group investigating polymerisation catalysis and polymer chemistry with a particular focus on improving polymer sustainability. Her work involves close collaboration with scientists and engineers in both academic and industrial laboratories. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a fellow of Academia Europea. Her work has been recognised by the 2022 Royal Society Leverhulme Medal for Applied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, 2021RSC Tilden Medal, an OBE (2020) for Services to Chemistry, 2019 Macro Group Medal and the 2018 Otto Roelen Medal of DeChema.
From 2003-2016, Charlotte was an academic in the Chemistry department at Imperial College London. Earlier in her career, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Cambridge University (2002-2003), working with Andrew Holmes FRS and Richard Friend FRS (Organometallic polymers for electronics), and at the University of Minnesota (2001-2002) working with Bill Tolman and Marc Hillmyer (zinc catalysts for lactide polymerisation). She obtained her BSc and PhD from Imperial College London, the latter supervised by Vernon Gibson FRS and Nick Long on ethene polymerisation catalysis.

Brent Sumerlin, University of Florida, United States

Brent Sumerlin is the George Bergen Butler Chair in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Florida. He received his undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University and later earned his PhD in Polymer Science & Engineering at the University of Southern Mississippi. After serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor/Postdoctoral Research Associate at Carnegie Mellon University, he began a faculty position at Southern Methodist University before moving to the University of Florida. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the recipient of a number of awards, including the Hanwha-Total IUPAC Award and the UF Doctoral Dissertation Mentoring/Advising Award.

Abstract Submission

Poster abstracts

Posters are displayed throughout the meeting, both in-person and virtually. As this symposium is being planned as a hybrid event we will be using a dedicated online poster platform to show all posters.

*Online poster abstract submission has been extended to 17th September.

Poster presenters who are attending the symposium in-person will also need to print and display their poster physically. If your poster is accepted for this event, you will receive an email from us with further information for those attending in-person and inviting you log on to the poster platform where you will be able to upload a PDF of your poster. 

Additional information

All poster abstracts will be reviewed and authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within about 4 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. Please ensure you provide the details of the presenting author. 

Planning your trip

We encourage delegates who are planning to attend events in person to arrange suitable travel and accommodation insurance, which should include cover for the postponement or cancellation of travel caused by regulations and guidelines relating to Covid-19. We also recommend considering flexible travel and accommodation booking options where possible. 

In-person registration includes:
  • Attendance at all scientific sessions
  • Live interaction with delegates attending virtually
  • Attendance at the poster session and access to the online poster gallery
  • Refreshments throughout the meeting
  • Access to recordings of all scientific sessions post-event
  • Please note accommodation is not included in the in-person registration fee.
Virtual registration includes:​
  • Attendance at all scientific sessions via the Royal Society of Chemistry’s virtual conference platform
  • Live interaction with delegates attending in-person and other virtual delegates
  • Access to the online poster gallery and exhibitor/sponsor virtual rooms
  • Access to recordings of all scientific sessions post-event
In-person registration fees are as follows (subject to VAT at the prevailing rate):
Early-bird +VAT Standard +VAT
RSC Member* £180 £200
Non-member** £200 £220
Student RSC member* £100 £120
Student non-member £120 £140
Guest £100 £100

All prices quoted do not include VAT, which is added during registration at the prevailing rate in the UK

Virtual registration fees are as follows (subject to VAT at the prevailing rate):
Online +VAT
RSC Member* £40
Non-member** £50
Student RSC member* £20
Student non-member £30

All prices quoted do not include VAT, which is added during registration at the prevailing rate in the UK

* If you are a Royal Society of Chemistry member and wish to register for this meeting, please select the member option on the online registration page. You will need to enter your membership number.

**For non-member registrants, affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry until the end of 2023 is available, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event.

Student delegates

In order to encourage undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the symposium, a reduced conference fee is available for students. This fee applies to those undertaking a full-time course for a recognised degree or a diploma at a university or equivalent institution.


The Royal Society of Chemistry is keen to encourage and enable as many people as possible to attend our events, to benefit from the networking opportunities and the chance to hear talks from leaders in the field. If you would like to discuss accessibility, please contact us to discuss your requirements so that we can enable your attendance.

Terms and Conditions for Events run by the Royal Society of Chemistry


Researcher development grant

If you are an RSC member and a PhD student or postdoctoral researcher based at a higher education or research institution you are eligible to apply for a Researcher development grant.

This grant can provide up to £500 towards activities that will develop your skills and experience as a researcher, which includes participation at conferences, either in-person or virtual.

Applications are processed monthly, with the deadline for each round being the last day of the month, and decisions being sent out by the 21st of the following month. Researcher development grants can be applied for in addition to Grants for Carers and Assistance Grants.

Grants for carers

Grants for carers have been introduced following the Royal Society of Chemistry Breaking the barriers report where 78% of chemists working in UK academia felt that managing parenting and/or caring responsibilities has an impact on women’s retention and progression. This fund is not limited to women scientists and welcomes applications from anyone with caring responsibilities. These grants have been supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemists’ Community Fund.

You can apply for up to a maximum of £1000/year to assist with additional financial costs that you incur for care usually provided by you whilst you attend a chemistry related meeting, conference or workshop or a professional development event.

Caring responsibilities are wide and varied, and so each application will be individually assessed, examples of applications that we will consider include:
  • paying for extra home help or nursing care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • additional medical/respite care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • travel expenses for a relative to travel with you to care for dependents whilst you attend a meeting or event
  • paying for extended hours with a care worker/childminder/play scheme to cover time when you will arrive home later than normal.
You are eligible to apply if: 
  • you are a chemist
  • you will incur additional caring expenses whilst attending a chemistry-related meeting, conference, event or workshop or a professional development event
  • you will use these funds to cover the cost of care that you usually provide 
  • you are based in the UK or Ireland or if not, you will normally have held three years RSC membership (past or current).
Sponsorship & supporting organisations
A selection of sponsorship opportunities are available for companies who would like to promote their activities at the 2023 Chemical Science Symposium.

A sponsorship menu document is available to download from this page with more details and prices.

Please note that exhibition spaces are limited, spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

If you would like more information about sponsoring the 2023 Faraday Discussion series, please contact the Commercial Sales Department at the Royal Society of Chemistry on Sponsorship Menu
The Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA, United Kingdom

This event is a hybrid event. For those attending in-person, venue details are as below. Virtual attendance will take place via the Royal Society of Chemistry’s virtual conference platform. For details of what’s included in virtual and in-person attendance, please see the registration section.
We are actively planning to hold this event in a hybrid format. Should the event move to be held in virtual-only format, any in-person delegate registrations will be refunded for the difference between in-person and virtual registration fees.
Accommodation is not included in the registration fee.

Ellis Salsby run an accommodation booking service, if you would like any assistance please use the link provided.

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