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.

Member network Annual Report data: overview of the 2019 outputs and looking forward to 2020

This month in the Spotlight, we're looking at the Annual Report data from 2019 and the changes to the Annual Report for 2020 and 2021

The Royal Society of Chemistry has 71 Interest Groups, 35 Local Sections in the UK and Ireland, 22 international Local Sections in 17 countries, and 8 Analytical Division Regions in the UK and Ireland.

All of our Interest Groups carry out activities for the general advancement of chemical science in their subject area by the dissemination of knowledge. All of our Local Sections carry out activities to support RSC members in their local area. Analytical Division Regions carry out activities to support members of the Analytical Division in their area and for the general advancement of analytical chemistry.

Each member network (within and outwith the UK) is required to submit an Annual Report detailing their activities to RSC staff each year.

Overview of 2019 Annual Report data
110 of 136 Annual Reports were received, reporting almost 600 member network events in 2019 attended by approximately 48,000 people.
Network type Reports received Reports expected % received No. events in 2019 % of 2019 events
Analytical Division Region 7 8 88% 20 3%
Interest Group 56 71 79% 160 27%
International Local Section 16 22 73% 112 19%
UKROI Local Section 31 35 89% 302 51%
Total 110 136 81% 594 100%

More than half (51%) of all reported 2019 activities were organised by Local Sections and almost one in 5 (19%) of all member network events was organised by an international Local Section, catering to over 15000 people in 11 countries outside of the UK and Ireland. Our Local Sections plan events and activities to support RSC members in their local area; a large proportion of these are social and networking events to bring members together. Our international Local Sections also organise and support local scientific meetings for their members.

Our Analytical Division Regions and Local Sections are essential for helping us to fulfil our purpose of advancing excellence in the chemical sciences on a local level; they each organise education and outreach activities for students and members of the public in the local community.

Most Interest Group events are scientific meetings and conferences to aid in their purpose of advancing their subject by the dissemination of knowledge. In 2019 our 71 Interest Groups held 86 half- or full-day scientific meetings and 51 multi-day meetings, catering to over 10,000 attendees. Many Interest Groups also offered bespoke networking and training opportunities for their members.

Financial support offered in 2019
Our Interest Groups and Local Sections awarded 193 grants and bursaries and sponsored 53 events in 2019.

Our Interest Groups sponsored and supported 28 conferences and meetings (in addition to the ones they organised), and offered over £50,000 in Travel Grants to support 136 members to attend national and international conferences.

Within the UK, our Local Sections supported 7 schools with grants to participate in Top of the Bench, take pupils on chemistry themed trips, and support the creation of chemistry clubs. Local Sections sponsored 13 local scientific and public engagement activities and offered over £3000 in Travel Grants to support 20 members to attend local and international conferences.

Outside of the UK, our Local Sections supported the International Spring School of Electrochemistry in Sicily and 11 scientific meetings in Ireland. Our Malaysia Local Section also offered Travel Grants to attend international conferences.

Highlights of 2019
We asked all member networks to tell us about their best event of 2019. Four of the six AD Regions who responded indicated that the Schools’ Analyst Competition was their most successful event; three of the 28 Local Sections who responded indicated that Top of the Bench was their most successful event.

2019 was the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT) and many of our Local Sections used this as a platform for highly successful public engagement and outreach activities, including:
  • Our Glasgow and West of Scotland Local Section knitted the periodic table and generated a considerable amount of interest amongst those that otherwise might not have engaged with IYPT.
  • Our Peninsula Local Section had an IYPT Sir Humphry Davy event in Penzance to mark the end of the IYPT to celebrate Sir Humphry Davy's achievements in his hometown.
  • Our Malaysia Local Section organised an IYPT Instagram competition that created awareness of the IYPT with many creative entries and generated interest in chemistry among schoolchildren.
  • Our Nigeria Local Section reached out to 350 secondary school students and their teachers to motivate them about the periodic table and careers in the chemical sciences

Other Local Section highlights included:
  • Our North Staffordshire Local Section’s Pottery about Chemistry event attracted a wide cross-section of the public.
  • Our Bristol & District Local Section Murder Mystery Howlers received the best feedback of their events; and the central location and early evening time-slot ensured a larger than normal audience.
  • Our Republic of Ireland Local Section’s Chemistry Wikithon event pulled together a diverse range of practicing chemists, and left a future legacy for promoting accuracy in a world of 'fake science'.

34 Interest Groups responded with descriptions of highly successful conferences and collaborations, some key highlights included:
  • The Toxicology Group biomonitoring meeting provided a welcome opportunity for the UK biomonitoring community to meet and share recent findings and good practice and a JISC group has evolved as a result.
  • For the Food Group, Plastics from Cradle to Grave and Resurrection was their best event based on high attendance and attendee feedback, which led to a second event planned for June 2020. The subject matter was also highly relevant to current and future challenges to food sectors and the environment.
  • The Photochemistry & Photophysics joint meeting with the Italian Photochemistry Group was an excellent event that received good feedback from those attending. This was the first time that the PPG had run a joint event with an equivalent national group from overseas. It was agreed by both groups that it was a success – initial discussions about a reciprocal meeting in the UK in 2022 have begun.
  • The Theoretical Chemistry Group highlighted their graduate student meeting as their "best" event, but not for the reason we expected. In short, this meeting gave the committee a direct insight that they needed to be much more pro-active in attaining gender balance at events going forwards. This has changed how the committee plan this event and will be a priority for TCG events organised from 2020 onwards.

What do we use this information for?
The information in the Annual Report is used:
  • to promote to existing and potential members the breadth and quality of our community-led activities,
  • to identify common challenges to develop bespoke training and resources for our committees, and
  • to demonstrate and report how our grants and networks are contributing to our charitable aims.
The 2019 Annual Report data was analysed by the Networks team and shared with Member Networks Committee and Member Communities Board in 2020. Summaries of the 2019 data for the Local Sections and Interest Groups have been attached below and will be shared on the respective member network websites.

What is new for 2020?
The 2019 Annual Report was submitted using an online form in an attempt to streamline the data collection process. However, you told us that you need a report form that can be shared among the committee to be updated and edited easily, and want to be able to see an overview of all of your activities at once.

In line with this feedback, we have created a new Annual Report form. This new form is an Excel spreadsheet with clear instructions and drop-down menus that will be easy for you to complete, while maintaining the integrity of the data collection process.

We asked for volunteers to test the form and we are making changes to the form based on their feedback and suggestions. The final version of the form will be circulated to committees in October.

What is the plan for 2021?
Once the 2020 Annual Report form has been circulated we will begin to make the necessary changes to prepare the 2021 report form so that we can circulate it to committees in January 2021 to allow them to be completed throughout the year.
Attached Files
Posted by Aurora Walshe on Oct 1, 2020 2:00 PM Europe/London

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