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These monthly newsletters aim to keep all member networks updated with news describing how to get involved, as well as information of relevant events, services and new initiatives from the RSC Networks team. If you require further information about any of the items in the newsletter, or have any comments or ideas for content please contact the Networks team.

Committee members and representatives are encouraged to disseminate this information, as appropriate, to colleagues and other members. E-alert request forms can be downloaded from the Useful Forms and Documents page. Up to date lists of members can be obtained by emailing the Networks Team.
 

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This month Hassun El-Zafar, our Public Engagement Officer, discusses the difference between objectives and outputs when planning outreach and public engagement activities. What do you want to achieve? How do you think you can do it? Share your thoughts with Hassun via email at zafarh@rsc.org or on Twitter @HassunElZafar.


We’ve now lost track of our time in lockdown. But as I sit at my newly made workspace at home, facing directly into our front room window, it’s time to write another blog article.

Over the last months we’ve been relooking at how we do public engagement, what we want to achieve and how we can achieve this within the time, resources and new normal we find ourselves. It is indeed a strange time, but also one that demands creativity, imagination and ideas, and requires us to not just think outside the box, but to make a whole new box, or to throw the box away and be radical, brave and bold.

Public engagement thrives when boundary-pushing ideas give audiences experiences that are memorable, enjoyable and/or empowering. I recently did a masterclass with Aaron Sorkin on story ideas, and I think some of it is applicable for this blog. Sorkin states that there’re two parts to having an idea, the first is knowing what an idea is. Something as broad as “chemistry of food” isn’t an idea, but a concept. It’s helpful in giving a sense of direction, but it’s not an idea yet.

Something like “chemistry of food” becomes an engagement idea when we start thinking of the objectives that we want to achieve and the outputs that we use to do to help us achieve this.

This brings me to the purpose of this article: to talk all matters outputs and outcomes – what they are, how they often blur into each other and how effective public engagement can make the most of them being clearly defined and differentiated.

I like to think of objectives in the same frame as what organisations call “visions”. The objective is the purpose behind the project, the reasons why it needs to be done and the motivation for why people should get involved. On the other hand, outcomes are what those same organisations would call “working plans”: what you’re going to set out to do and the mechanisms through which your objectives will be met.

I understand why the two can get confused, from experience it is usually due to one of the two being defined very weakly. Successful organisations have bold objectives, for example, Nike’s objective, even in its early days was never simply to sell running shoes, but rather Phil Knight (co-founder of Nike) wanted to make ordinary people feel like Olympic winning athletes. It sounds impossible, but it’s that vision that propelled Nike into being a world-renowned sports brand. The selling of shoes, signing of sponsorship deals (e.g. Air Jordans) and expansion into attire were all outputs in achieving that one objective.

Let’s go back to the “chemistry of food” idea:

You want people to engage with the Chemistry of Food… Why?
Because I live in a food desert filled with liquor stores, fast food restaurants and vacant lots. The obesity rate is five times what it is in a more affluent area just eight miles away.

I’m hooked, you got a plan?
To install a vegetable garden on the strip between the footpath and the street that the city owns but the resident has to maintain.

Ok, but how’s that going to address the problem?
The garden becomes a tool for the education, a tool for the transformation of my neighbourhood. To change the community, you have to change the composition of the soil. We are the soil. Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city. Plus you get strawberries.

Sounds great, and strawberries too? Sold!

Now, I’ve obviously simplified this. But this is actually a real idea by Ron Finley, AKA the Gangster Gardener from South Central LA; his brilliant TED talk can be seen here.

Ron’s objective was to make his community understand the importance of healthy eating and the value of food production. His outputs included changing old green sidewalk grass areas into fruit and vegetable gardens, abandoned car lots into gardening schools, old trailers into farm markets, and much more.

Note, each output fits into being a mechanism into achieving the overarching objective, which is his source of motivation, the reason why he started his project and continues to pursue it every day.

What I love is that he thought outside the box, started small, learnt more about his audience and continued to build ways to better and better engage his community. His project still runs today and he’s become a community and global role model (and he didn’t even need a camera to do it).

So on your next outreach project, think about your motivation and be bold and aspirational like Ron. I think the world needs creative engagement projects like his more than ever.



This is our fourth blog article from Hassun, you can read the others in the series here:
  1. Know Your Audience 
  2. Co-Create, Co-Create, Co-Create
  3. What now?


 
Posted by Aurora Walshe on Jul 1, 2020 11:00 AM BST
Dear colleagues,

Welcome to the July Networks Newsletter, our way to keep our member network committee members and representatives up to date with RSC activities, services and new initiatives.

This month’s Newsletter contains:
  • Upcoming Deadlines
  • Upcoming Events
  • Spotlight: Outputs ≠ Outcomes
  • Communications from across the RSC
 
Upcoming Deadlines
 
01 July
07 July
09 July
13 July
28 July
30 July
31 July

10 August
Deadline for Local Section and Interest Group Top-Up Fund applications
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 16 July to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 16 July
July deadline for Outreach Fund small grants
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 6 August to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 6 August
Deadline for Local Section inserts into September Chemistry World issue
August deadline for Outreach Fund small grants
 
Upcoming Events
 
02 July
10 July
16 July
06 August

20 August
29-30 September
Member e-alerts
Effective communication with Journal editors (8am BST / 4pm JST)
Member e-alerts
Member e-alerts
Member e-alerts
Chemical Science Symposium 2020 - now being held online
 
Spotlight: Public engagement – Outputs ≠ Outcomes

What do you want to achieve? How do you think you can do it?

This month Hassun El-Zafar, our Public Engagement Officer, discusses the difference between objectives and outputs when planning outreach and public engagement activities.

Read the full article on the Networks Newsletter blog, and if you have any questions or suggestions for public engagement activities please let Hassun know!

Read the full article

 
Communications from across the RSC

Here are updates about events and activities from our Outreach, Careers, Events, International, and Research & Innovation teams, as well as the Chemists’ Community Fund and RSC Publishing.

Volunteer recognition award winners announced
The 2020 Prizes and Awards winners were announced last week, and we would like to congratulate all of the volunteer recognition award winners!

Award for Exceptional Service
  • David Evans
    For outstanding service to the Royal Society of Chemistry through the activities of our inorganic and biochemical member-led communities.
  • William Griffith
    For outstanding service to the Royal Society of Chemistry through our Historical Group and for advising on activities celebrating the history of the chemical sciences.
  • John Hepworth
    For outstanding service to the Royal Society of Chemistry through our Local Sections, governance committees and Board of Trustees.
  • Jackie Morton
    For outstanding service to the Royal Society of Chemistry through the activities of the Sheffield and District Local Section and the Atomic Spectroscopy Group.
Inspirational Committee Award Inspirational Member Award
  • John Dean
    For dedication to the planning, coordination and ongoing development of the Schools Analyst Competition.
  • Amanda Hardy
    For her dedication to the diversification of the committee and programmes of the Chilterns and Middlesex Local Section.
  • Steve Lancaster
    For dedication to the development of an analytical chemistry training programme in Africa.
  • Gemma Scotney
    For dedication to expanding the public engagement activities of the Kent Local Section.

We will be sharing more information about these great projects later in the year.

Explore the 2020 Prizes and Award winners gallery here


Celebrating the Analytical Division Award Winners
The 2020 Analytical Division Award winners have been announced and congratulations to the following:
  • Anne Bennett Memorial Award for Distinguished Service:
    Dr Mike Foulkes (University of Plymouth) for long-standing service to the RSC Analytical Division and the sustained promotion of analytical chemistry, particularly atomic spectroscopy.
  • Industrial Analytical Science Award:
    Dr Alex Shard (National Physical Laboratory) for pioneering accurate chemical measurements of surfaces and interfaces.
  • Joseph Black Award:
    Dr Anna Regoutz (University College London) for outstanding contributions to the development and application of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy in the area of electronic materials and devices.
  • Robert Boyle Prize for Analytical Science:
    Professor Kourosh Kalanter-Zadeh (University of New South Wales) for the development of commercialised ingestible sensors for gut disorders, gas sensors for pollutants and point-of-care biosensors.
  • Ronald Belcher Award:
    Ms Hayley Simon (University College London) for outstanding and innovative research on the conservation of Mary Rose iron cannonballs, which has produced unique insights to the field of conservation.
  • Theophilus Redwood Award:
    Professor Richard Brown (National Physical Laboratory) for excellence in theoretical and practical aspects of chemical measurement leading to the recent redefinition of the mole, and communication of these changes.

Find out more about our 2020 Prizes and Awards winners here


Help shape the next phase of our Division Review
You will be aware from previous communications that we are currently undertaking a review of our Divisions to ensure there is clarity over the function and purpose of the Divisions and to achieve their full potential. The main objectives of the Review are:
  • To define the purpose and function of the Divisions
  • To define the relationship between Divisions, interest groups and other RSC groups
  • To ensure staff fully understand the purpose and potential of divisions and can support them effectively
  • To review effectiveness of member engagement with the Divisions
  • To review the management of any financial responsibilities held within the Divisions
We will be inviting input from all members from 10 July, and we would like to encourage you, as our most engaged and active members, to tell us what you think - this is your opportunity to shape our recommendations for the Divisions and define the relationship between Divisions, Interest Groups and other RSC groups.

Please contact secretariat@rsc.org if you have any queries about the survey.

Have your say: Complete our survey between 10 and 17 July


Grants for Carers and Assistance Grants
We are pleased to share with you that in light of feedback we have received we have been able to extend the purpose of our Grants for Carers and Assistance Grants schemes to include:
  • Extra equipment that may be needed to work from home and/or home-school those you care for (maximum £500 total cost).
  • Specific assistance or support needed to attend an online meeting, conference, workshop, professional development or teaching responsibility as restrictions ease.
Eligibility criteria continue to be available on the funding webpages.


Additional redundancy support available for members
If you or your members are being affected by redundancy we offer a number of resources designed to help you navigate this challenging time

This includes our redundancy support page, which summarises how we can support you through 1:1 career consultations via phone or Zoom, a recorded webinar outlining practical information and advice and financial support via the Chemist’s Community Fund.

If you are being affected by redundancy then we'd encourage you to contact the Careers team via email (careers@rsc.org). They have significant experience in supporting members through career transitions.


 
Thank you for reading!

A tailored version of this Newsletter is sent to all member network committee members and International Representatives. Please get in touch with suggestions for what you would like included or feedback about what we've sent you!

Send us your feedback

Kind regards,

The Networks Team
Fiona, Aurora and Debbie

 
Posted by Aurora Walshe on Jul 1, 2020 11:00 AM BST
The current environment has seen a dramatic shift in the public attitudes to science and scientists, and has shown the importance of science engagement programmes. Hassun El-Zafar, our Public Engagement Officer, is wondering about the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on public engagement. Share your thoughts with Hassun via email at zafarh@rsc.org or on Twitter @HassunElZafar.


At 2am I wake up to have my pre-sunrise breakfast and prepare for my 16 hour-long fast for Ramadan. For billions of people across the globe Ramadan marks a time of community, solidarity and reflection. This year feels much stranger than any other; we are experiencing Ramadan under lockdown, which means family gatherings are not happening, evening meals with friends are cancelled, annual charity fundraising initiates cannot take place and community hubs like mosques across the world are closed.

One of the most remarkable things I’ve learned from this Ramadan is that despite the odds, the essence and spirit of Ramadan has been more alive than ever. My family have found creative ways of staying in touch with each other – most impressively, my Grandma learnt how to video call me every day without any assistance, a remarkable feat. Friends have taken it upon themselves to host weekly zoom quizzes, in which I’ve learned things about them I’d never known before. Local fundraisers and campaigners have started incredible local covid-19 community support groups, with numerous examples of community hubs becoming makeshift food banks, shelters and crisis alleviation centres.

Over the last few months some unprecedented (yep, I used that word…) things have taken place. The covid-19 pandemic has changed the public engagement landscape. That change is here, whether we like it or not. And just like Ramadan, an entire community needs to find new, creative and pioneering ways to keep the spirit and impact of public engagement activities alive.

Public engagement in science is now more important than ever, it is not mere coincidence that the communities most affected by the covid-19 pandemic globally are also the same communities that have been continually underserved and underrepresented within science engagement programmes. We must ask, what is the purpose of our public engagement if we cannot reach those who need it the most? What changes must we make to do this? How can we share practise across the sector?

Here at the Royal Society of Chemistry, we’ve already adapted our funding model to help organisations and individuals do exactly this. We created a rolling Outreach Fund application process and I’ll be curating a series of online webinars over the next few months to help share best practise and ideas across the sector. As ever, I’m always up for hearing your ideas of how public engagement can be done in our new circumstances to!

Stay safe and well, I’ll end this blog with a quote from my childhood reading of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, which I found incredibly fitting for the circumstances we find ourselves:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”




This is our third blog article from Hassun, you can read the others in the series here:
  1. Know Your Audience
  2. Co-Create, Co-Create, Co-Create
Posted by Aurora Walshe on Jun 1, 2020 1:30 PM BST
Dear colleague,

Welcome to the June Networks Newsletter, our way to keep our member network committee members and representatives up to date with RSC activities, services and new initiatives.

This month’s Newsletter contains:
  • Upcoming Deadlines
  • Upcoming Events
  • Spotlight: Public engagement – What now?
  • Communications from across the RSC
 
Upcoming Deadlines
 
 09 June
11 June
12 June
15 June
23 June
25 June
01 July
07 July
09 July
13 July
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 18 June to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 18 June
Deadline for completing the member network diversity data form
June deadline for Outreach Fund small grants
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 2 July to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 2 July
Deadline for Local Section and Interest Group Top-Up Fund applications
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 16 July to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 16 July
July deadline for Outreach Fund small grant
 
 
Upcoming Events
 
04 June
04 June
10 June
11 June
16 June

18 June
24 June
02 July
10 July
Member e-alerts
RSC ChemBio Desktop Seminar: Dr Russell Cox (12pm EST / 5pm BST)
School engagement training webinar (3pm-4pm BST)
OBC seminar and Meet the Editor (11:30am BST / 4pm IST)
School engagement training webinar (11am-12pm BST)

Member e-alerts
Announcement of RSC Prizes and Awards winners
Member e-alerts
Effective communication with Journal editors (8am BST / 4pm JST)
 
 
Spotlight: Public engagement – What now?

What does public engagement look like during a global pandemic?

This month Hassun El-Zafar, our Public Engagement Officer, talks to us about finding new, creative and pioneering ways to keep the spirit and impact of public engagement activities alive.

Read the full article on the Networks Newsletter blog, and if you have any questions or suggestions for virtual or online public engagement activities please let Hassun know!

Read Hassun’s blog article

 
Communications from across the RSC

Here are updates about events and activities from our Outreach, Careers, Events, International, and Research & Innovation teams, as well as the Chemists’ Community Fund and RSC Publishing.


Advice on events that you are hosting or planning for 2020
Last week Secretaries and Chairs received an email update on our plans and guidance in relation to UK office closures, events, and travel. This guidance reflects the most recent UK Government advice and responds to the queries and concerns we are hearing from our committee members and other volunteers, both within and outside the UK.

In line with current UK guidelines, we have cancelled all physical events until the end of August, and we would encourage all member networks to postpone or cancel physical events from 1 September to 31 December if they cannot be moved online, in line with the approach we have taken for all staff-led events and the closure of Burlington House.

Find out more on our Covid-19 support page


Updated Trust Deeds for member networks
Most of our committee Chairs should now have received the updated copies of the Trust Deed for your Local Section or Interest Group. The changes to the documents do not impact the purpose or operation of your committee or network. If your committee has not received a new document then we’re still working on it and will be in touch soon.

The review of RSC governance that took place a couple of years ago informed some changes to the By-laws resulting in a change in the numbering of all of the By-laws. The updated By-laws have been in place since the 2019 AGM. As the Trust Deeds refer to specific By-laws by number we needed to update them to ensure that the numbering was correct.



New e-alert templates for member networks
We are delighted to announce new e-alert templates for Local Section, Interest Group and AD Region e-alerts!

The Interest Group and Local Section templates have been designed to incorporate the new brand colours and will work with the social media avatars we shared with committees in May. The AD Region templates have been styled to coordinate with other Division communications.

We have created a new e-alert request form to work with the new templates. You can download it using the button below or find it and our updated "How to write an e-alert" guide on the Useful Forms and Documents page.

Download the new e-alert request form here


For information: Launch of a review of the RSC Divisions
In 2016 we undertook a Governance Review to ensure that our governance framework continued to be fit for purpose, and ensured the right level of support for strong stewardship and strategic planning for the future of the organisation.

The Review recommended that the role of Divisions be reviewed to provide clarity of function and ensure the full potential of the Divisions is achieved.

The Divisions Review will be managed by the governance office, with input from relevant internal staff via the establishment of a working group. An advisory group was formed in January 2020 to provide strategic guidance to staff throughout the review process. Group members are highly accomplished experts and leaders in our communities, able to offer high-quality, innovative advice and strategic thinking and evaluation.

The advisory group will work to meet the following objectives:
  • To define the purpose and function of the Divisions
  • To define the relationship between Divisions, Interest Groups and other RSC networks
  • To ensure staff fully understand the purpose and potential of divisions and can support them effectively
  • To review the effectiveness of member engagement with the Divisions
  • To review the management of any financial responsibilities held within the Divisions

A report will be prepared by the Division Review Advisory Group for the Member Communities Board, recommending opportunities for improvement, appropriate structural and operational changes and a timeframe for delivery. A survey will be performed later in the year to gather feedback on the current state of the Divisions.


Latest issue of Analytical Matters now available online
In the latest issue of Analytical Matters, the Royal Society of Chemistry Analytical Division Newsletter you will find information on:
  • Division Council Elections
  • CPD Resources including the latest AMC Technical Briefs
  • Support for individuals, researchers, educators and businesses
  • A virtual Schools’ Analyst Competition

Read the latest issue of Analytical Matters here


Reminder – complete diversity data monitoring form by 12 June
The Royal Society of Chemistry is committed to improving inclusion and diversity in the chemical sciences. In order to provide a full and accurate analysis of our membership and activities, and to ensure we continue to provide the best possible offering to our community, we are improving our diversity data monitoring processes.

We kindly ask that you complete our diversity data monitoring form following the link below. The form is recommended by our Inclusion and Diversity Committee and aligns our diversity data collection with current best practices in order to collect robust and coherent diversity data. Collection of consistent diversity data will enable us to have a clear understanding of the diversity of our activities, allow us to publicly report collated and anonymised data, and provides evidence to underpin decision-making for future activities and actions.

The form has a maximum of 16 questions and should take less than 5 minutes to complete. We thank you for your time in providing your responses.


Complete the survey by 12 June


RSC Prizes and Awards – winner announcement coming soon
We’re announcing the winners of our 2020 Prizes and Awards on our website and on social media on Wednesday 24 June.

Visit www.rsc.org on the day to see a gallery of all our winners, and find out more on our individual profile pages – including photo galleries, a summary of their research, and a Q&A. Use the sharing buttons on the profile pages to celebrate your friends, family and colleagues by email and on social media.

Keep an eye out on our social media channels for videos and photos of our winners throughout the day. You can follow #RSCAwards on Twitter or visit our Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram pages.



Our Outreach Fund remains open and welcome to applications
Our Outreach Fund provides financial support to members, individuals and organisations in order to enable them to run chemistry-based public and schools engagement activities.

We recognise that during this period the nature of projects and delivery mechanisms may need to be revised and that individuals and organisations may choose to use this period to either reflect and evaluate current activity or develop new initiatives.

In response to this and the changing needs of the community we are have relaxed our restrictions to funding, in particular those costs associated with salary and freelancers fees. In addition, to lower barriers to funding we have increased the upper limit of the small grant scheme to £5,000 and are considering applications for small grants on a monthly basis, our next deadline is Monday 15 June. Visit our website for further details on applying during this period or get in touch with the team.

Learn more about eligibility criteria and restrictions on our website


The RSC Careers Team – here to help in uncertain times
Some of you may be anxious about job stability, dealing with your career being on hold, or facing a redundancy situation. The RSC Careers Team is available to talk to members about their work, your professional development, or simply coping with an uncertain professional future. We are offering one-to-one career consultations by phone or video conference to Associates, Members and Fellows, so visit the Events page to book, or email careers@rsc.org to ask a question.

Find out more about our services at www.rsc.org/careers, including these upcoming webinars:
17 June – ChemCareers: An Introduction to Patents: What, when and how?
07 July –  Joliot-Curie webinar: Presenting Your Research
09 July –  ChemCareers: How to work with a recruitment agency


Upcoming online events from RSC Publishing

RSC Desktop Seminar: Dr Russell Cox
Thursday 4 June 2020, 12:00 EST/ 17:00 BST

Hosted by RSC Chemical Biology, join Dr Russell Cox, as he presents "Platforms for the generation and high-throughput screening of cyclic peptide libraries".

Learn more about RSC Chemical Biology Desktop Seminars and register here

Meet the Editor Online: Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry
Thursday 11 June 2020, 11:30 BST / 16:00 IST

Join Professor Santanu Mukherjee, IISc – Bangalore, and Associate Editor of OBC, and Dr. Katie Lim, Executive Editor of OBC,  for a 2-part Meet the Editor Online webinar featuring key scientific and publishing insights into peer review.

Register to meet the OBC editors by 10 June

Meet the Editor Online: Effective communication with Journal editors
Friday 10 July 2020, 08:00 BST / 16:00 JST

Join Professor Shu Seki, Kyoto University & Associate Editor, Materials Chemistry Frontiers and Dr. Wenjun Liu, Royal Society of Chemistry, Executive Editor, Materials Chemistry Frontiers for a Meet the Editor Online webinar sharing practical guidance that can help you establish efficient and clear dialogues with your editors.

Register to meet the editors by 9 July

 
Thank you for reading!

This Newsletter has been tailored to you, but the full version can be found on the Networks Newsletter blog. Please read the online version and get in touch with suggestions for what you would like included or feedback about what we've sent you!

Send us your feedback

Kind regards,

The Networks Team
Fiona, Aurora and Debbie


 
Posted by Aurora Walshe on Jun 1, 2020 1:30 PM BST
This month in the Spotlight Dr Michael Cowley from the University of Edinburgh has put together a guide for members who want to set up an online seminar series. You can find Michael’s Information for Speakers attached to this article, and additional resources available from the Networks team below. You can contact Dr Cowley through the Main Group Seminar website or via networks@rsc.org.


In normal circumstances, spring brings with it the beginning of the annual chemistry “conference circuit”, but this year, it has been clear for some time now, will be an exception. Chemists around the world are restricted from travelling, separated from their laboratories, and in many cases – for the moment – confined to their homes. One response to this situation has been a surge in online scientific seminars, which can enable scientific discourse to continue whilst we remain physically apart.

On the 2nd of April, I launched the Main Group Seminars online seminar series. At the time of writing we have held two seminars (2nd and 9th April) and engagement with the seminar series from the community has been excellent – altogether, 372 people viewed our first seminar, 386 the second, and we have 300 people registered to attend every seminar in the series! Audience members include chemists from around the UK (approx. 66%), Europe (particularly Germany, Spain, Italy, and France), the USA, Canada, India, China, Japan and Australia.

This guide provides some suggestions based on experience gained during the process of launching the main-group seminar series, and hopefully it will help if you are thinking about launching a similar programme.

 

Identify your aims

Before deciding anything (name, format, frequency, target audience, target size) think about why you want to run a seminar series online. What do you want to achieve? Which scientific community (or communities) do you want to bring together? Do you want to showcase early- career scientists, or promote your field to other chemists using leading scientists (or both)? Or do you want a small discussion-focused series that will bring together two related fields to generate new collaborations and ideas? Your goals will inform what you decide about implementation.

In my case, I wanted to arrange a series of seminars that would help sustain (a part of) the chemistry community through a period when planned conferences have been cancelled, departmental seminar series suspended, and even research groups cannot meet in person. The aim of the series is to bring together the main-group community, but also to showcase our scientific sub-discipline to chemists beyond it. Chemists who would not ordinarily take an interest in main-group chemistry could be converted, whilst their attention was easier to capture (because they are stuck indoors).

 

Work with an interest group, or at least involve others in your decision making

The main-group seminar series was supported from very early in its inception by the RSC main-group chemistry interest group. I was able to get agreement for a small amount of funding to support the seminar series.

Perhaps even more valuable than the financial support was the knowledge, contacts and support of the members of the interest group committee. The committee were involved in discussions on format and timing of the seminars (in our case, during ‘work hours’ in the working week). Most importantly, speaker selection decisions were together with the committee.

It was essential to have more than one voice in this process to get a scientifically, and otherwise, diverse set of speakers.

 

Move quickly

There is an advantage to be gained by launching your seminar series quickly – you have a captive (or at least self-isolated) audience at the moment, and relatively few competitors. Don’t wait until you have out a full programme together to launch your seminar series! We’re in a fluid situation at the moment, so it is best to act quickly and respond as the situation changes. You can launch your seminar series with only the first one or two events scheduled.

Remember, you don’t have to publish or publicise your full schedule until it’s finalised.

 

Publicise widely

Use channels like a website, the RSC events database, email lists, and social media to publicise your seminar series. In our case we know that about half of the registrants come via Twitter, about a third via the website (which they probably find using Twitter), and the remainder from email lists like the JISC inorganic chemistry mailing list.

 

Logistics and software

We use zoom to host our seminars (www.zoom.us). The cost to hold seminars with a cap of 500 on the audience is approximately £150 a month. The service is reliable and provides excellent features surrounding registration and recording of viewers and user numbers etc. (so you can see who your audience is).

Please note: If you decide to use Zoom you will need to have the terms and conditions checked by the RSC legal team – contact the Networks team (networks@rsc.org) for more information.

You should also consider using the GoToWebinar account that the RSC has made available to member networks (for free) for hosting webinars for up to 500 people. Booking this service can be done at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/WebinarBookingPart1/, and you should contact networks@rsc.org for more information.

 

Format

Our format includes one 40 minute talk, and one 20 minute talk. We aim to have one established speaker and one early career (which can be anything from a recently independent academic through to a PhD student) in each seminar.

We have found that the shorter format for talks works better online – it’s harder for speakers to hold the audience’s attention from ‘inside’ a computer. Speakers also report their experience as being ‘flatter’ than normal without a physically present audience to respond to. Lastly, we are finding that with such large audiences – and perhaps a less intimidating atmosphere – there are substantial numbers of people wanting to ask questions after each talk, so the shorter talks serve to allow for that.

 

Consider making a recording available after the event

You should consider making a recording of your seminar available for a short period after the event. This will allow scientists in other time zones to access your seminar series, but just as importantly will also allow those who have other personal or professional commitments preventing them from attending ‘live’ to engage with your seminars.

In our experience speakers are relaxed about this and happy to allow it – and everyone so far has presented unpublished work.

 

Practice

Like so much of this guide, this is perhaps self-evident, but do do a dry-run with the speakers and the software and a ‘trial’ audience (I used my research group) before you hold your first event.

 

Resources and support from the Networks team

The Networks team are here to support you!

As mentioned above, there is a dedicated GoToWebinar account that is free to use for member networks. You can book your GoToWebinar here and find a user guide here. Please contact networks@rsc.org if you would like to know more about GoToWebinar or GoToMeeting.

You can promote your event to your members using the monthly e-alerts. Simply complete an e-alert request form and send it to networks@rsc.org.

If you want some tips about getting started on social media to promote your seminars, you can watch our recent social media training webinars, or download the slides and FAQs from our Useful Forms and Documents page.
 
Posted by Aurora Walshe on May 1, 2020 11:00 AM BST
Dear colleague,

Welcome to the Networks Newsletter, our way to keep our member network committee members and representatives up to date with RSC activities, services and new initiatives.

COVID-19 and isolation measures require different ways of working, we have made changes to our programmes and activities to continue to provide the support you need. If you want to know more about anything contained in this month's newsletter, or have suggestions for ways to support our community, please let us know.

This month’s Newsletter contains:
  • Upcoming Deadlines
  • Upcoming Events
  • Spotlight: Launching an online seminar series
  • Communications from across the RSC
  • Latest updates on our policy work
 
Upcoming Deadlines
11 May
12 May
14 May
26 May
28 May
01 June
09 June
11 June
Close of applications for Outreach Fund
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 21 May to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 21 May
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 4 June to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 4 June

Close of call for nominations for the 2020 Journal of Materials Chemistry Lectureship
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 18 June to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 18 June
 
Upcoming Events
07 May
14 May

21 May
21 May
04 June
18 June
Member e-alerts
Chemists' Community Fund Curing Your Finances Webinar
Member e-alerts
Mental health webinar: Kindness – Building a better chemistry culture
Member e-alerts
Member e-alerts
 
Spotlight: Launching an online seminar series

The Main Group Chemistry Group have recently launched a highly successful online seminar series showcasing different early career and established scientists every fortnight.

Dr Michael Cowley from the University of Edinburgh has put together a guide for members who want to set up a similar online seminar or webinar series to support their community while following advice of social distancing measures.

Read the guide on the Networks Newsletter blog, and if you have any questions you can contact Dr Cowley through the the Main Group Seminar website or via networks@rsc.org.

Read Dr Cowley's guide to launching an online seminar series here

 
Communications from across the RSC

Here are updates about events and activities from our Outreach, Careers, Events, International, and Research & Innovation teams, as well as the Chemists’ Community Fund and RSC Publishing.

The chemical sciences’ COVID-19 response
Can you help the chemical sciences’ COVID-19 response, or do you need support from us or other organisation to overcome challenges posed by the crisis? We have collated information and resources on how you can help and where to find support. This information is updated regularly as new opportunities arise and additional support becomes available, keep an eye on our social media channels as well for the latest updates.

We are also recognising the chemical science community’s role in our response to COVID-19. We’ll be sharing your stories, and we want you to share more with us - either by email at
communications@rsc.org, or using the hashtag #ChemVSCovid on social media.


Can you help the COVID-19 response?

Find support from us or others


Extending our Grants for Carers and Assistance Grants
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and following a consultation with our community we are very pleased to announce that we are extending the purpose of our Grants for Carers and Assistance Grants schemes.

The primary purpose of these schemes is to help you to attend a chemistry-related meeting, conference or workshop or a professional development event by covering the cost of care that you usually provide or specific assistance or support that you require.

However, we are now also accepting applications to cover the cost of:
  • any extra equipment you may need to work from home and/or home-school those you care for (maximum £500 total cost)
  • care that you usually provide whilst you attend an online meeting, conference, workshop, professional development or teaching responsibility.
Please note, where appropriate, it is expected that you have already approached your employer and other sources for the related funds are not available.

For further information please see our webpages:

rsc.li/grants-for-carers
rsc.li/assistance-grants



Our Outreach Fund remains open and welcome to applications
Our Outreach Fund provides financial support to members, individuals and organisations in order to enable them to run chemistry-based public and schools engagement activities.
We recognise that during this period the nature of projects and delivery mechanisms may need to be revised and that individuals and organisations may choose to use this period to either reflect and evaluate current activity or develop new initiatives. In response to this and the changing needs of the community we are relaxing our restrictions to funding, in particular those costs associated with salary and freelancers fees. In addition, to lower barriers to funding we are increasing the upper limit of the small grant scheme to £5,000 and moving to consider applications for small grants on a monthly basis, our first deadline is Monday 11 May.

Please visit our website for further details on applying during this period or get in touch with the team.

Learn more about the updated eligibility, criteria and restrictions here


Chemists’ Community Fund – Covid-19 Support
The Chemists’ Community Fund (the benevolent fund for RSC members) have seen a significant increase in enquiries for support over the past month. If current events are having a negative financial impact for any member that you know, please do share the below contact details with them.

While we recognise that the support we can offer will be limited, we may be able to offer financial support to members and their families at this challenging time.

The Fund offers a completely confidential service. Please get in touch by phoning +44 (0)1223 432227, or by emailing us at
ccfund@rsc.org.


Learn more about support from the Chemists’ Community Fund


Career and Professional Development team – here to help in uncertain times
In these unprecedented days some of you will be anxious about job stability, dealing with your career being on hold, or facing a redundancy situation. The RSC Careers Team is running a near-normal service to members so do get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to talk about regarding your job, your professional development, or simply coping with an uncertain professional future. There’s more information about our services online and you can email us at careers@rsc.org.

We are offering one-to-one career consultations by phone, Skype and Zoom to Associates, Members and Fellows, so do get in touch if you’d like to book, or if there’s anything else we can help with.

See how the Career and Professional Development team can help you


Chemists’ Community Fund – Curing your Finances Webinar
The Chemists’ Community Fund is supporting a webinar to assist RSC members with information to help their personal finances at this challenging time.

Even before the Coivid-19 pandemic, 60% of us worried about money and paying bills. Sadly, this is likely to continue as job insecurity and confusion over money increases.

The one-hour ‘Curing Your Finances’ webinar on 14th May at 1pm will be hosted by Better with Money. It aims to help members during this uncertain time with information on what they may need to think on a variety of matters including:
  • Mortgages
  • Credit cards and loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Savings
  • Pensions, investments and insurances
Register using the below, or for any questions please get in touch by emailing us at ccfund@rsc.org.

Register to attend the Curing your Finances Webinar


Webinar for Mental Health Awareness Week
Registration is now open for the first of a monthly webinar series by the Royal Society of Chemistry and Chemistry World to support the chemical sciences community in response to and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kindness – Building a better chemistry culture
Thursday 21 May 2020 at 3:30–4:30 pm BST

This new webinar series is launching during Mental Health Awareness Week (
MHAW, 18–24 May) and will first highlight the MHAW theme of kindness. Throughout the themes in the series, we will illuminate the science behind the issues being experienced and provide support tailored to the needs of chemical scientists including sharing coping strategies and reducing stigma around mental health and wellbeing.


Register for the first of our mental health webinars here


Online support for teachers
Are you a teacher? Join your Education Coordinators as they deliver live online sessions to support you to teach from home. There are lots of different sessions designed for primary and for secondary teachers, including some that look at specific resources that can be given to your students to support their learning at home, and others that provide opportunities to speak to other teachers and share ideas.

There are new sessions each week, so have a look at the timetable and join us soon. We also welcome your suggestions for topics by email to education@rsc.org.

Explore this week’s sessions

 
Latest updates on our policy work

With a programme of activities spanning research funding, mobility of scientists, open access, chemicals regulation, teacher supply, curriculum and much more, our goal is to shape the development of policy relevant to the chemical sciences.


Review of the impact of Covid-19 on doctoral candidates and early career researchers in the UK
Vitae has teamed up with the UKRI-funded Student Mental Health Research Network (SMaRteN) to conduct research into the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the working lives and wellbeing of doctoral researchers and research staff.

From the first 1,000 responses, over 90% have commented on the challenges they face, while half have also commented on benefits from the lockdown.

The findings could be used to inform institutional policies for meeting the needs of these groups during the current and future public health crises.

Please forward the survey to doctoral candidates and early career researchers in your organisation or networks so that they can complete the survey by Sunday 3 May.


Learn about the survey and methodology here

 
Thank you for reading!

This Newsletter has been tailored to you, but the full version can be found on the Networks Newsletter blog. Please read the online version and get in touch with suggestions for what you would like included or feedback about what we've sent you!

Send us your feedback

As you know, the RSC offices are closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning that the Networks team are all working from home for the time being. Please know that we are still available by email and phone and are working hard to support you during these uncertain times.

Once again, we would like to encourage all of you to please abide by your local guidelines and stay safe.

Kind regards,

The Networks Team
Fiona, Aurora and Debbie


 
Posted by Aurora Walshe on May 1, 2020 11:00 AM BST
Dear colleague,

Welcome to the Networks Newsletter, our way to keep our member network committee members and representatives up to date with RSC activities, services and new initiatives.

Firstly, we would like to thank all of you for your support and effort during the current crisis, and encourage all of you to please abide by your local guidelines and stay safe.

You may know that the RSC offices have close as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning that the Networks team are all working from home for the time being. Please know that we are still available by email and phone and are working hard to support you during these uncertain times. 

This month’s Newsletter contains:
  • Upcoming Deadlines
  • Upcoming Events
  • Spotlight: Public engagement – Co-create, co-create, co-create
  • Communications from across the RSC
  • Latest updates on our policy work
 
Upcoming Deadlines
 
01 April
06 April
07 April
09 April
28 April
30 April
12 May
14 May
Deadline for Local Section and Interest Group Top-Up Fund applications
Deadline for the first round of the 2020 Inclusion and Diversity Fund
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 16 April to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 16 April

Deadline for E-alerts going out on 7 May to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 7 May
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 21 May to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 21 May
 
Upcoming Events
02 April
16 April
07 May
21 May
Member e-alerts
Member e-alerts

Member e-alerts
Member e-alerts
 
Spotlight: Public engagement – Co-create, co-create, co-create

What is "public engagement"? What works? What doesn't?

This month Hassun El-Zafar, our Public Engagement Officer, talks to us about how letting your audience into the planning process can greatly improve the impact of your public engagement activities.

Read the full article on the Networks Newsletter blog, and if you have any questions or suggestions for public engagement activities please let Hassun know!


Read Hassun's article about co-creating public engagement activites


 
Communications from across the RSC

Here are updates about events and activities from our Outreach, Careers, Events, International, and Research & Innovation teams, as well as the Chemists’ Community Fund and RSC Publishing.


Important notice to all of our members on the potential impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
If current events are having a negative financial impact on you, your partner or dependants – especially if they have led to changes in your regular income – please speak to the Chemists’ Community Fund, the benevolent fund for RSC members.

While we recognise that the support we can offer will be limited, we may be able to offer financial support to you and your family as a Royal Society of Chemistry member. The Fund offers a completely confidential service.

If you know of any other members who might be interested in our support, please do share the below contact details with them.

Please get in touch by phoning +44 (0)1223 432227, or by emailing us at ccfund@rsc.org.

Learn more about the support available from the Chemists' Community Fund



2020 Member Networks Conference cancelled
The Member Networks Conference, due to be held in July 2020, will no longer be taking place.
In light of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, all RSC events until the end of June 2020 have been cancelled. Due to the uncertainty of how this situation will unfold over the coming months we have now taken the decision to also cancel the conference and focus our time on developing other ways in which we can facilitate you to connect and learn from each other, and to provide you with resources, information and support.

To help us to explore the opportunities to achieve this, we still welcome your input on the content and discussion topics that are most important to you, and encourage you to forward suggestions of virtual or digital training resources that we can develop.

Send your discussion topics and training suggestions to the Networks team



The 2020 #RSCPoster Twitter Conference was phenomenal
The 2020 #RSCPoster Twitter Conference, our biggest and most global instalment to date.

During the 24 hour event, 795 registered poster presenters from 59 countries shared their work with 4700 conference attendees (accounts that used the hashtag). Scientific discussions among presenters and attendees at every career stage took place via over 9900 tweets, with #RSCPoster receiving 32.1 million impressions from the global chemistry community and beyond.

Whatever their research, however they worked, #RSCPoster 2020 united the global scientific community and was a conference with clear advantages.


Search #RSCPoster on Twitter tomorrow and join in!

Find out more at rsc.li/rsc-poster-2020



Inclusion and Diversity Fund open all year
Our Inclusion and Diversity Fund provides financial support for innovative products, activities and research projects that help make the chemical sciences community more inclusive and diverse.

Previous recipients of our funding have included projects related to gender, disability, socio-economic background, language, BAME scientists and the LGBT+ community. These have been delivered via initiatives such as data collection and analysis, workshops, conferences and hackathons.

We will consider individual applications up to the value of £5,000. Funding greater than £5,000 may be considered for one project each year. Please contact the diversity team for more details.
Applications remain open all year, our first 2020 application round deadline is 6th April.

Apply by 6 April to get a decision by 1 May



Looking to speak with a professional development adviser?
Our upcoming physical career events and face-to-face consultations have been postponed but many are now taking place online.

Please visit the Events page to book, or email careers@rsc.org to book a consultation or ask the Careers team a question.



2020 Schools’ Analyst Competition cancelled
All upcoming regional heats and the Final of the 2020 Schools Analyst Competition have been cancelled.

If any current heat winners or regional hosts have incurred any costs (that are not refundable from the supplier) an appropriate full claim can be made. Please contact John Dean for a claim form.

The competition will once again run in 2021.




First articles published in RSC Chemical Biology
RSC Chemical Biology, our new gold open access journal for breakthrough findings in the chemical biology field has been launched and we’re excited to share with you the first published articles, hot off the press.

Subjects include:
  • Antibiotic biosynthesis
  • Antifungal targets
  • Inhibition of the receptor-mediated signaling

Among the first articles being published in RSC Chemical Biology, one has transparent peer review.

Learn about benefits of transparent peer-review here



Read RSC Medicinal Chemistry’s first articles
A few months ago we announced MedChemComm was changing its name to RSC Medicinal Chemistry to better reflect the breadth of content we publish.

Now we’re delighted to share the first issues of RSC Medicinal Chemistry with you!


Read the latest issue now


 
Latest updates on our policy work

With a programme of activities spanning research funding, mobility of scientists, open access, chemicals regulation, teacher supply, curriculum and much more, our goal is to shape the development of policy relevant to the chemical sciences.

RSC response to the UK Budget
We responded to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak's first Budget announcement on 11 March.

The Chancellor rightly focussed on responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, pledging £30m for rapid research into the disease. We were also pleased to see the government commit to investing £22 billion in research and development by 2024-25. However, we were disappointed to see that the government’s promises on research and development were not backed up by commitments to support the education pipeline that will produce the researchers of tomorrow.

Read our full response


 
Thank you for reading!

This Newsletter is sent as a tailored email to all members of member network committees. The full version is published here each month.

Please get in touch with suggestions for what you would like included or feedback about what we've sent you!


Kind regards,

The Networks Team
Fiona, Aurora and Debbie




 
Posted by Aurora Walshe on Apr 1, 2020 11:00 AM BST
This month sees the second blog article from Hassun El-Zafar, our Public Engagement Officer, about the benefits of co-creating public engagement activities. You can read part 1 of the series, know your audience, here. If you’d like to get in touch or share your thoughts with Hassun you can find him on Twitter @HassunElZafar or email at zafarh@rsc.org.


It’s Monday morning and I’m dancing into the Royal Society of Chemistry listening to my favourite Bollywood musical (Main Hoon Na, for those who want to know…). Today’s first meeting is about ideas for public engagement across the country and I’m excited, very excited.

I’m the first one there (because I’m a keen bean high on my morning mocha’s caffeine), and I’m listening, waiting to be inspired by the amazing ideas that are going to help change perception, challenge behaviours and make our world a better place. We have brilliant ideas, phenomenal ideas. People have taken on board feedback about audiences and they’ve got real solid plans and activities designed for them.

Let me give you an example: one idea (not a real idea) is about educating fishermen in a third-world country about plastic pollution in rivers.

The project has a clear target audience and clear aim. The individual is really passionate about the topic and has a strong academic background in alternative plastics and waste management techniques that these fisherman could really benefit from. The method is simple enough: organise five workshops for the fishermen to attend and learn about the alternatives they can use and measure the impact by asking them to fill out a questionnaire. If budget allows, we can get some really good footage of fishermen talking about their experience, doing activities in the workshop and good pictures (worth a thousand words) as they always help in those pesky evaluation documents.

Now let me be clear, this activity will certainly have an impact, and it’s not a bad activity. But there may be ways in which we could make it better from drawing on the lesson of similar activities.

Here are a few questions we could pose to the activity in its current form:
  • How will you get the fishermen to come to your workshop?
  • How do they even know about it?
  • What time will it happen to ensure they can come? 
  • Why should they even bother to attend?
  • How will you make it accessible for them?
  • How will you ensure that the fishermen have ownership of their learning?
  • What incentive do they have to change their perception?
  • How will your workshop change the way they do things?
  • Why would they change the way they do things? Do you know why they do what they do?
  • Does your workshop provide a solution that the fishermen could adopt? If so, why will they take it on-board? How will you know?
I’ll stop there, because I know that the questions could take us down a rabbit hole. But hopefully you see the point I’m trying to make: there is more to planning a workshop that is going to have long lasting social impact than we think

That’s when co-creation comes in. For a long a time we’ve put our resources and efforts behind designing for audiences, and our feedback has shown us that they haven’t responded in ways we wanted. Perhaps if we designed with the audience, giving them ownership of empowering engagement that resonates with them, they’d respond differently?

And in terms of lasting impact, that famous proverb which every philosopher claims comes to mind: you give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

Let’s go back to our example with fishermen (pure coincidence that it matches the proverb, by the way).

In a co-creation model you’d make an effort to understand and get to know the fishing communities that you’d like to engage with. You’d build trust and have an honest and equal dialogue with audiences about your research, and by doing so you’d be able to frame your public engagement as an accessible social development activity rather than simply “education”.

This relationship will inform your curation, output and outcome. You might find that workshops are not the best way forward, or that they are, but at certain times and with specific smaller objectives. You might find that more resources are required by the community, or that alternative resources are already there. You’ll find new methods of evaluation, which are more honest and detailed than simple generic questionnaires. You’ll capture stories, which demonstrate impact better than an album of pictures. And interestingly, when done properly and well, co-creating allows audiences to continue spreading messages and solutions even when we’re not there

A fantastic example of this model of co-creating public engagement can be found in the Sheffield based Grantham Centre’s work with refugee communities in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on co-creation!

 
Posted by Aurora Walshe on Apr 1, 2020 11:00 AM BST
Dear colleague,

Welcome to the Networks Newsletter, our way to keep our member network committee members and representatives up to date with RSC activities, services and new initiatives.

This month’s Newsletter contains:
  • Upcoming Deadlines
  • Upcoming Events
  • Spotlight: Public engagement - know your audience!
  • Communications from across the RSC
  • Latest updates on our policy work
 
Upcoming Deadlines
 
10 March
12 March
24 March

26 March
01 April
07 April
09 April
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 19 March to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 19 March
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 2 April to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 2 April
Deadline for Local Section and Interest Group Top-Up Fund applications

Deadline for E-alerts going out on 16 April to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 16 April
Upcoming Events
 
3-4 March
05 March
19 March
02 April 2020
16 April 2020

7-9 July
29-30 September
#RSCPoster Twitter Conference
Member e-alerts
Member e-alerts

Member e-alerts
Member e-alerts

2019 Member Networks Conference
2nd Chemical Science symposium: How can machine learning and autonomy accelerate chemistry?
Spotlight: Public engagement - know your audience!

What is "public engagement"? What works? What doesn't?

This month Hassun Zafar, our Public Engagement Officer, talks to us about the importance of knowing your audience when planning public engagement activities. This is the first in a series of articles to help you create, plan, and evaluate new ideas to interact with members of the public.

Read the full article on the Networks Newsletter blog, and if you have any questions or suggestions for public engagement activities please let Hassun know!


Read Hassun's article about knowing your audienceRead Hassun's first
 
Communications from across the RSC

Here are updates about events and activities from our Outreach, Careers, Events, International, and Research & Innovation teams, as well as the Chemists’ Community Fund and RSC Publishing.

New expense form for member expenses
We've recently updated the form members and non-members use to claim expenses. You can download the form by clicking on the link below or from the Useful Forms and Documents page: www.rsc.org/FormsDocuments

Download the new expense form here



#RSCPoster Twitter Conference – starts 3 March, 12:00 UTC
The conference that anyone can attend!

The #RSCPoster Twitter Conference is an annual event that has become a staple on many scientific community calendars.

Held entirely online over 24 hours, the unique format removes the environmental and financial costs of attending a traditional conference, and helps scientific researchers share their work and network across disciplines, wherever they are in the world.

Last year, more than 3,000 researchers took part, and posters and conversations were seen by over 2 million people around the world. This year you can submit a poster in one of 12 subject areas, from analytical chemistry to engineering. Posters win prizes if chosen by the subject chairs.


Search #RSCPoster on Twitter tomorrow and join in!

Find your hashtag and get involved on 3 March



Member Networks Conference 2020
All committee Secretaries have received details of this year’s conference along with a request for the following information by 1 April 2020:
  • The name of the delegate who has agreed to represent your committee at the conference.
  • Any subjects you would like to discuss with relevant staff – events, legal, communications, etc.
  • Any issues you would like to be raised during the Interest Group Forum, the Local Sections meeting or the Analytical Division Regions meeting.
We would like to highlight that the Grants for Carers and the Assistance Grants are available to support attendance at this event so please do bear this in mind when discussing availability to represent your committee.



Chemists’ Community Fund Workshops
The Chemists’ Community Fund organise ‘Improve Your Understanding of Wellbeing and Resilience’ and ‘Retirement in Sight’ workshops around the UK for RSC members.

To find out more, or to book a place on one of these free workshops, please go to: rsc.li/ccfevents

Please do promote these workshops to anyone that you think would be interested in attending.

If you would like to host one of these workshops in your local section then please do get in touch with the Fund team on ccfund@rsc.org.




International Conference on Chemistry Education
Cape Town, South Africa, 13-17 July 2020

The 26th IUPAC International Conference on Chemistry Education (ICCE 2020) is jointly organised by chemistry educators from the 4 local universities, with support from universities in South Africa.

The conference will be organised around the theme of a 2020 vision of chemistry education and for the first time ever, there will be a Physical Sciences Teachers’ Day, on the 17th of July, as part of the conference. To support teachers without funding to attend this, we have provided sponsorship for bursaries through the ‘Sponsor a Teacher’ initiative to enable teachers to attend.

The themes of the Congress can be found here and abstract submission is open until 16 March.

Learn more on the Events Database



Introducing Materials Advances
A new gold open access journal from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Free to read and free to publish in for the first 2 years, the research in this journal will build on and complement the materials content already published across the Royal Society of Chemistry journal portfolio.

Jointly led by JMC A, B & C editors-in-chief Anders Hagfeldt, (EPFL, Switzerland), Jeroen Cornelissen, (University of Twente, the Netherlands) and Natalie Stingelin, (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA), our experienced JMC associate editors will also handle submissions to Materials Advances. This ensures a consistent approach and streamlining the assessment process for authors and reviewers.

Read more about Materials Advances


 
Latest updates on our policy work
With a programme of activities spanning research funding, mobility of scientists, open access, chemicals regulation, teacher supply, curriculum and much more, our goal is to shape the development of policy relevant to the chemical sciences.

New Global Talent visa open
The new Global Talent visa is now open, replacing the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. The new visa route allows successful applicants to work in the UK and is granted for a period of up to five years at a time without a sponsor or entry requirements such as language tests and minimum salary thresholds.

Learn more about the visa programme here



Updated RSC position statement on Open Access and Plan S
In 2018 a coalition of research funders, including UKRI and Wellcome Trust, expressed their commitment to Plan S, an approach to achieving Open Access. Informed by our roles as a learned society publisher and as a voice for the chemical sciences community, and drawing on evidence from our activities to amplify the voice of researchers, we developed a position statement on Plan S. The statement will inform our response to the UKRI Open Access Review Consultation that was launched recently.

Read our position statement here



A Chemicals Strategy for a Sustainable Chemicals Revolution
The RSC has published a new document ahead of Defra launching its consultation in the spring on a new Chemicals Strategy for the UK as part of the 25 year plan for the environment. We are advocating that the evolution of the strategy develops around four core pillars: education, innovation, circular economy and regulation.

Read our sustainable chemicals strategy here


 
Thank you for reading!

This Newsletter has been tailored to you, but the full version can be found on the Networks Newsletter blog. Please read the online version and get in touch with suggestions for what you would like included or feedback about what we've sent you!


Kind regards,

The Networks Team
Fiona, Aurora and Debbie


 
Posted by Aurora Walshe on Mar 2, 2020 3:00 PM GMT
This month sees the first in a series of articles from Hassun El-Zafar, our Public Engagement Officer, telling us about the importance of knowing your audience when planning public engagement activities. If you’d like to get in touch or share your thoughts with Hassun you can find him on Twitter @HassunElZafar or email at zafarh@rsc.org. Unfortunately, since leaving the North, he is unable to take messages via Owls or Ravens.  


We all love public engagement. Or, at least, we all should love public engagement. After all, what’s not to love about the idea that contemporary, boundary-pushing and pioneering research is made accessible for the public, rather than being known only to an exclusive pocket of research, academic or industry experts?

Over the past seven months, I’ve had the privilege to lead on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s public engagement activities. It’s been a phenomenal ride in which I’ve been able to meet, connect and work with many fantastic individuals and organisations across the UK and world. And by doing so I’ve being able to have some honest reflections on the impact of mainstream public engagement in science, particularly in the chemical sciences.

Before I delve into these reflections, it’s worth mentioning that prior to my post here at the Royal Society of Chemistry, I worked as a secondary science teacher and ran several outreach programmes in numerous inner-city areas across south Yorkshire. I was the type of teacher who’d voluntarily run STEAM clubs, science weeks, and organise informal extra-curricular events for students and parents to meet with STEAM industry and research experts. And yes, I was unapologetically that science teacher who’d find any excuse to do the biggest, most colourful and impressive science demonstrations. 

I believed then, as I do now, in Maya Angelou’s beautiful quote in which she states that ‘people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’. I think this quote helps build a metaphorical scaffold for my reflection, and a link to the grander overview of science engagement. After all, there is, and probably never will be, one singular viewpoint of how science engagement is best done. But I’d like to think that we could all at least agree that if an audience feels bored, condescended to or intimidated by our approaches, then something needs to change.

On that note, here’s the beginning of my five-part blog (I promised to not overdo them like the Fast and Furious movies!) where I’ll share my thoughts on public engagement. I’d love to hear from you too! You can get in touch via Twitter @HassunElZafar and email zafar@rsc.org.


Blog One: Know Your Audience
Let me set the scene.
I’m at my desk in the RSC offices with a fair trade banana and Yorkshire Tea cuppa by my side.
The phone rings.
I answer enthusiastically, and it’s our keen member Tim (not a real person). He’s got a fantastic idea to engage the general public with climate science (#ClimateActionNow) and would like us to support his idea with £10,000, a room in Burlington House on a weekday evening, and some complimentary wine and canapés (yummy!).
I listen attentively to the plans that feature invited high-profile university professors, PhD students, and international industry experts delivering seminars and lectures throughout the evening. When he’s finished I ask one simple question… “Who’s the target audience, Tim?”
“Oh, it’s a free event, anyone can attend! So the general public!”
“But you’re inviting 56 people in a venue which has a capacity of 60…”
“Oh…”

I must reiterate in the strongest way possible that this is not a real incident, but it is based on bucket loads of interactions I’ve had.

Knowing your audience is important. Being honest about who your audience is is even more important. As the head of one of the largest science festivals once told us, “the majority of people at Comic Con are most likely comic fans, and the majority of people at a mainstream science festival are most likely science fans. We should embrace that and use it to inform practise, rather than shying away and pretending to do something which we’re not”. These words hit a chord. Perhaps public engagement doesn’t have a right or wrong audience (because all humans, including scientists, are part of the public after all), but good public engagement does have a specific audience, which it aims to have an impact towards.

Here’s a little activity: next time we’re about to do a public engagement activity/event/campaign, write down who the target audience is, and try to be as specific as possible. Common terms such as “high science cultural capital” and “young people” are popular, but are actually pretty vague. For example, the term "young people" can encompass anyone aged 0-35 (and that’s being harsh on anyone over 35…) and in that group you have toddlers, primary children, KS3 students, GCSE students, A-level students, undergraduates, post-graduates, postdocs, PhD students, “young working professionals”, young backpackers, young tourists, “the science museum's lates date audience” or more broadly speaking, the total of approximately 32 million people in the UK alone.

The more specific the target audience, the more tailored the activity will be to meet their needs, which means the activity will probably be more impactful in shaping perceptions, advancing understanding and changing behaviours (trust me, I was rated outstanding by OFSTED for a reason).

Now, there may be some people reading this with the thought that I’m wrong, and that something like a “one size fits all” approach can work. It probably does to some extent. I mean, there’s a reason why millions of people still watch TEDx videos, right? But even then, the best TEDx speakers know their audience (Donovan, 2012).

Subsequently, knowing your audience is great, but in the next blog I’m going to argue that it may not be enough. Should we be moving away from a model where we create for an audience to a model we create with an audience?

 
Posted by Aurora Walshe on Mar 2, 2020 2:05 PM GMT
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