The sum is greater than the parts

SCI has always recognised the benefits and value of working together with similar bodies. The Colloids Group and MacroGroupUK, both collaborations with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), provide good examples of the successful alignment of our joint interests. SCI’s current strategy plan states that the Society will seek to work collaboratively and in this tough economic environment, there is even more value in ‘sticking together’.

SUSCHEM UK was formed in 2008 and is constituted by the executive leaders of SCI, the RSC, the Institution of Chemical Engineers, the Chemical Industries Association, The Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and the Biosciences KTN. Its aim is to encourage and coordinate activities relating to sustainable chemistry and industrial solutions. Reciprocal event deals are now being introduced among market groups. SUSCHEM UK feeds into SUSCHEM Europe where the UK ‘voice’ is heard loud and clear.

An informal alliance has recently been established between SCI, the Society of Dyers & Colourists (SDC) and the Oil & Colour Chemists Association (OCCA). These two organisations have very similar chartered objectives to SCI within specific areas of chemical science and industrial application. This informal alliance has a collective membership of nearly 10,000 which gives plenty of scope to combine some member activities and provide reciprocal access to each other’s conferences, meetings and publications.

OCCA has already started to use SCI’s Belgrave Square premises for some of its governance meetings and upcoming AGM. Its group activity alignment with SCI’s Lipids and Colloid and Surface Chemistry Groups, is also being explored. The Indian branch of the SDC has now moved into SCI India’s office in Mumbai, and the sharing of overheads, some administration and a comfortable base, will provide both cost savings and collaborative strength.

SCI members will be aware that there is an imminent plan to merge the Textile Institute (TI) into SCI. Subject to the final approvals from the governance boards of each organisation, the TI will join SCI. Its 2600 members, while retaining TI’s identity, will join SCI’s 5,250-strong membership.

However, regardless of the merger prospect, the TI will be joining in with the activities and the objectives of the informal alliance with the SDC and OCCA; again strengthening our collaborative ability, and resulting potential for interaction. Perhaps the next logical step will be to establish a federation to support this group of similar organisations and to harness the substantial scope, influence and opportunity it will undoubtedly provide.

The SCI America International Group also pursues a collaborative strategy and has, for many years, enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) based in Philadelphia. More recently, the CHF has provided the back office resources for SCI America, providing benefit to both organisations.

Our global relationship has also been developing exceptionally during the last two years with the American Chemical Society (ACS). Our joint venture with the ACS on ‘Global innovation imperatives’ (Gii) aims to create community and knowledge transfer to stimulate global scientific innovation that meets societal imperatives. During the last twelve months, we have staged three Gii meetings focussed on water, located in New Orleans, New Delhi and Shanghai. More are being planned, and the details will appear on the SCI and Gii websites.

At the signing of the American Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776, Benjamin Franklin is quoted as having replied to a comment by Hancock – ‘Yes we must, indeed all hang together, as most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.’ I am sure that Franklin would have approved of our strategy.

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