SCI’s 139th Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on 1st July 2020
The Chairman’s review
Dr Alan Baylis, Chair of the Board of Trustees, opened the AGM with his year in review. In light of the ongoing pandemic, Dr Baylis highlighted the importance of SCI’s unique multi-disciplinary nature and the organisation’s position in not only being a hub ‘Where Science meets Business’ but also an interface to help increase the public understanding of science.
In recognition of the increased numbers attending SCI’s first online AGM, Dr Baylis reminded attendees of the four pillars of SCI’s strategy, these being to: align the organisation, re-connect with industry, engage and grow the membership, as well as growing assets and capabilities.
Dr Baylis commended SCI’s ongoing development of this strategy. One example noted was the corporate partners programme and the very successful corporate partners’ day, where there was discussion on many topics, including how SCI could best support its industrial partners. Dr Baylis also mentioned some of the successful steps SCI had taken as it continued to engage and grow its membership including the mentorship and ambassador programs. The ongoing development of innovative projects with the Chemistry Council was also noted.
Moving to governance, Dr Baylis said that in light of the pandemic it had been decided that the usual elections would be suspended for 2020 and those people currently holding posts would be invited to remain for the next 12 months. Dr Baylis was happy to report that most people had accepted the invitation to remain in office. He added that there were also some spaces on governance committees and members had been invited to apply for vacant positions.
Dr Baylis then explained plans for a President’s Council. This council would advise the Board of Trustees in terms of strategic support and development of the network of senior stakeholders. In addition, a Nominations Committee will also be put in place, the remit being to search, select and recommend Board appointments and co-options.
Dr Baylis then explained that a proposal was being put forward for the position of Chair of the Board of Trustees to become an appointed three year position, starting in 2021. This will require some changes to SCI’s by-laws which will then have to be presented to the Privy Council. An Extraordinary General Meeting will then be convened to seek the approval of the SCI membership, Dr Baylis explained.
Finally Dr Baylis highlighted SCI’s scenario planning and how the organisation was developing a strategy that would put it on a flexible and resilient footing. He said that the current systems of remote working and video conferencing, which may not continue in their entirety as businesses emerge from the current situation, could pave the way for greater efficiency in the future. Dr Baylis highlighted the success of the many webinars which SCI had hosted and congratulated all those involved in putting on the many conferences that had already taken place. Since launching webinars in May, the 20 events held so far had attracted some 3000 delegates. Dr Baylis also highlighted the importance and the resilience of SCI’s publishing arm, with the academic journals continuing to perform well.
Dr Geoff Fowler, SCI Honorary Treasurer, started by saying that 2019 had been a strong year for SCI in terms of turnover and the gains made on its investments, also reporting that SCI was pleased with the performance of its new investments manager.
Publications performed well during 2019, along with strong performances in conferences and membership.
Outlining the SCI’s reserves policy Dr Fowler said that is currently stood at just below £7 million, and despite the current circumstances, the SCI had yet to dip into this pot. Dr Fowler added that the finance committee was set to review the reserves policy.
Reviewing the subscription rates for the year 2020/2021, Dr Fowler said that these would remain unchanged from the current level.
Ms Sharon Todd SCI, Chief Executive Officer, gave an overview of the organisation’s strategy along with a brief history of the SCI and its charitable objective to ‘Promote links between chemistry related sciences and industry for the benefit of society.’
In highlighting the breadth of reach of SCI across science, both academic and industrial, Ms Todd said that there were great opportunities for the organisation to have an impact as the world sought to deal with an array of societal needs. ‘These needs will require solutions based on chemistry,’ Ms Todd said, and that collaboration across all the sciences was the key to implementing solutions quickly and sustainably.
Commenting on what the future could look like, Ms Todd said that there was little certainty of the pre-pandemic world returning any time soon. However she said that times of stress afforded new opportunities such as use of the online platforms to link the global SCI community in a meaningful way, sharing knowledge and expertise. Recognising the evolution of new technologies, Ms Todd highlighted the emergence of new technical groups covering AI and digitalisation, along with sustainable materials. She also stressed the need to ensure that SCI continues to support and encourage the new generation of chemists, scientists and entrepreneurs. ‘Curating, creating and sharing knowledge is fundamental to SCI and what we do,’ Ms Todd said.
2020 marks 70 years since the establishment of SCI’s Agriscience group, and the award of the Sydney Andrew Medal. Ms Todd said that more information on the postponed celebrations and the medal would be released at a later date.
Ms Todd noted that 2021 marks SCI’s 140th anniversary. Whilst plans to celebrate the occasion were still being decided upon and will of course include celebrations of past achievements, the major focus will be looking to the future.
Ms Todd concluded by thanking the members, volunteers and staff for all of their hard work and commitment.
Society Member Recognition Awards
Distinguished Service Award (DSA)George Okafo, Chair Membership Committee, presented three awards. The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) recognises members who have made an exceptional contribution to SCI activities via one or more of SCI’s committees. The winners for 2020 were:
- Dr Nat Monck, Team leader at Evotec, who has worked with SCI’s Fine Chemicals Group (FCG) for 16 years, making significant contributions to organising and running FCG events.
- Mr Peter Reineck, managing director of Peter Reineck Associates Ltd. Peter is an active participant on the SCI Canada International Committee, as well as serving on a number of other committees including the Agrisciences Committee and the Energy Committee.
- Professor Clive Thomson, Chief Scientist, ALS. As well as being a longstanding Ordinary Member of the Board of Trustees, he has held positions on an number of groups and was awarded the SCI Environment Medal in 2006.
The Lampitt MedalThis is awarded to members who have given their time, vision, enthusiasm and leadership to more than one area of SCI’s activities. This award was presented to:
- Mr John Brown is a longstanding Past Honorary Treasurer and Past Chair of the Finance and Investments Advisory Committee. Having made significant contributions to establishing the London Group and to Charter SCI By-Laws, he has also brought business into SCI HQ.
SCI Scholars 2020-2022Professor Alan Heaton, Chair Early Careers Committee, Principal College of Scholars, presented awards to the three SCI Scholars.
- Paulina Quintanilla: Imperial College London. Project: Dynamic physics-based flotation models for effective predictive control.
- Burhan Hussein: Durham University. Project: Manipulating interaction across lipid membranes
- Arron Aatkar: University of Strathclyde. Project: Accelerating drug discovery with covalent fragment libraries.
Graduating Scholars 2018-2020Professor Jenny Mordue, Trustee, introduced the graduating scholars, each one giving a short presentation on their work.
- Ms Emma Grant: University of Strathclyde. Project: Design and Synthesis of Photoactivatable Probes. Ms Grant shared her research focused on novel technologies to expand the drug discovery processand noted that her SCI scholarship had allowed her to present her work around the world.
- Ms Ivalina Minova: University of St Andrews. Project: Advanced Spectroscopic Studies of Zeolite Catalysts. Ms Minova developed a synchrotron-based method to study a catalyst in real-time as it converts methanol and ethanol to olefins and biofuels. Ms Minova thanked SCI for the many opportunities she has had to not only share her work but also participate in a wide variety of SCI activities including the SCI Bright SCIdea Challenge 2018.
- Ms Jona Ramadani: Imperial College London. Project: Surfactant Migration of Polymeric Substrates. Ms Ramadani’s research is focused on using science to create better products, with a specific focus on non-woven fabrics used in nappies. The research objectives included identifying the best techniques to map qualitatively and quantitatively surfactant distribution on non-wovens. Ms Ramadani said that the SCI Scholarship allowed her to attend national and international conferences, as well as training leading to the award of a higher education teaching certificate.
- AGM 2020 documents - members will need to sign in to view