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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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Archive for December, 2020
In Hassun’s fifth and final blog article about public engagement, he explains why no project is complete without an honest and detailed evaluation to measure success. Share your thoughts with Hassun via email at or on Twitter @HassunElZafar.

Evaluation. That pesky word that rocks up when you think it’s all done and dusted. When you’ve seen done all the planning and delivery. When you’ve pitched the idea, achieved something phenomenal… When you just want to have a break. It pops up: Evaluation.

Let’s start with a simple question: Why do we evaluate?

Here’re the answers I came up with in 30 seconds:
  • Improve and inform our current and future practice
  • Demonstrate the impact of your activity
  • Show value for money
  • Secure funding
  • Meet the terms of funding providers
  • Have recorded evidence of your activity
  • Clearly understanding what success looks like

It’s important that evaluation is planned as an integral part of any public engagement activity, not as an add-on. This could be done by placing it into the core part of your delivery plan. This is an example of how this may look:


I often find that our focus on successfully achieving our project outputs (delivery) overshadows our vision for the successful evaluation of our objectives. As mentioned in my previous blog articles, clear objectives (make them SMART!) really do help with not falling into this trap.

Let’s give a working example of how incorporating evaluation into every step of a project plan can improve a project.



Scenario (as ever, this is not real, but applicable): We have a diverse group of chemistry researchers working on innovative and boundary pushing research on plastics in one of the UK’s top higher education institutions. The researchers are super keen to do more outreach, they don’t see it as an add-on – but a necessity.

Idea: The researchers have come up with an idea, to produce a video that is as concise as possible in explaining contemporary scientific research into plastics and celebrate the diversity of the team. They want to place the video onto the university webpage, use it at open days, school outreach programmes and summer society exhibitions.



Here’s where evaluation comes really handy. Let’s ask one of the above questions, and answer it using SMART methods:

Q) What does success look like?
  1. 2,000 primary aged students in the local area are engaged with reduce, reuse and recycle programmes ran by schools by the end of the academic year.
Now, let’s add… how we can measure that this has been achieved?
  1. Creating a survey that will be filled out by teachers capturing activity response, interviews with school head teacher on school actions and case study stories from students (via teacher-led focus groups).


Go back and look at the idea I presented to you, it’s not a bad idea – but now I’ve told you what I think success looks like, what I want to actually achieve, and how I plan to evaluate it… Is the idea the best way to achieve what I want to achieve?

Quick answer: No.



I head back to working board; I need to come up with another idea… but this time, I’m going to inform myself using other people’s evaluations and by talking to my specific target audience (AKA primary schools) to see what works and what does not.

So after reading about excellent projects on websites like the NCCPE and having dialogues with experts and partners, I come up with another idea: To create resources for a project where primary schools are encouraged to collect every piece of plastic they use, while also using a specially designed and co-created tool kit to help them become plastic free.

At the end of the spring term, the schools are tasked with creating artwork with the plastics they have collected, alongside a scheme of work which has been co-created with teacher from those schools (by the way, this is not a full idea! It has flaws, I need to work on it, but hopefully you’ll see the point of it being a better idea, because of the evaluation thought process).

The art project attracts local media attention, which this boosts awareness of the programme – you should capture this, funders love local media attention.

The teachers fill out specifically designed questionnaires with questions on the co-creation process, timelines, resources and what worked well and what didn’t – you should also capture this, other teachers love to hear from other teachers.

The head teacher gives you an interview on how your resource has been applied in their school, the challenges they’ve faced, what they would do differently, and the value the programme has given students – capture this, it’s going to improve your project massively and, as for teachers, head teachers love to hear the thoughts of other head teachers.

With permission from the teachers, you capture group thoughts from the students – you can’t give them a survey, they’ll see it as work (the teachers told you that) so you’ve arranged for them to give their thoughts through a game of “pass the bean bag” – if you have the bean bag you tell us what you think of the plastics now you’ve done the project. They love it because it’s a great game, you asked the teacher to do this before the project too, so you can compare the answers.



I can go on, but I won’t. It goes without saying that the second idea is much more resource intensive – it’s going to take much more time and effort than simply making a video. But its impact… well, I think it’d much more significant.

If I did something like this, I’d target one school in a really underserved community, and do it well, and by doing it “well”, I mean having a solid evaluation of the project. If one school is too much, then try one class – less can mean more impact, more lessons for me and more legacy to my project.

It all goes back to one question: What does success look like?

Answer that question in the most detailed, and honest, way you can. Because that is going the measure to which you evaluate any project.

So the next time that pesky evaluation question comes up, think beyond the words “quantitative” and “qualitative”, dig deeper than just using questionnaires and survey forms: define success, set yourself an ambition, and keep evaluation in mind from the very start.

This is our fifth 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?
  4. Outputs ≠ Outcomes
Posted by Aurora Walshe on Dec 1, 2020 11:00 AM GMT
Dear ​colleague,

Welcome to the December 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 – Evaluate
  • Communications from across the RSC
  • Latest updates on our policy work
Upcoming Deadlines
06 December
08 December
10 December
18 December
18 December
31 December
Registration deadline for RSC Inclusion and Diversity Forum 2020
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 17 December to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 17 December
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 7 January to additional networks
Deadline for E-alerts going out on 7 January
Deadline for December Research Development Grant applications
Upcoming Events
01 December
03 December
04 December
08 December
08 December
09 December
15 December
15-16 December
17 December
07 January
20 January
21 January
Sharing scientific advances, 12:30 GMT
Member e-alerts
Using social media effectively, 12:30 GMT
Organising online social events, 12:00 GMT
RSC Inclusion and Diversity Forum 2020, 14:00 GMT
Interest Group Forum, 13:00 GMT
Virtual networking, 12:00 GMT
Royal Society of Chemistry Tokyo International Conference 2020
Member e-alerts
Member e-alerts
CChem relaunch: Skills and the economy, 10:00 GMT
Member e-alerts
Spotlight: Public engagement – Evaluate

In Hassun’s fifth and final blog article about public engagement, he explains why no project is complete without an honest and detailed evaluation to measure success.

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!

Learn the value of evaluation

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.

End of year e-alert deadlines

Do you want to send a wellbeing message to your members to celebrate the holiday season or welcome in the New Year? All e-alert deadlines are provided above - please note that with office closures all e-alert requests for Thursday 7 January must be received by Friday 18 December.

Download our guide for creating more effective e-alerts

Virtual discussion sessions for member networks

Following the cancellation of the 2020 Member Networks Conference we are running four online sessions to bring together RSC network committee members to share ideas and knowledge. This is an opportunity to hear from some networks who have been active during the pandemic and to share your own experiences.

Sharing scientific advances - Today, 12.30 – 13.30
The Statistical Mechanics & Thermodynamics Group and Downland Local Section will lead this session about sharing scientific advances online and will share their tips and tricks to set up and coordinate a virtual seminar series using GoToWebinar and GoToMeeting.

Register here

Using social media effectively – Friday 4 December 2020, 12.30 – 13.30
In this session we will hear from the Formulation Science & Technology and Porous Materials Groups who will share tips and tricks to start conversations on social media, engage your community through different platforms, and advice about hosting a Twitter conference.

Register here

Organising online social events – Tuesday 8 December 2020, 12.00 – 13.00
At the session we will hear from the East Anglia Local Section about their chocolate tasting event and the Lancaster and District Local Section will chat about their wine tasting event. Attendees will be encouraged to share ideas and knowledge with other members about online social events.

Register here

Virtual networking – Tuesday 15 December 2020, 12.00 -13.00
Join Dermot Hanna (Consultancy Group) and Magda Van Leeuwen (Royal Society of Chemistry) in discussing and sharing ideas on virtual networking. Dermot and Magda will discuss how we often associate networking with physical events but it can be key part of online events. They will look at some of the tools available to facilitate networking and share their experiences of running virtual networking events.

Register here

If you are unable to attend, please still register and submit your questions. We can send you a link to the recording afterwards.

Committee membership – Under 18s
We wanted to make you aware that we now have some members of the RSC who are under the age of 18 years old. While we hope to engage these members in attending suitable events and activities as part of their membership, we are not able to allow them to sit on our committees or to volunteer in any way. This is because this type of engagement with a minor takes us outside our normal core activities as a professional body, and our existing safeguarding processes and insurance would not cover this exceptional circumstance. These members should be notified of this upon admission to membership but we have recently amended our processes to ensure that they are not included in calls for nominations for committee positions.

If you have any questions about our safeguarding policy please do get in touch and one of our colleagues will be happy to respond.

Register by Dec 6 for the RSC Inclusion and Diversity Forum
Further diversifying chemistry – a focus on race inequality
8 December 2020, 14:00 GMT

Join us on 8 December for our virtual Inclusion and Diversity Forum, which this year will focus on race inequality in the chemical sciences and the role that each of us has to play to ensure a working culture that is more inclusive and fair to everyone.

Keynote lecturers will be Professor Christopher Jackson, Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, Dr Yalinu Poya and Professor Robert Mokaya. We will also hear from current Inclusion and Diversity Fund grant holders to learn from their community-driven projects.

We want to hear from you! Our breakout discussions will explore retaining talent, evidence-based approaches, a welcoming community, champions and allies and taking a look back at 2020.

Register and see the full programme

Our 2021 prizes are now open for nominations
Do you know someone who deserves recognition for their work in the chemical sciences? What’s an amazing piece of science that you want to celebrate? Our prizes celebrate people who are making a positive impact and achieving great things.

Categories open for nomination are:
  • Research & Innovation Prizes: Celebrating exceptional people advancing the chemical sciences across industry and academia
  • Our new Horizon Prizes: Celebrating discoveries and innovations that push the boundaries of science
  • Inclusion & Diversity Prize: Celebrating people improving access and progression for all in the chemical sciences
  • Volunteer Recognition Prizes: Celebrating people who go above and beyond to form communities and support and inspire others.

This is your chance to tell the world about the amazing work that you, or someone you know, is doing to advance the chemical sciences. Who will you nominate?

Explore prizes and nominate

Planning your 2021 activities?
Have you thought about asking the Royal Society of Chemistry Careers team how they can support you in 2021?

The team are available to present or take part in panel discussions on a wide range of career-related topics such as job searching in your sector, identifying your transferable skills and CPD, developing leadership skills or can talk generally about the careers support available to Royal Society of Chemistry members. We can work with you to shape our support to your needs.

Drop us an email to find out more about how we can support you.

Find out more about what we do

Bullying - Support for You and How to Support Your Colleagues
This upcoming live webinar is to learn how to support a colleague if you witness bullying in the workplace, and support for you if you experience bullying. Prof Tom Welton, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Dr Laura Norton, Senior Programme Manager, Inclusion & Diversity, Royal Society of Chemistry will share resources, advice and support available from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Can't make it? The recording will be available via our YouTube channel after the live broadcast.

Register now for 2 December 12:30 GMT

Latest issue of Analytical Matters now available online
Find out about the latest Analytical Division activities including:
  • Ways to recognise excellence in analytical science through our Research & Innovation Prizes and new Horizon Prizes
  • Networking opportunities at our upcoming online events: Analytical Division Online Symposium and Measuring Cancer Earlier
  • Funding opportunities including new Researcher Development Grants
  • CPD Resources including the latest AMC Technical Briefs

If you have any items you wish to be included in the next newsletter please email by 31 January 2021.

Read the newsletter

Sponsor the 2021 #RSCPoster Twitter Conference
#RSCPoster is the RSC’s flagship virtual event, pioneering the virtual conference field and bringing together the global chemistry community to network and share their research and engage in scientific debate.

In 2020 we attracted around 800 posters from 59 countries and reached a potential audience of over 32 million. The conference spans the chemical sciences, with participation from disciplines across the field of chemistry and at every career stage.

We’re currently looking for sponsors for the 2021 event – if any Interest Groups are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please email for more information.

Find out more about #RSCPoster at

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.

School science technician workforce report
School science technicians are often overlooked as a profession. That’s why we – in partnership with the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and with input from the Association for Science Education (ASE) – commissioned a piece of research analysing how the school science technician workforce in England has changed since 2011/12.

The report found that technician numbers are falling and pay and conditions are often unsatisfactory, and that schools with a less affluent pupil intake tend to have less technician support than those with a more affluent intake.

Read the report and our recommendations

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 Dec 1, 2020 11:00 AM GMT