AGM 2019: Review

05 July 2019

5 Jul 2019

SCI’s 138th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 3 July 2019 was preceded by the presentation of SCI Scholars’ Showcase poster prize.

Professor Alan Heaton, Chair of the Early Careers Committee, presented the poster prize. The first runner up was Naval Sing and the overall winner was Anna Zhenova.

The Chairman’s Review

Next, Dr Alan Baylis, Chair of the Board of Trustees, opened the AGM itself with the Chairman’s Review of the Year.

Dr Baylis noted the four pillars of SCI’s strategy going forward. ‘We have to align the organisation, re-connect with industry, engage and grow the membership and grow assets and capabilities,’ he said.

Dr Baylis noted the ongoing work in conjunction with the Chemistry Council, particularly directed towards securing a deal for the sector going forward, and SCI’s aim to push forward on four innovation themes of advanced materials and molecules; green supply chains; energy storage and distribution; and digitisation and big data – the latter of which a new Technical Group is being planned for launch.  

With regard to refurbishment, Dr Baylis pointed both to ongoing improvements to SCI HQ – such as the SCIence Garden and the upgraded meeting room facilities – and the first stages of the website and CRM projects, enhancing SCI’s communications capabilities.

The Financial Review

It was then time for Dr Geoff Fowler, Honorary Treasurer, to report on the Society’s financial year, first thanking the team at SCI HQ for their work which underpins his role, and for SCI’s CEO, Sharon Todd, for ensuring financial stability of the organisation.

The Reserves Policy, protects the value of SCI’s investments and ensures there are always funds available, will be reviewed this year.

Dr Fowler also announced that SCI will be transitioning from previous investment managers to a new company and is hoping that the new organisation will enable us to develop those investments to release more funds, which in turn can fund further investment and support our charitable objectives.


This year, all candidates nominated for governance positions were elected unopposed.

Dr Alan Baylis then announced the new Members of the Board of Trustees and other Governance Committees:

Board of Trustees

  • Dr David Birkett
  • Prof Jenny Mordue
  • Dr Jan Ramakers
  • Prof Clive Thompson
  • Dr David Witty
  • Dr Tiffany Wood

Finance and Investment Advisory Committee

  • Professor Geoff Fowler


  • Mr Derek Heywood
  • Mr Peter Reineck

Early Careers Committee

  • Ms Libby Linfield

Dr Baylis then thanked all outgoing members of the Board of Trustees (Dr Inna Baigozina-Goreli, Mr John Brown, and Professor Alan Heaton) and standing committees, for their hard work and efforts on behalf of the society.

All other AGM resolutions were passed.

The Executive Summary

SCI CEO, Ms Sharon Todd, then reflected on society’s rich 140-year history, inviting attendees to consider, ‘In 140 years’ time, what people will talk about in terms of what we have helped to develop and create’.  

Ms Todd gave an update on the CRM project and IT infrastructure upgrades in the building – for example meeting room facilities and Wi-Fi capabilities – and the new improved functionality and design of website events and membership sections, which precede an upcoming overhaul to the rest of 

She noted that SCI has held around 130 significant events around the world, focusing on innovation, in the last 12 months, reaching more than 4,000 conference delegates – many from outside of membership – and over 500 early career delegates. ‘This is very important, because so much of what we do is about nurturing young talent and the next generation to be impactful in the area of innovation going forward.’  

Ms Todd said ‘It is time to move on to building the future – we need to re-engage membership – a vibrant outgoing membership organisation should always be growing.

‘It’s all about meeting the societal challenges and using science and industry in a sustainable way to solve them – population, societal dislocation, increased consumer demands and sustainable use of limited resources are all challenges that we have an opportunity to address.’   

Recognising our scholars

Professor Alan Heaton then introduced presentations by previous inductees to the college of Scholars.

First was Thomas Britten, who discussed his work using light to access new building blocks for drug discovery, thanking SCI for its support during and indeed leading up to his PhD studies.

Following on the theme of photochemistry, Amy Flynn discussed her work looking into special photoreactors for the synthesis of pharmaceutical molecules.

Sarah Madden then described her work developing new antibody-like therapeutic mooecules for the treatment of cancer.

Finally, Anna Zhenova discussed her longstanding fascination with industrial green chemistry and her work developing green solvents for polymer dissolution – an area in which she is now starting her own company.

Fabien Talbot, Holly Bonfield and Brett Parkinson were announced as this year’s three inductees to the College of Scholars, which provides £5,000 of funding over two years, as well as numerous networking and training opportunities.

DSAs and Lampitt Medal

Next was the presentation of three Society Member Recognition Awards by Dr Dave Witty, who prefaced the presentations by giving an overview of the purpose of the Membership Sub-Committee, to represent member interests in the design of policy decisions by the Board of Trustees.

Sudipta Roy, University of Strathclyde and the Member of the Electrochemical Technology Group Committee, presented the first Distinguished Service Award (DSA) of the day to Group colleague Dr Pauline Allen.

Simon Peace, the Chairman of the Fine Chemicals Group then awarded the DSA to Group colleague Dr Steve East.

Sharon Todd then awarded Dr Alan Baylis, current Chair of the Board of Trustees, the Lampitt Medal.

Inducting the new President

The evening Summer Reception began by Sharon Todd announcing Paul Booth OBE as SCI’s new President, returning to the post after holding the position four years ago.

She thanked Neil Carson OBE for his excellent service as President for the past four years, and congratulated Paul Booth on his return to the post.

The incoming President then addressed the audience ‘I am genuinely honoured and humbled to be invited and accept the presidency again.’

30 Years of YCP

To celebrate 30 years of the Young Chemists’ Panel (YCP), Chris Hill, Executive Director of Chemistry at Charles River Laboratories and the first chair of the YCP (1992-94), gave a presentation looking back at the group from the beginning – an idea formed in 1989 by FCG members Brian Turner and Trevor Laird.  

The YCP was set up to engage younger chemists, to give them a voice, and to develop and educate the next generation of new talent.

Hill said that YCP had allowed him to see new ways of working and solving projects by meeting people working in a similar area for different companies.

The event closed with a networking reception over cocktails at a science-themed chemistry bar.

Please note that the 139th AGM will be held on Wednesday 1 July 2020.

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