Simon Campbell unveils his plans to raise the profile of the chemical sciences.

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s (RSC) vision is to become the premier organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences and I believe we are well placed to achieve our ambitious goal. Our long tradition of supporting educational activities and services, our acclaimed conference programme and scientific meetings, the breadth of member involvement in subject groups covering the chemical sciences, and the quality and range of our scientific publishing operation are just some of the jewels in the RSC crown. We should also include our policy work in science and education, the library and information centre and our global membership networks. Taken together, these initiatives should ensure that the RSC plays a pivotal role in advancing the chemical sciences that are so important for our health, wealth and sustainability.

And yet, in an increasingly media-driven society, the scientific community often fails to make an impact, or to deliver its messages to the wider public and key opinion formers. All too often, our views can be lost, and valuable contributions from our science and scientists unappreciated.

The Campaign for Chemical Science is about changing the way we communicate - it is essential that our voice is heard within the UK and across Europe. We want the RSC to play a pivotal role in ensuring that the science and engineering community work together to attract our best students to pursue scientific careers, increasing the numbers of specialist teachers, establishing international standards of excellence in teaching and research throughout the chemical sciences community and influencing a legislative and competitive environment that will stimulate sustainability, creativity, innovation and investment.

The core of the Campaign stresses the importance of chemical sciences in meeting the scientific, technological and human challenges of the 21st Century, and provides a data-driven case that highlights the vital contribution that chemical science industries make to economies in the UK and across the EU. We have shared our initial thoughts with various groups of RSC members and have incorporated useful ideas and feedback into the Campaign.

The Campaign will be formally launched in July at the RSC Awards Ceremony when key figures from government, funding councils, academia and industry will be present. A compendium of data has already been used to good effect to brief MEPs, to guide the RSC’s response to the Government’s Science and Innovation White Paper, and to call for increased chemical sciences investment in schools and HE in the current Comprehensive Spending Review. We have met with Charles Clarke, Secretary of State for Education and others to highlight our concerns and will continue to stress the importance of chemical sciences as the key discipline underpinning so many other scientific areas.

The Government recognises the seriousness of the issues raised and values our input in developing solutions. Now we must turn recognition into action; our short-term success will be measured by the outcome of the spending review, and the immediate support given to stabilise chemical sciences in HE and school laboratories.

The Campaign is set to play a full part in ensuring that a sustainable and competitive chemical science community flourishes in the UK and that the RSC is fully equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.