11 Jan 2016
Dr Lee Dingwall works at Johnson Matthey plc and joined SCI in 2006 when he was studying for his PhD. In 2015, Lee became an SCI Ambassador. He is also a member of the Membership Affairs Committee (MAC), as well as SCI's technical interest groups: Process Engineering and Environment, Health and Safety.
If you want to find out more about Lee or get in touch with him, you can contact him via the Members' Directory (you will need to sign in to view). If you need help searching the directory please click on the how-to guide below.
When and why did you become a member of SCI?
SCI was introduced to me when I was at university studying for my PhD in Chemistry. I was focussed on working in the chemical industry after completing my studies and I felt that the multidisciplinary nature of SCI would provide an opportunity to access a wider network than I had available from my RSC membership.
Why did you decide to get involved in an SCI Committee?
As with most things, what you get out of membership of a learned society is proportional to what you are prepared to put in. I was very grateful for the opportunity to support the society and have a hand in shaping the landscape of the science industry across the UK and beyond. I feel that working with SCI compliments my professional development and a number of skills used on a committee cannot be developed doing R&D in a lab, and quite limited generally especially for those early in their professional career such as myself.
How do your SCI activities reflect your personal/professional interests?
I feel that working with SCI compliments my professional interests. My role with Johnson Matthey Catalysts involves identifying and developing process improvements and measurement approaches for the automotive catalyst manufacturing process. This role inherently benefits from a broader awareness of similar and other industries where equivalent challenges exist.
What has driven your continued involvement?
MAC is a committee with a lot of enthusiastic energetic people all working for the common goal to improve SCI's position to better support its members' network. This gives me a lot of pride towards the society and within my own discipline. This enthusiasm spills over into my professional work and reinforces my love for science.
How has being involved in SCI activities impacted on your career?
Attending evening lectures and discussions afterwards has been quite insightful in developing my appreciation of important challenges facing the science community. These events have sometimes widened my network. Members forums have helped develop skills in running breakout sessions and chairing large discussions.
How do you think that your contribution has helped to shape your Group or SCI as a whole?
With a multidisciplinary society it is important to have committees that are representative of the vast SCI community. As an early career industrial chemist in a FTSE 100 company, I provide constructively critical viewpoints on the needs of this subset. I have co-organised a successful group officers conference supporting the latest Landmark Programme initiative, led question and answer panels, and judged science competitions. I am looking forward to more exciting opportunities.
By being involved on a committee, what opportunities have been presented to you which you would not have otherwise had?
The opportunity to network and work on projects with a broader group than normally available to me. Putting together a proposal to tackle poignant global issues on food supply certainly doesn't fit in my normal day job description and gives me something unusual to talk about with my peers.
How do you balance your SCI commitments with your job and workload?
Having a busy home life with one young child and one on the way, together with a demanding job that requires international travel, can sometimes leave you needing 8 days in a week. It helps when SCI commitments align with work interests, however generally spreading the SCI workload with enthusiastic SCI peers and a little bit of day to day time management allow momentum to be maintained with society projects.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt by being an SCI committee member?
Always keep a dynamic and open mind.
What advice would you offer to anyone thinking about becoming involved in an SCI Group or Standing Committee?
Gain support from your employer if in full time employment. Be prepared to get stuck in. Speak/work with as many people in SCI from opposite ends of the spectrum of disciplines as possible. The greatest value will come from networking outside of conventional circles this is where SCI's strength lies.