Coronavirus update from SCI

C&I Issue 4, 2020

The Covid-19 outbreak is the definitive event of this generation. Although far from over it is likely that repercussions will reverberate around the world for decades to come. The virus outbreak moving out of China has resulted in a global pandemic and government responses are on an unprecedented scale.

Within a matter of weeks significant business have become technically insolvent, there have been mass lay-offs of roles previously considered to be stable, and the lock-downs are forcing material changes to our lives and to consumer behaviour. It is likely that some we will come out of this more robust and stronger to meet future challenges, but this will be at considerable cost.

It is great to see chemists and the chemical industry globally stepping up to lead the develop­ment of a vaccine and to provide key products and services. The industry has provided materi­als to support the production of ventilators, it has at very short notice repurposed production to produce hand sanitisers and other disinfectants, and it is now tackling the shortage of medical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It will also provide analytical and testing capability, alongside the reagents required to support the extensive testing required, and it will provide a multitude of other products and services that will be required as and when countries are looking to return to normal life.

In the mid term it may be that the instant rebuilding of localised supply chains required in order to meet critical products during this crisis becomes a more significant trend. This will reverse decades of globalisation of industrial supply chains, in which the industry has been a major player. The impacts could be significant.

Government lockdowns have forced people to assess their priorities and to recognise that they can live with less, and this, coupled with the inevitable global recession, will trigger a reduction in consumer demand for luxury items potentially reducing demand across some product lines.

How these trends will play out will take some time to be seen however the importance of this industry, its products and its people will be significantly more apparent around the world than it has been for some time.

Most impressively the industry is showing its ability to innovate at speed in a crisis, and at rates previously considered to be not feasible. Should this rate of innovation continue post this crisis it could present the opportunity for the next industrial revolution to be delivered at a pace previously not seen and that presents an interesting opportunity – both for the industry and for society.

SCI response

In these exceptional times our pri­orities are the welfare of members, staff and our community, continu­ity of services to ensure our com­munity continues to work through this next period, and to support any government responses to the Covid-19 outbreak.

To that end SCI has supported requests from governments to identify and link up companies who are able to help support the fight against COVID-19.

In addition we are seeking to adapt our services to ensure our community, who are so important to addressing the crisis, can con­tinue to operate.

SCI Conferences and Events

SCI runs a busy conference and event programme. In light of the current situation all face-to-face conferences and events from March to the end of August 2020 have been postponed, with new dates either later this year or in 2021.

Details of these can be found on our website at or by contacting the conference team via email at: conferences@ We would like to thank our organising committees, speakers and partners for their excellent collaboration in managing these changes at very short notice.

At present our conference schedule as of Autumn 2020 is proceeding as planned and details of the conference programme can be found on our website. However this situation may change so please do check the website for any developments.

Launch of new online Webinars and Lectures

Our community is keen to continue working so we will be launching an online conference and lecture programme in the next few weeks to support them. Details will be posted on the website but you can also register your interest by contacting the conference team via email at:


Unfortunately we may be in a situation where we are unable to send out hard copy versions of C&I for several months due to printers and distributors around the world being unable to operate. However, I would like to remind you that C&I is already available in several electronic forms as it can already be accessed via the C&I app or via the website. In addition, we will be launching new electronic formats, these being a new searchable PDF version and a flip-book version, so that readers can select their medium of choice during this difficult period.

Once we are able to produce and distribute hard copies then these will resume. If you have any problems or would like to discuss these new electronic forms with us, please contact the team at

SCI Members and SCI HQ

The SCI staff team has now moved to homeworking until further notice, however we continue to work and to provide services to our members. You can contact us as you would normally by email and phone, and continue to use our digital services as usual on

We are keen to look at whether new services are required, so if you need help or have ideas, please contact the membership team via: We apologise for any disruption during this difficult time and trust you will bear with us as we adapt our activities and services.

Finally, please continue to follow government advice wherever you are around the world, to keep yourself and others safe and well, especially those most vulnerable. We wish all of our community the very best during this difficult time. 

Become an SCI Member to receive events discounts

Join SCI