Chemistry World and the Inclusion and Diversity team at the Royal Society of Chemistry are proud to offer the first of a monthly webinar series to support the chemical sciences community in response to and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Throughout the Building a better chemistry culture series, we will illuminate the science behind the issues being experienced and provide support tailored to the needs of chemical scientists including sharing coping strategies and reducing stigma around mental health and wellbeing.

The very first webinar took place during Mental Health Awareness Week and highlighted the MHAW theme of kindness. We explored how to build a better chemistry culture through the incredible impact of kindness, and examined examples from the chemical sciences.

Our speakers Sarah Bond (expert on inclusion and diversity), David Hamilton (expert on kindness) and Zoë Ayres (R&D chemical scientist) discussed:

  • The importance of kindness and how it can be applied to individuals, teams and the wider community
  • The science of kindness and its impact on health
  • Self-kindness and the importance of focusing on caring for one’s own mental health
  • Learnings from examples of kindness in response to COVID-19 to build a better chemistry culture

Sarah Bond

Speaker: Sarah Bond

Sarah is an experienced consultant, advisor, facilitator, coach and researcher with over 20 years’ experience of working with leaders, managers and teams in the UK, Europe and globally to progress organisational and culture change on diversity and inclusion. Sarah is passionate about inclusion and the creation of inclusive cultures at work.

Zoë Ayres

Speaker: Zoë Ayres

Zoë is an analytical research scientist in the water industry. She is also is a mental health advocate, working towards improving mental health in research settings, and is the author of the #mentalhealth poster series on Twitter (you can find her @zjayres).

David Hamilton

Speaker: David Hamilton

Following his PhD in organic chemistry at the University of Strathclyde, David worked in drug development at AstraZeneca for 4 years before leaving to embark on a career as a writer. He is now author of several books, including The five side effects of kindness and The little book of kindness and speaks regularly to the public, at schools, and in businesses about the health effects of being kind.

Rachael Dance, BSL interpreter and advocate

Interpreter: Rachael Dance

Rachael Dance is a training to be a fully qualified British Sign Language Interpreter and graduated from Wolverhampton University with BA Hons in Interpreting English and BSL. Rachael is joining us to promote the accessibility of the webinars for Deaf people. Rachael also works as an Advocate for Deaf people for Cambridgeshire Deaf Association.


Ben Valsler

Moderator: Benjamin Valsler, digital editor, Chemistry World magazine

Ben is the digital editor of Chemistry World magazine, producing video and podcasts to accompany the magazine and website. Prior to joining the Royal Society of Chemistry, he was the producer of the award-winning Naked Scientists, making local and national radio programmes for the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Primedia in South Africa.

Royal Society of Chemistry logo

The Inclusion and Diversity team drives and coordinates the strategy across all Royal Society of Chemistry activities to support a more inclusive and diverse chemical sciences community. Through research, advocacy and recognising success, we are working to make ‘chemistry for everyone’ a reality. Find out more about our work here.