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Merit Is The Only Criterion

February 12, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 7

We would like to respond to the concerns raised by a recent letter to the editor regarding the 2006 Roche Excellence in Chemistry Symposium and awards (C&EN, Dec. 4, 2006, page 5). We hope that this letter will fully address any perceived inequity.

First, we assure you that Roche does not tolerate discriminatory practices for any reason, either internally or in relation to Roche-sponsored events. The Roche Excellence in Chemistry Symposium and awards are a yearly occurrence that alternates between the Roche campuses in Palo Alto, Calif., and Nutley, N.J. Each year, Roche solicits award nominations from among the best organic chemistry groups throughout the U.S.

In a typical year, the company sends letters to about 40 organic chemistry faculty, requesting that they nominate worthy students to participate in the current year's symposium. Nominations must include the student's curriculum vitae, a summary of the student's research focus and accomplishments, and a supporting letter from the student's faculty adviser. All award decisions are based solely on accomplishment.

Roche has hosted three symposia since the program's inception. In 2004, 33% of the nominations were for female students and six of the 12 award recipients selected were female. In 2005, 16% of the nominees were female and two of the 12 recipients were female. In 2006, 13% of the nominees were female, and all recipients happened to be male.

Roche will continue to base its selection of awardees for the Excellence in Chemistry Symposium solely on merit. We will also continue our efforts to provide an equal-opportunity environment where all employees, and by extension, all attendees of Roche-sponsored events, will thrive in regard to professional achievement and recognition.

Nader Fotouhi, Vice President, Research Discovery ChemistryHoffmann-La Roche Inc.Nutley, N.J.

Eric Sjogren, Vice President, Chemistry
Roche Palo Alto LLC
Palo Alto, Calif.



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