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Communication, collaboration, and cooperation: 3 key elements for globalization

by Ingrid Montes, ACS, Director-At-Large
July 26, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 30


Photo of Ingrid Montes.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Ingrid Montes

Throughout the years, the American Chemical Society has fulfilled its mission to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. However, changes have occurred worldwide that present new challenges and opportunities.

One change can be seen in the society’s demographics. ACS is becoming increasingly global and includes more than 20,000 members who live outside the US and represent more than 140 countries. ACS has 23 international chemical sciences chapters and 66 international student chapters. Chemistry Enterprise Partnerships (CEPs) have been established with our sister societies to strengthen our international collaborations.

As the ACS Board of Directors’ liaison to the society programs’ globalization effort, I firmly believe that when we think about globalization, we should focus on the three Cs: communication, collaboration, and cooperation.

Communication is essential to promoting an environment of confidence and trust. Once efficient communication is established, goals can be achieved more effectively and with full confidence and support. Collaboration is essential to catalyzing broader networks that enable partnerships, connections, and innovation. Finally, cooperation is essential to empowering volunteers. Working together domestically and internationally can ensure inclusiveness that will lead to better decision-making, implementation of initiatives, and adaptation to change. The three Cs are key to ACS’s success as we work with chemists and other organizations worldwide to serve the global chemistry enterprise.

I firmly believe that when we think about globalization, we should focus on the three Cs: communication, collaboration, and cooperation.

Through the goals outlined in the ACS Strategic Plan, we are developing initiatives to better serve our constituents.

Goal 1: Provide information solutions.

ACS continues to deliver indispensable chemistry-related information solutions to address global challenges and other issues facing the world’s scientific community. ACS has strategically established offices and recruited staff in different countries to better serve different regions of the world. ACS’s 50-plus peer-reviewed journals continue to be ranked the “most trusted, most cited, and most read.” Supporting the core value of diversity and inclusion, the number of international editors is increasing. Moreover, about 70% of articles are contributed from authors located outside the US. C&EN is now showcasing some articles in other languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Arabic.

Goal 2: Empower members and member communities.

Through its networks and collaborations, ACS is helping its members succeed globally. We host successful activities such as ACS on Campus events and provide resources through the Career Navigator, the International Center, and ACS Webinars. The Green Chemistry Institute has expanded its global reach as Indian and Chinese companies engage in the work of the GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable.

In 2016, ACS convened 30 scientists from 18 countries to draft a global chemists’ stakeholder code of ethics. The code encourages the global chemistry enterprise to adopt internationally recognized practices for chemical safety and security as well as compliance with national arms control and nonproliferation commitments. This effort was coordinated with assistance and support from the US Department of State’s Chemical Security Program and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Goal 3: Support excellence in education.

ACS education programs are being offered internationally to provide ACS members around the world with programs that have been traditionally only offered domestically. International student chapters hosted symposia and other events on education topics, and the chapters in Nigeria and Malaysia successfully piloted Project SEED programs. Soft-skills training was offered in conjunction with the International Chemistry Festival Training Institute held in June in Peru.

Goal 4: Communicate chemistry’s value.

Science advocacy and communication workshops have been piloted internationally to help chemists share their research and to advocate for chemistry.

Since 2015, ACS has hosted 52 international chemistry festivals in 25 countries with over 2,300 volunteers reaching over 59,000 people. The festivals have provided communities within different countries the opportunity to participate in hands-on chemistry activities.

These are just a few of the areas where ACS is leveraging existing programs to be more relevant to a global community. ACS continues to integrate a global mind-set into ongoing initiatives.

I don’t want to finish this Comment without mentioning that the United Nations sustainable development goals are another great opportunity for building communication, collaboration, and cooperation. We can do much more to support ACS’s vision of improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry worldwide. I welcome your thoughts at

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.



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