As you’re reading this, I bet you’ve also read some of our Reactions interviews. In amongst the ‘Desert Island Discs’/lifestyle questions is number 3: How can chemists best contribute to the world at large? The answers to this weighty question are always fascinating and quite wide ranging.
Now, the Royal Society of Chemistry (the UK’s professional body and learned society for chemists – yes, they did just try to rename the LHC) is trying to put together a roadmap to answer the question – or at least how they prioritise their output to help achieve such a goal. The process has been going on since March, and is now in its second online consultation period.
Anyone – not just RSC members, but any chemistry stakeholder – can register at the website and get their thoughts taken on board.
The thing that strikes me is that the level of detail is pretty impressive. Each of the seven main themes (such as energy, water, public engagement and trust) is further broken down into subthemes, which are then taken down to the nitty-gritty. For instance, picking the first option each time: Energy:Biofuels:Additives to maximise biofuel efficiency group.
After another round of online consultation in November, the final report will be submitted to the RSC General Assembly before the roadmap is launched in December and implementation begins. It looks as if the RSC is going to a serious amount of effort to make sure it’s going in the right direction – I’ll be interested to see what the outcomes are in December. (Although hopefully in a very condensed form – the ‘summary report’ of the first phase is 90 pages!)
Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)