Towards a more inclusive chemistry community

Nov 5, 2021

We at the European Chemical Society (EuChemS) believe that chemistry should be for everyone, yet today, in 2021 it is not. 

Therefore, as a community we have a moral responsibility to drive change. Achieving equality in our discipline is not just a social justice issue – we know that diversity of thought and in decision making processes are good for science and good for society. There is plenty of evidence to back this. 

The webinar “Towards a more inclusive chemistry community” was held on Thursday 18 November 2021 from 10:00 to 11:15 CET.  

Our distinguished invited speaker, Alejandra Palermo, presented the data and evidence behind the inequalities observed for underrepresented groups of people in chemistry and discussed some interventions that can make chemistry fairer and more inclusive for everyone. Questions from the participants were invited after her talk. 

This online event is an initiative of the EuChemS Task Group on Inclusion and Diversity, chaired by Pilar Goya, EuChemS Vice-President. 

Alejandra Palermo is a chemical engineer with a PhD in materials science. Her independent career began as an Assistant Professor in Argentina, before joining Cambridge University under a Royal Society Visiting Fellowship. She has published over 50 scientific papers in the field of heterogeneous catalysis and, since joining the Royal Society of Chemistry, several influential policy reports covering chemistry at the interfaces, international development, and I&D. Previous roles included managing their work in India and Latin America and the setting up and leading of the Pan Africa Chemistry Network (PACN). More recently, she led the Future of the Chemical Sciences initiative based on scenario planning to guide the development of the RSC long-term strategy.   

She is currently responsible for External Relations, leading a team working in priority areas that include international large programmes, such as Commonwealth Chemistry and PACN, and I&D in the chemical sciences.  The main objective of the team is to drive change towards an inclusive chemistry culture. Examples of their I&D work are the reports Diversity Landscape in the Chemical Sciences (2018), Breaking the Barriers (2018), LGBT+ climate for the physical sciences (2019), Is publishing in the chemical sciences gender-biased? (2019), A framework for action in scientific publishing (2020), recognized by two awards in 2019 and 2020, and Inclusion and Belonging launched in September 2021. 

She is an FRSC, a life fellow of the Chemical Research Society of India, a member of IUPAC, and an honorary Fellow of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia. 

Page last updated: 26 November 2021