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Engaging with our international community: China

Did you know that the RSC has international offices that support our international community? This month in the Spotlight Hongmei Peng, Engagement and Programme Manager in our Shanghai Office, tells us about how she started with the RSC and what her team do to advance the chemical sciences in China.

Hongmei joined the RSC Shanghai office in 2010 and became our China Engagement and Programme Manager in 2014.

Hongmei, what brought you to the RSC?
Before I joined RSC Shanghai office in 2010, I worked as a research associate in Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Being a gregarious person, I found the routine of conducting experiments in the laboratory rather solitary. So, when I came across the RSC's mission in advancing the excellence of Chemical Sciences by supporting practicing chemists through its network of global community, I was inspired and wanted to be part of the organisation to serve the needs of the chemical science community. In 2010, I was lucky enough to be able to join the RSC Shanghai office.

How many people are on your team?
Currently, there are only two team members, Yang Lei and myself, but we are recruiting another team member and we expect he or she will be on board in March.

What do you all do?
In China, the RSC is known by researchers as one of the top publisher in the chemical sciences, but not many of them are aware that we are also a learned society with the mission to advance excellence in the chemical sciences.

Our goal is to create a sustainable eco-system for chemical sciences researchers in China. We have been trying to design and deliver effective tailored programmes and platforms to serve researchers at different stages of their career – from early career to well established scientists.

In summary, we are aiming to engage the chemical science community in China in the most efficient and effective ways and, by doing so, maximising our influence in China as an influential professional society and as a top publisher.

What kind of programmes do you mean?
As I have mentioned previously, for the engagement team that I lead, we are focusing on designing and delivering tailored engagement programmes to meet the needs of the research community as a whole – from early career to established researchers. To this end, our programmes reflect this aim.

To engage well established professors who are leaders in their respective fields, we have run the Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) Forum since 2016. This annual event is aimed towards finding chemical solutions to solve key issues relating to global challenges.

In order to ensure that the FRSC Forum can stand-out from the multitudes of symposia/conferences being held in China the Forum has a unique format: it consists of six plenary lectures focusing on the progress, development and future challenges of a specific research field, followed by a panel discussion. For our previous FRSC Forums, the topics included materials, health, energy, and water safety.  This annual event has been very well received and supported by the community.

In 2019, we introduced the RSC Emerging Investigator Forum to engage emerging investigators/ early career researchers in China. To ensure the Forum addresses the need of the researchers, we conducted surveys and communicated with many young researchers to solicit their input and ideas. The resultant Forum was devised to focus on debates and discussions within cutting-edge cross-discipline research fields. We also linked the Forum with our journals and invited eligible delegates to submit to emerging investigator issues.

In 2014, we initiated the RSC Student Clubs programme at top universities to engage postgraduate chemists and in 2019, we enriched this initiative by collaborating with Tsinghua University in organising the RSC Predoc Symposium. This aim of this event is to provide a unique platform for students to present their research in English.

Thank you Hongmei for telling us about the work your team does and how you support the broader chemical sciences community in China!

Posted by Aurora Walshe on Mar 1, 2021 2:00 PM Europe/London

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