Members Perspectives

GDCh celebrates 150 years of the German Chemical Society

In 2017 the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh, German Chemical Society) celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of its predecessor society.

The Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft (DChG) was founded in Berlin in 1867 with August Wilhelm von Hofmann as its first president. Twenty years later, in 1887, the Verein Deutscher Chemiker (VDCh) (Association of German Chemists) was founded. The DChG membership was drawn primarily from the universities, while the VDCh addressed persons working in the chemical industry.

The National Socialist era in Germany did not leave the GDCh’s predecessor organisations unscarred. Application of the so-called Führerprinzip, which called for the firing of Jewish colleagues, was made obligatory, as was incorporation of the chemical organisations into the NS-Bund Deutscher Technik (the National Socialist Federation of German Technology). After the war, the DChG and the VDCh were both dissolved, and both organisations were merged to form the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, first founded in the British zone of Berlin in 1946 and then in West Germany as a whole in 1949. The first president of the GDCh was Karl Ziegler, later a winner of the Nobel Prize.

In 1953 the Chemische Gesellschaft was founded in the German Democratic Republic. Its members were integrated into GDCh after the reunion in 1990. In the second half of the 1990s, GDCh was a leading partner in merging the national journals of the European chemical societies into new, pan-European journals.

In 2004, GDCh was one of the leading forces in converting the former Federation of European Chemical Societies (FECS) into EuCheMS and in 2011 GDCh played a key role in the organisation of the International Year of Chemistry launched by the United Nations and IUPAC.

Apart from these activities, GDCh’s attention focused on the ethical commitment and responsibility as chemical scientists. In 1998 the GDCh code of honor was drawn up. All members pledge to act in responsible and sustainable way and to oppose strictly any misuse of chemical weapons and illegal drugs. In 2015 a more than 700-page survey about chemists in the so-called Third Reich was published, initiated by the GDCh. With this study, the GDCh acknowledged the responsibility of its predecessor organisations.

Celebrating our anniversary year, GDCh, which nowadays has some 30,000 members, has set up various activities. The highlight will be WiFo congress, the GDCh Chemistry Scientific Forum from 10–14 September in Berlin. More information:

Karin J. Schmitz
GDCh, Head of Public Relations Department

Introducing EFMC

The European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC) is an independent association founded in 1970 that represents 25 scientific organisations from 23 European countries (around 7,500 members). Its objective is to advance the science of medicinal chemistry by promoting cooperation and encouraging strong links between the national adhering organisations in order to deepen contacts and exchanges between medicinal chemists in Europe and around the World. EFMC fulfils this objective by organising symposia and short courses, by sponsoring meetings and medicinal chemistry schools, by publishing on relevant topics and by conferring awards and prizes.

The EFMC’s most important event is the biennial International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC). This symposium, with an average attendance of 1,200 delegates, convenes a broad range of international speakers and attendees from the pharmaceutical industry, SMEs and academia.  EFMC also co-organises the ACSMEDI-EFMC Medicinal Chemistry Frontiers, with the division of medicinal chemistry of the American Chemical Society (ACS-MEDI). The international symposium on Advances in Synthetic and Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ASMC) reaches out to the organic synthesis community, with talks equally selected from medicinal and organic chemistry. Finally, EFMC also organises short courses on specific topics in Medicinal Chemistry.

The EFMC has very strong links with related societies within and beyond Europe, giving it a broad international footprint. The EFMC encourages interactions between the European and American medicinal chemistry communities; the ACS-MEDI convenes sessions for the biennial EFMC-ISMC Symposia, while the EFMC convenes sessions for ACS National meetings. EFMC is a supporting member of EuCheMS and jointly organised in April 2016 a STOA Working Breakfast at the European Parliament on solving antimicrobial resistance. In addition, the EFMC collaborates with the Asian Federation of Medicinal Chemistry by reciprocally organising sessions at the AFMC International Medicinal Chemistry Symposia and EFMC-ISMC meetings. Since autumn 2016, the EFMC also collaborates with the Chinese Pharmaceutical Association.

MedChemComm, the official journal of the EFMC, was launched in 2010. It is published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. MedChemComm is released monthly and contains scientific work of the highest quality in all fields of medicinal chemistry

The EFMC publishes a monthly newsletter “MedChemWatch” with essential information on the activities of its Executive Committee, news from its National Adhering Organisations and announcement of meetings and educational events. For more information please visit our website. The EFMC is also present on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook).

Koen Augustyns
EFMC President


RSC commitment to collaboration

On 29 March the UK government triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, formally beginning the negotiations for the UK leaving the EU by April 2019. It is a time of uncertainty for UK science – but what is certain is the commitment from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and UK chemists to European and international collaboration in science.

Science and innovation drive growth and create jobs as scientists work together to advance knowledge, foster growth and tackle global challenges. The flow of ideas and skilled people between countries is integral to 21st century science and innovation – and a strong global science community needs strong national scientific communities, including the UK.

The RSC supports global science through conferences, grants and scientific publishing. We support the scientific community in generating, sharing, analysing and interpreting scientific evidence that is crucial in policy development. We also have a strong history of partnerships with chemical societies all around the world and are committed members of EuCheMS and IUPAC.

The diversity of science is one of its greatest strengths, with people from across the world working together to advance the chemical sciences for the benefit of science and humanity. Together we work towards achieving our shared goals of supporting the next generation of researchers, and maximising the role that science must play in advancing our understanding of the world, in sustainable development, contributing to evidence-informed policy, and in solving the global challenges of our time.

As the UK exits the EU we have been working to influence the UK government in connection with the science and innovation dimension of the negotiations. The RSC President, John Holman, is a member of the UK government’s EU exit, universities, research and innovation stakeholder working group, chaired by the UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation.

We have highlighted that, regardless of how the UK is involved in future EU regulatory frameworks, the UK must maintain and invest in a strong scientific base for chemicals regulation and UK scientists must continue to contribute fully to providing sound evidence for chemicals regulation globally.

This is the first time Article 50 has ever been triggered and there are many unknowns. But something we do know, as a global scientific community, is that science is inherently a global endeavour. Far from closing doors to international collaboration, we want to open them even further.

Jon Edwards
RSC, Corporate Communications Manager