Dr Stephen Smith, from the Fine Chemicals Group, received his Distinguished Service Award (DSA) at the Awards Session held at SCI’s Annual General Meeting on 1 July 2009.
How long have you been involved with the Fine Chemicals Group?
SS: I joined the Fine Chemicals Group in 1996, so I’m just starting my 14th year on the committee. It’s been great fun - time seems to have passed really quickly!
What motivated you to get involved in SCI member-led activities?
SS: I was, and remain, keen to put something back into chemistry as it has given me so much pleasure over the years. From the start, my career in drug discovery had been highly interdisciplinary in nature, and I wanted to build on the great reputation that the Fine Chemicals Group had in that area and across the industry.
What challenges have you met in all these years of committee work?
SS: People appear to be under even greater time pressures now, than when I joined the committee. As a result, there is a greater tendency for people to only attend those events that are directly relevant to their immediate work. One of the challenges we face, and address with our programme, is to highlight the value to both participants and budget holders of the long-term importance of a substantial, yet broad, scientific awareness.
Has SCI helped you progress your career?
SS: Involvement with SCI has certainly added to my standing in the industry. The networking opportunities that it has afforded have proved of even greater value since setting up my own business, Stort MedChem Consulting, early last year.
Has it been rewarding?
SS: It certainly has. With the associated Young Chemists Panel we organise between 12 and 18 events each year, and as you can imagine this takes some sorting out. Even with changing committee membership over the years, there’s always been such enthusiasm, good nature and a will to get things done, it’s been a pleasure to be involved.
Finally, were you excited to have been selected to receive a DSA?
SS: Yes. I was very pleased and surprised when I received notification of the award. It’s great that something I’ve enjoyed being part of has been seen so successful. I fully intend to continue contributing to the Group and the Society for the foreseeable future.
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