Thursday, 18 June 2009

UK Chemistry “World Leading” says Independent Panel

Chemistry research in the UK is world leading, internationally recognised, and well placed to tackle society’s greatest challenges according to a panel of eminent overseas researchers who have compared the strength of UK research activity with world competitors.

The International Review of Chemistry 2009, comprising of academics and industrialists from outside the UK, visited a number of UK research groups in April 2009 and had access to a wide pool of experts and supporting data to help them reach their conclusions.

Chair of the Review Panel, Professor Michael Klein from the University of Pennsylvania, said:

“There are examples of truly outstanding, world-leading and world-class work. The community is aggressively utilising all of the funding streams available through the Research Councils, charities, Europe and industry. Importantly, the top-level research is not confined to just one location. There are excellent examples of international collaboration, especially via EU programmes and a number of good examples of co-operation with industry. Multi-disciplinary research efforts are expanding.

Examples of excellent multidisciplinary research are emerging from the new Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs) and chemists in the UK are better prepared than in the past to tackle society's challenges. The panel was impressed with the calibre and intellectual strength of some of the ‘Early Career’ Scientists they met.

EPSRC Chief Executive, Professor Dave Delpy said:

“This is the second International Review of Chemistry and reflects the important contribution of this subject to the UK. This contribution enables progress by bringing a fundamental knowledge and understanding of chemistry which drives advances in many areas. Chemistry research underpins a wide range of activities that benefit society including discoveries that lead to new industries, materials and technologies as well as helping to conquer diseases. Chemistry will be indispensable in attacking the challenges of climate change, energy, and sustainability.”

The panel also found:

  • Numerous examples of vigorous and successful spin out companies, with academic-industry collaboration - a positive and distinguishing feature in the UK.

  • Outstanding facilities and equipment levels comparable with the best in Europe.

  • Good examples of local and regional university interactions and funding.

  • That the UK is seen as an attractive venue by chemists around the globe.

Chemistry is a key enabling central science - addressing issues of societal concern and contributing to economic development.

The findings of the review panel were announced at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) on Friday 12 June.

This review was part of a series of international reviews organised by EPSRC in partnership with learned societies to provide an independent assessment of the quality and impact of UK research.

Notes to Editors:

Press Release Issued by the EPRSC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) on behalf of the International Review of Chemistry 2009.

The International Review of Chemistry was held during the period 20 – 24 April 2009.

A Town Meeting was held on Friday 12 June 2009 at the RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6EZ. The meeting included a presentation of the report of the Review Panel and a discussion of the findings, in order to begin development of an action plan to take recommendations forward. The full report will be published following this activity.

For further information go to the 2009 International Review of UK Chemistry Research page.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. The EPSRC invests more than £850 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.

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