13 July 2012
At the All-Ireland Group AGM in April I stepped down after a second stint as Group Chair, and Shelly Long and Andrew Rous also ended their terms as secretary and treasurer respectively. While this could have thrown the group into some turmoil we are now in the capable hands of an active young committee, and we have a busy schedule for Dublin City of Science 2012.
These successes are thanks to two initiatives: the use of group prizes as a way to attract new committee members, and active cooperation with the technical interest groups (in my case particularly the Materials Chemistry Group) and sister societies such as the RSC and the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland.
The new chair is Dr Enda Bergin of Trinity College, Dublin, who joined the committee a few years ago as a winner of the Wesley Cocker Prize, which honours papers or patents by young researchers that are of potential application to Irish industry.
Enda organised Synthesis of BioActive Molecules VII (along with representatives of the RSC and IChemI at Trinity College for Dublin City of Science on 5 July.
Shelly Long, herself a former winner of another group prize, the Student Representative Award (which particularly aims to reward help with organising events), has been an excellent secretary, but now needs to concentrate on her PhD. Happily, she isn't losing contact with SCI altogether, as she has joined the Publications Committee. Her replacement, Robin Daly, was recipient of the Student Representative Award in 2011, along with Mukund Ghavre. Another PHD student, Dennis McCartney, takes over as Treasurer.
The AGM talk was one of three examples this year of cooperation with the Materials Chemistry Group. Professor Peter Cormack of Strathclyde gave a very interesting lecture on microporous polymer microspheres for use in separation.
On 24 May in Limerick, the two groups held the Irish Adhesion, Surface Coatings and Composites Conference 2012, the second time we have held such an event, which we now expect to hold every year. We had an excellent programme featuring industrial, academic and civil service speakers, thus helping to create a 'materials community' in Ireland that may eventually be able to match the pharmaceutical community in attracting attention and funding.
Speakers included a former chair of the Materials Chemistry Group, Prof Bob Bradley from Oxford (to whom congratulations are due for winning the Distinguished Service Award this year), and Michael Leonard of UCD who won the MCG poster prize last year, and who then joined the Materials Chemistry Group committee as an active member!
We were also glad to be able to make a presentation to Hugh Gearney of the University of Limerick, this year's winner of the Wesley Cocker Prize.
And on 12 July at Dublin City University, again supported by Dublin City of Science, Prof Sir Harold Kroto (Nobel Laureate) spoke on 'Carbon in Nano and Outer Space'. Later that day we are held 'Green Chemistry in Ireland II', which focused on projects funded by the Environmental Protection Agency in Ireland, along with other work in the area of sustainable catalysis and emerging environmental technologies.
Many thanks to the staff in Belgrave Square for all their help with this packed programme.
David Birkett, outgoing Chairman, All Ireland Committee