ACS Advances Collaboration | October 26, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 43 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 43 | p. 32 | ACS Comments
Issue Date: October 26, 2009

ACS Advances Collaboration

By Madeleine Jacobs
Department: ACS News
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

Nearly all of us know that ACS stands for the American Chemical Society (as well as a number of other societies, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Cetacean Society). But sometimes I like to tell people that our initials have two meanings: the name of our organization and an important aspect of our mission; that is, "Advancing Collaborations in Science."

That collaboration is our middle name comes as no surprise to the many hundreds of organizations with which we've worked over the years. To list a few examples, ACS is the coleader with the National Science Teachers Association of a huge coalition of organizations and individuals working to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education; we are working closely with the Chemical Heritage Foundation and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) on plans for celebrating the International Year of Chemistry 2011; and we have a long-standing relationship with the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers and other organizations dedicated to advancing underrepresented minorities in science and engineering.

In August, the ACS Board of Directors voted on a memorandum of understanding between ACS and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) for collaborative activities to promote understanding of and to address issues related to sustainability. Closer to home, ACS is working with the American Section of the Society of Chemical Industry to launch the SCI Scholars program, a new initiative that will provide undergraduate chemistry and chemical engineering majors with summer industrial internships. Members of ACS and AIChE will serve on the selection panels for these prestigious internships, which will give students exposure to some of the exciting work that goes on in industry.

And we routinely reach out to our sister societies around the world. For instance, the long-standing Transatlantic Frontiers of Chemistry meetings, which bring together young chemists to discuss cutting-edge research, are a collaboration of ACS with the German Chemical Society and RSC.

Most recently, the ACS Board and staff have worked systematically to identify specific, strategic opportunities for collaborations with our international counterparts. One of those opportunities came to full fruition in July, when the chair of the ACS Board and I signed a broad strategic alliance with our counterparts at the London-based Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) (C&EN, July 27, page 14).

It seems only natural that such an alliance would come to pass. Both ACS and SCI are membership organizations supporting chemistry and those working in related sciences on a global platform. Both were formed in the 19th century and have a long, distinguished history of accomplishment. Both organizations currently organize conferences; provide networking opportunities for scientists, especially chemists, involved in innovation; and publish scientific journals and magazines.

Both societies believe that there are many significant issues with societal and global impact that have chemistry as part of the solution. Indeed, ACS Corporation Associates has had a collaboration for the past several years known as "Global Innovation Imperatives" (gii) whose mission is "to create community and knowledge transfer to stimulate global scientific innovations to meet societal imperatives." The main output of this program to date has been ACS-SCI cosponsorship of scientific programs around the world focusing on water and sustainability. Gii also has its own group on the ACS Network where people can discuss and share ideas (

Under the new three-year collaboration signed this summer, ACS and SCI will cosponsor meetings on broad topics of mutual concern and offer preferred nonmember rates to each other's members for products as well as for activities such as meetings and short courses. In 2010, ACS will extend ACS-member registration rates for selected meetings, including the ACS national meetings in San Francisco and Boston. Similarly, SCI will extend its member registration rates to ACS members for conferences, including its 2010 SCI Global Summit meeting in Barcelona on May 20–23. ACS and SCI will also provide each other reduced rates for use of conference rooms and offices at their facilities worldwide. In Washington, D.C., ACS has also created a new members' lounge in the Othmer building where ACS and SCI members can meet, relax, and do business. SCI has created a similar space at its headquarters in London.

I am personally very excited and enthusiastic about this collaboration because it extends the global reach of ACS and enables our members to take advantage of some of the many outstanding programs that SCI sponsors in England and elsewhere in the world. ACS has more than 1,500 members in the U.K., 6,200 elsewhere in Europe, and about 20,000 members internationally, including many in India, where SCI is especially active. SCI's 6,000 members—including its 750 U.S. members who are business leaders and members in 91 countries—will also benefit from the alliance. In today's global environment, it is hard to see how any one scientific society can thrive without these kinds of collaborations.

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