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ACS News

ACS leadership engages with the Brazilian chemistry community

by Christopher LaPrade, ACS staff
July 12, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 28

Scientific research and collaboration knows no borders. In May, during the 42nd meeting of the Brazilian Chemical Society (SBQ), ACS members met with members of the SBQ to discuss areas of potential collaboration.

“Chemistry is a global enterprise, and having a global presence through partnerships that support our thousands of international ACS members and affiliates is one of our strategies to improve the member experience and influence worldwide,” said ACS immediate past president Peter Dorhout. “The SBQ is an important partner society that shares many of our common goals around promoting the chemical enterprise, educating the next generation of chemical practitioners, and connecting with the public about chemistry.”

Norberto Lopes, president of the SBQ and a chemistry professor at the University of São Paulo in Ribeirão Prêto, hosted the ACS delegation in Joinvile and was central in identifying new areas in which ACS and the SBQ could work together. “It was a pleasure to have ACS leadership here at SBQ,” Lopes said. “We are happy to work together and plan future collaborative opportunities to jointly serve the chemistry community in Brazil.”

Dorhout was joined by Journal of Physical Chemistry senior editor John Fourkas of the University of Maryland, College Park. Representing ACS Publications, Fourkas provided attendees with insight into the publications world with his talk, “10 Tips for Scholarly Publishing with the ACS Editors.”

“Brazilian scientists are facing large cuts in government funds for research and education, which I had suspected might influence the mood at the SBQ meeting. To the contrary, the participants in the meeting maintained the enthusiasm for their work that I have seen so often in Brazilian researchers,” Fourkas said.

As part of the engagement tour, ACS staff met with the ACS Brazil chapter and three student chapters. ACS staff delivered workshops that shared best practices on communicating chemistry’s value to the public and policy makers. With 30% cuts to higher education and research budgets, Brazilian researchers are facing severe challenges in maintaining lab operations. Igor Dias Jürberg, ACS Brazil chapter chair and professor at the University of Campinas, remarked, “Unfortunately, recent cuts in funding have set a new low bar in our history. It is becoming increasingly difficult to build and sustain an advanced research program in Brazil.”

During a workshop on how ACS could continue to support the chemical community in Brazil, Jürberg expressed concern, and some optimism, for younger researchers: “Fellowships for students and researchers for conferences have been greatly reduced. I believe that more than ever, ACS resources are greatly appreciated, and the options made available by ACS to their Brazilian members will meet some of these needs.”

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