8 June 2020

Making SCIence happen in a 2-metre world

Organised by:

SCI and proudly supported by the Chemistry Council Innovation Committee

Free Online Webinar - 14:00 (BST)

Registration Closed

This event is no longer available for registration.


COVID-19 has changed our world. In late March it closed many aspects of our lives, not least of all driving many of us to realise the vision of “working from home”. However, many forms of work cannot be done at home. Research and manufacturing have to be done in laboratories and in close cooperation with other scientists and engineers.  


As governments start to consider ending lockdowns, scientists and researchers are keen to get back to work, and their work is critical to address both the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.  


But how best to do this in a safe but effective way, and what new procedures or guidelines should be put in place?  


This webinar aims to address the challenges and risks that are anticipated with returning to typical environments for chemistry-using businesses. The psychological effects and how best to ensure creativity as a consequence of maintaining social distancing measures will also be discussed. Any contributions on these topics are welcomed during the Q&A.  



Attendees will be researchers and scientists from a wide variety of companies, institutions and universities who operate in either a laboratory, research or manufacturing environment or who are HR professionals seeking advice on the best practices to adopt, HSE professionals, government and regulatory advisors.

Programme (BST time)
Monday 8 June
Welcome and Introduction to the challenge
Dr Jonathan Hague, VP Global R&D Science and Technology, Unilever
How we already manage risk in a laboratory environment
Steve Turner, Chief Scientist, SABIC
Lab workers are already surrounded by a range of hazards (including biohazards) and potential risks and we use a hierarchy of control measures to eliminate or mitigate these threats. In this context, Coronavirus is a new hazard requiring different control measures.
How we need to evolve in a larger laboratory environment 
Dr Graeme Cruickshank, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, CPI
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the way large laboratories operate and has introduced the challenge of de-risking a new environment.  Adaptations to laboratories and by those working in R&D has been a temporary fix, but how do we move forward with these adaptations whilst maintaining a safe and efficient working environment for the future.
The specific challenges of the SME environment
Dr Will Barton, Non-Executive Chairman Oxford Biotrans & Director NiTech Solutions
My current experience is largely with small, University spin-out companies which are still all <20 people.  In this short talk, I have tried to draw together common issues faced by these companies in doing business in the current and the emerging, very different environment, and how we are addressing them.
The autonomous mobile robotic chemist
Professor Andrew Cooper, Director, Materials Innovation Factory
This presentation will discuss the autonomous mobile robotic chemist that we have built recently in Liverpool, and the scope for boosting productivity in labs while social distancing; for example, to get a 10 times productivity gain while also reducing physical lab occupancy for researchers by a factor of 10.
Psychological aspects of working in a 2-metre world
Dr Adrian Atkinson, Founder and Chairman, Human Factors International
The two areas of psychological interest are firstly, behavioural adaptation to a 2-metre world, and secondly, the complexity of working remotely. The complexity comes about from the individual differences of the employees, the nature of the job tasks, the leadership styles and the culture of the organisation.
Maintaining creativity and innovation in this new world
Dr Andy Burnett, CEO, Knowinnovation
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with the opportunity to experiment with alternative ways to conduct scientific research. I will talk about some of the events that we have had to reimagine, and how organisations can take advantage of the current uncertainty.
Facilitated Q&A
Next steps and closing remarks

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