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ACS And Asian Chemical Societies Ally For Common Good

by Nancy B. Jackson , T. S. Andy Hor
December 24, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 52

Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Nancy Jackson, Immediate Past-President of ACS.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

The American Chemical Society signed a memorandum of understanding for a three-year collaboration with the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies (FACS) in 2011. The memorandum formalized an alliance between ACS and FACS, a 29-member-strong federation representing diverse chemical societies across the Asia-Pacific region. The alliance provides a platform for chemistry practitioners in Asia and the U.S. to advance common interests such as chemical education, research, and development on both continents.

Credit: Courtesy of Andy Hor
Andy Tzi Sum Hor, President-Elect, Federation of Asian Chemical Societies.
Credit: Courtesy of Andy Hor

Chemistry is the epicenter of science, as is evident from its central role in tackling global challenges such as energy, sustainability, clean water, food, and health. As FACS Immediate Past-President Chunli Bai points out in his presidential message: “Chemistry plays an essential role in clean and renewable energies for the low carbon economy. Green chemistry will eventually revolutionize the chemical industry for pollution-free processes. Understanding the chemical processes in life sciences at the molecular level is essential for developing new drugs and diagnostic methods and for green fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture.”

As members of the global community of scientists, chemists share the responsibility of addressing the critical issues confronting us all, and it will take global collaboration to meet these challenges successfully.

When FACS, which represents the chemical science community in the fastest-growing region in the world, collaborates with ACS, the widely endorsed powerhouse of not only U.S. but also global chemistry and chemical engineering, one doesn’t need a rocket scientist to work out the potential benefits for humankind.

Chemical scientists from our societies can gain a great deal working together—combining resources such as biodiversity, human capital potential, and science and technology innovation leadership—to develop solutions for challenges that affect not only our regions but also the global community.

The memorandum of understanding calls for ACS and FACS members to participate in joint events at ACS national meetings and Asian chemical congresses, the largest chemistry gatherings in Asia. In the future, the alliance will expand to include exchange programs for graduate students and researchers, additional R&D networking opportunities, and other collaborative projects.

The alliance had a robust start, hosting a number of events in 2011. They included the first Asia America Chemical Symposium, which focused on energy and food research and took place at the ACS national meeting in Anaheim, Calif., and a second symposium in Bangkok that focused on water quality. The symposium was part of the 14th Asian Chemical Congress, which had a sustainability theme.

This year, ACS and FACS worked closely to organize the third Asia America Chemical Symposium, “East Meets West: Innovative Research for Health & Medicine,” held during the fall ACS national meeting in Philadelphia. This ACS presidential event was jointly sponsored by FACS and the ACS Committee on International Activities, was managed by the ACS Office of International Activities, and was cosponsored by the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry. The one-day discussion and exchange of ideas on the diverse research applications of biomaterials featured 10 dynamic speakers from Thailand, Singapore, China, Malaysia, and the U.S.

ACS and FACS have begun to discuss plans for the fourth symposium, on advanced materials, to be held at the 15th Asian Chemical Congress from Aug. 19 to 23, 2013. Returning to Singapore, where it originated in 1981, the congress will be organized by the Singapore National Institute of Chemistry, under the auspices of FACS. The 2013 symposium will serve as a conduit for the ACS-FACS alliance to reach a new generation of participants, because it will be held in conjunction with the First Asian Chemistry Research Fair. The fair is a new initiative that will enable selected students in preuniversity and senior secondary schools from FACS member countries to showcase their research projects.

Going forward, ACS and FACS plan to leverage the talents and resources of the alliance by integrating with global chemistry networks such as the European Association for Chemical & Molecular Sciences, the Federation of Latin American Chemical Societies, and the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry. Each network is unique and has its own characteristics and strengths, but we believe that collectively, these networks can be a powerful advocate for improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.

Global challenges require global solutions that, in turn, require consideration of diverse ideas. We look forward to hearing your ideas on how the ACS-FACS alliance can better serve its members and the chemistry community at large. Please contact the ACS Office of International Activities at and Supawan Tantayanon, current FACS president, at with your suggestions.



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