Members gain from merging two pairs of Technical Interest Groups

The start of 2010 saw two pairs of related SCI Technical Interest Groups unite to expand member networks and generate more value.

This is the first outcome of a detailed review of SCI’s Technical Interest Groups by the Membership Advisory Committee (MAC). Mergers between the BioResources and Agriculture and Environment groups, and between the Fine Chemicals and BioActive Sciences groups have now been signed off by SCI’s Board of Trustees.

In both cases there was already considerable overlap in the scope of the merging groups. Now, the less active groups have been brought under the wing of their more active partners. These changes reflect those continually taking place in the shape of industry and in the interests, expertise and experience of active members in the groups. The newly-merged groups will offer members better service and value, increasing the breadth of knowledge and subjects covered, through the greater interface between their interest areas and associated industry sectors.

BioResources – Agriculture and Environment
BioResources covers all aspects of growing, protecting and using crops of any variety for any purpose, (food or non-food). The scope of the merged group will now include topics, such as soil science and fertilisers, and any other interests relevant to contemporary agricultural science and agribusiness. Key organisations, such as Rothamsted, the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) and National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC), are currently represented on the BioResources committee, together with Universities, including Bristol, Imperial College, Newcastle, Portsmouth and York.

Other members have extensive industry experience in agronomy, crop physiology, agrochemical discovery, environmental sciences, formulation and senior management in the agrochemical majors and speciality chemicals.

Alan Baylis, Chairman of BioResources had this to say about the merger: ‘The BioResources Group, having evolved as an offspring of the Agriculture Group in several stages over the past few decades, is now reunited with its alma mater. The point of the merger is to create critical mass in the broad subject area. We aim to create a valuable network of members involved in all aspects of modern agricultural sciences and agribusiness to catch the rising tide of interest and importance being attached to increasing food security and the bioeconomy.’

A Group Seminar and Open Committee meeting was held for members of the newly-merged group on 23 February, including a seminar on innovations in plant science for world farming.

Fine Chemicals – BioActive Sciences
The Fine Chemicals Group is one of the largest and most active Technical Interest Groups in SCI. Its wide ranging interests are principally focused towards biological chemistry and include medicinal chemistry and drug discovery, biotechnology, process and development chemistry, agrochemicals, and general organic chemistry, especially emerging technologies, and new and important aspects of synthetic chemistry. Their programme of symposia demonstrates the wide breadth and diversity of their meetings.

The Fine Chemicals Groups aims to:

  • Promote biological organic chemistry and its application to the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industries and to SCI Members
  • Organise high-quality specialist symposia with internationally-renowned speakers around the world
  • Organise high quality general overview meetings for students and organic chemists in academia and industry to refresh and improve their knowledge base and assist in their professional development
  • Raise the profile of biological organic chemistry and the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industry with the general public
  • Facilitate links between organic chemists in industry and academia, and recent graduates and their peers in industry and academia through the Group’s series of meetings.

Karl Swift, Chairman of the Fine Chemicals Group commented: ‘I would like to welcome all of the BioActive Sciences members and I am particularly interested to hear from anyone interested in joining our very active Committee.’

Both the BioResources Group and Fine Chemicals Group operate an online forum for their members. Here, new and existing members can discuss their interests in a shared space with those that develop the programme of activity for the year. Members are encouraged to visit and start up a dialogue with their Group Committees, as it is through making use of these interactive tools that the value of these increased networks will become apparent.

If you would like to contact the committees of either BioResources or Fine Chemicals Groups to find out what value you can derive from the mergers, visit us online or email

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