I was a judge as part of an RSC event in Shanghai – a competition for young chemists to present the projects that they are working on. It was impressive. It’s important that young people are interested in chemistry so that we have the next generation of chemists who will drive innovation as well as promote chemistry to the world.
Managing director of the Shanghai Campus at Huntsman
Membership classification: Fellow
Dr Enshan Sheng has worked in the polyurethane business for many years and has a strong belief that chemistry holds innovative solutions to global challenges.
Enshan pursued his passion for chemistry when he chose to study for his BSc and Masters in China. On completion of his PhD in Loughborough, he worked for Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in Singapore, carrying out extensive work within their polyurethane business. It was then that he became a member of the RSC. In 1999 ICI and its polyurethane business were acquired by Huntsman.
Still, with Huntsman, Enshan works at their Shanghai Campus in China. “Most of my work is managing the Asia Pacific Technology Centre and the Huntsman campus where we employ more than 700 people.”
When asked about the RSC’s impact on his career, Enshan lists some of the benefits of being an RSC member. For example, he values the ability to connect with other RSC members to better use chemistry in innovative ways.
The information I can get through the RSC website is very useful,” says Enshan, pointing to relevant sources such as articles, books, presentations and information on markets for different technologies. “I like being able to connect with other members no matter where they are. In the last few years it has become difficult to socialise due to the pandemic so we have been connecting virtually.
Enshan adds that he would like to see further networking opportunities for members outside of virtual meetings. “Seminars, international conferences and even just face-to-face meetings can help with promoting long-term sustainability for China by giving members opportunities to connect with each other.”
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While he hopes for more in-person RSC events in China, Enshan also explains how the online RSC member group helps him with his work. “Whenever I have a problem, I can reach out to other RSC members through our WeChat.” He recalls one situation two years ago: “I went to a school to promote chemistry and another RSC member provided me with an amazing visual presentation for it.”
Enshan explains that this mutual support often leads to the development of strong relationships.
I have made great friends with some of the professors from Fudan University and Jiaotong University in Shanghai. And this was only made possible through my membership with the RSC.
And it’s not just professionals who benefit, students also have a lot to gain. “Being a member of the RSC shows that you have done well in chemistry and certainly allows for more career opportunities.” Enshan highlights the upper hand that students gain. “It also allows you to meet other RSC members who are well-known within the chemicals industry which does give you a networking advantage.
Enshan is passionate about promoting chemistry’s role in solving the world’s problems. He admits that chemistry doesn’t always enjoy a favourable reputation with the public due to an association with pollution, but adds that he feels this is changing for the better: “People are starting to realise that chemistry holds innovative solutions to facing global challenges.”