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Society of Chemical Industry

The Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) is a learned society set up in 1881 "to further the application of chemistry and related sciences for the public benefit".[2] Its purpose is "Promoting the commercial application of science for the benefit of society" and provides an international forum where science meets business on independent, impartial ground. Since being founded in 1881, the society has expanded and diversified to cover a range of interest areas, such as food and agriculture, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, environmental science and safety.

Society of Chemical Industry
Formation1881 (1881)
TypeLearned society
  • United Kingdom
Official language
Hon. President
Neil Carson[1]


The headquarters is in Belgrave Square, London. In addition there are semi-independent branches in the United States, Canada, and Australia.


The Society aims to promote links between scientists and industrialists, and does so through technical and business interest groups and international and regional groups, and by running some 50 conferences, seminars and lectures a year.

SCI also aims to inform government decision-making relating to science and industry. A paper urging further action on science education to protect the future of UK economic health produced by SCI members in response to the closure of the Chemistry department at the University of Sussex gained newspaper coverage in the UK.[3]


On 21 November 1879, Lancashire chemist John Hargreaves canvassed a meeting of chemists and managers in Widnes, St Helens and Runcorn to consider the formation of a chemical society. Modelled on the successful Tyne Chemical Society already operating in Newcastle, the newly proposed South Lancashire Chemical Society held its first meeting on 29 January 1880 in Liverpool, with the eminent industrial chemist and soda manufacturer Ludwig Mond presiding.

It was quickly decided that the society should not be limited to just the local region and the title 'the Society of Chemical Industry’ was finally settled upon at a meeting in London on 4 April 1881, as being 'more inclusive'. Held at the offices of the Chemical Society, now the headquarters of the Royal Society of Chemistry, in Burlington House, this meeting was presided over by Henry Roscoe, appointed first president of SCI,[4] and attended by Eustace Carey, Ludwig Mond, FA Abel, Lowthian Bell, William H Perkin, Walter Weldon, Edward Rider Cook, Thomas Tyrer and George E Davis; all prominent scientists, industrialists and MPs of the time.


The original membership fee was very steep for the time: The first subscription fee was set at one guinea, which would be equivalent to nearly £400 today. Four grades of membership were agreed at the time: member, associate, student and honorary, with most appointments made on the basis of a review of their 'eligibility' by the SCI council. Despite the high fee, by the time of the first official meeting of the Society of Chemical Industry in June 1881, it had attracted over 300 members.


An Extraordinary General Meeting was held on 27 March 1906, under the direction of president Edward Divers and secretary C. G. Cresswell, to discuss a motion to apply for incorporation under a royal charter. The resolution was formally proposed by Sir (Thomas) Boverton Redwood. After some discussion, the motion was unanimously supported.[5] The Society was formally incorporated, by Royal Charter, as of 17 June 1907, and its bylaws were published in the Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry. By that time, it had expanded to include a number of satellite chapters, including Canada, New South Wales, New York and New England as well as locations within Great Britain.[6]


The first headquarters of the newly fledged Society of Chemical Industry was established in 1881 at Palace Chambers, Bridge Street, Westminster, London. After a series of changes of address, the Society finally moved to its fifth and present location at 14/15 – and initially 16 – Belgrave Square in 1955. Owned by the Duke of Westminster, along with the rest of Belgravia, the building was and still is part of the Grosvenor Estate and had recently been commandeered by the Ministry of Defence during World War II. The former Nazi commander Rudolf Hess is believed to have been interrogated in the building after he flew to Britain late in the war.


SCI organises over 50 conferences and events per year which are focused around stimulating and informative scientific and special interest subjects. These are primarily organised through SCI member-led technical and regional interest groups.[citation needed]

SCI runs free Public Evening Lectures,[7] as well as several awards programmes designed to raise awareness of the benefits of the practical application of chemistry and related sciences across scientific disciplines and industrial sectors. The SCI also confers scholarships and travel bursaries to student members, and celebrates accomplished scientists, educators and business people through a number of international awards, medals, and lectureships.

Technical interest groupsEdit

SCI has a number of Technical Interest and Business Interest Groups, which aim to provide opportunities to exchange ideas and gain new perspectives on markets, technologies, strategies and people. These groups over a wide range of topics and regions, with some being more active than others. SCI's Technical Interest Groups comprise:

  • Agrisciences
  • Biotechnology
  • The British Carbon Group
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Construction Materials
  • Electrochemical Technology
  • Environment
  • Fine Chemicals
  • Fire and Materials Chemistry
  • Food Group
  • Health, Safety and Environment
  • Horticulture
  • Lipids
  • Macro Group UK
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Process Engineering
  • Science and Enterprise
  • Separation Science and Technology
  • Young Chemists' Panel

International groupsEdit

International Groups comprise:

Regional interest groupsEdit

Regional Interest Groups in the UK comprise:

  • All Ireland
  • Bristol and South West
  • Cambridge and Great Eastern
  • Chinese UK
  • Liverpool and North West
  • London
  • Scotland
  • Thames and Kennet
  • Yorkshire and the Humber
  • East Midlands


Chemistry & IndustryEdit

SCI also publishes the monthly magazine Chemistry & Industry.[8]


The Society gives a number of awards, including the Levinstein Memorial Award to persons who have made significant contributions in the field of chemical technology.[9][10]


  1. ^ "SCI Honorary President Neil Carson Awarded OBE". Society of Chemical Industry. Retrieved 14 Jun 2016.
  2. ^ "About SCI". Society of Chemical Industry. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  3. ^ MacLeod, Donald (2006-03-13). "Concern over chemistry course closure". Guardian Unlimited.
  4. ^ Bowden, Mary Ellen; Smith, John Kenly (1994). American chemical enterprise : a perspective on 100 years of innovation to commemorate the centennial of the Society of Chemical Industry (American Section). Philadelphia: Chemical Heritage Foundation. ISBN 9780941901130.
  5. ^ "Proceedings of the extraordinary general meeting, March 27, 1906". Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry. 25: 343–347. April 30, 1906. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Official Notice". Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry. 27 (14): 721–731. July 31, 1908. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Public Evening Lectures". Society of Chemical Industry. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Chemistry & Industry". Society of Chemical Industry. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  9. ^ "Levinstein Memorial Award, 2009". Society of Chemical Industry. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  10. ^ "Awards List". Society of Chemical Industry. Retrieved 16 August 2016.

External linksEdit