This week SCI (Society of Chemical Industry) has been proud to support #BlackInChem Week again – a global annual event to celebrate the work of Black people studying and working in chemistry related areas.
The week also promotes the new generation of Black chemists as they work to address many of society’s global challenges through science and innovation. This comes at a time when out of the UK’s 10,560 science professors, only around 65 are Black (as at 2018-19, from the Higher Education Statistics Agency).
Founded in 2020 in the United States, BlackInChem Week connects chemists across the world with opportunities and networks to promote the career progression of Black chemists. The goal is to amplify and support scientists of the African diaspora around the world within chemistry and adjacent fields.
Sharon Todd, SCI CEO said:
“Diversity is key to ensuring innovative thinking and at SCI so we are pleased to be joining industry and academia to further the work of Black chemists and scientists. We are working with members and partners to share areas of good practice and discuss blocks to career progression. Such initiatives are important to attract – and retain – excellent professionals in industry. The figures shown the downward trend in career progression for Black chemists and the sector must work to reverse this.”
Damilola Adebayo, formulated materials development chemist at Scott Bader, is part of the team running the UK #BlackInChem Week. He said:
“As a corporate partner of SCI, Scott Bader is pleased the Society is asking its members about what they are doing to make a difference for Black scientists. We were glad to report our sponsorship of Luyanda Mbongwa, for example, who had just completed his second year at South Africa’s University of Kwazulu-Natal when he was awarded a Scott Bader bursary to finish his studies. In 2020 he joined Scott Bader as a full time chemist at the Hammersdale site”.
Several SCI Corporate Partners have shown their support for this programme and have shared examples of where they are working to support Black Chemists and Engineers across their organisations. For example, SCI Corporate Partner Johnson Matthey’s employee led Black Employee Network runs a monthly showcase of Black talent coupled with their reverse mentoring programme and community outreach to grow Black talent in their pipeline and encourage greater widening of the talent pool.
For more information on the week’s events, please visit the #BlackInChem website