Dr Mike Pitts currently works for Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network, managing activities in sustainability and biobased products. He holds a degree in Chemistry from Loughborough University and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Exeter. Mike worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna, then as a chemist in two spin-out companies – StylaCats and Reaxa. He is presently the Chairman of SCI's Liverpool and North West (L&NW) Group but will be stepping down in May 2010 after serving a three-year term.
What has driven you to volunteer for SCI?
MP: I became a member of SCI in 1998 as a postgraduate student and enjoyed reading C&I when living in Austria, but it wasn't until I returned to the UK and wanted to network with more chemists that I became active. Living in Liverpool, I volunteered to speak at the Kickstart Your Career event in 2003. I wanted to help students stop worrying about what happens next. I could still remember what it was like at that stage! I enjoyed the experience, and thought the whole thing was very well run. By May I had agreed to be put forward for the position as Secretary of LNW and was elected at the AGM. I think most of the committee started by wanting to help those in education, at all ages.
What stands out most for you since being Chairman of L&NW?
MP: I am most proud of the school support we provide. Our annual Family Event at Catalyst is a real treat and our links there have underpinned the support we are providing in the further flung parts of our region in outreach programmes, such as with the University of Bangor.
How and why would you encourage others to get involved?
MP: The network you gain through SCI groups leads to all sorts of places and interesting people. I always advise others to get involved because of the importance of a peer group away from your place of work. However, the more you put in, the more you get out!