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July 2017

RACI Centenary Congress: an opportunity to celebrate

By Mark Buntine

Guest editorial

Founded in 1917, the RACI is the oldest scientific or technical professional society in Australia. This month we are hosting one of the most exciting activities as part of the Institute’s celebration of our first 100 years – the RACI Centenary Congress. As members read this column, many will be preparing to travel to Melbourne to participate in the many and varied activities associated with the Congress. Some members and delegates may well be reading this while they’re immersed in the Congress program. For Congress delegates who don’t normally receive a copy of Chemistry in Australia, I offer a particular welcome. I hope you enjoy perusing this edition of our monthly magazine. I look forward to meeting with as many Congress delegates as possible over the week of celebrations.

The Centenary Congress is the largest scientific and technical meeting ever organised by the RACI, with approximately 3000 delegates attending over five days. The Centenary Congress is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions that chemistry has made to Australia’s, and the world’s, social, economic and intellectual advancement over the past century as well as to look forward to the challenges and opportunities in the century ahead.

The Centenary Congress brings together the RACI National Centenary Chemistry Conference, incorporating the 17th Asian Chemical Congress, and seven international conferences all under one roof. This structure allows the Congress to cover all of the major areas of the chemical sciences. All delegates to the Congress will be able to satisfy their diverse interests across the chemical sciences by being able to freely move between any and all of the parallel meetings.

The quality of the technical programs is first rate. Speakers include Nobel laureates, Australia’s Chief Scientist and a wide range of international leaders in chemistry research, education and policy development, as well as captains of industry. Scientific sessions span the spectrum from creating new knowledge through to translating our knowledge of chemistry into innovative new technologies that enhance our quality of life.

To encourage scientific discussions in less formal environments, special attention has been paid to the Congress social program, with a welcome reception, several conference dinners and social functions coinciding with the various poster sessions. Additionally, with many tours on offer in and around Melbourne, delegates will be able to enjoy the cuisine, wines and unique flora and fauna of Victoria. I am sure that all delegates will enjoy a stimulating and pleasant Congress, from both the scientific and the technical points of view.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege over the past three years to serve as the Chair of the Congress organising Committee. However, this Congress has come together as the result of the hard work and dedication of a large number of colleagues. The diverse technical program has been developed under the leadership of Chairs of each of the Partner Conferences as well as the technical Divisions of the RACI. The logistics have been managed by a talented team of professionals from ICMS Australasia under the stewardship of Emma Bowyer. However, I pay particular tribute to the tireless efforts of our CEO, Roger Stapleford. Roger has been the driving force behind almost every aspect of the Congress’s organisation. His creative thinking is first class, and his eye for detail is exceptional.

I look forward to the RACI Centenary Congress being a platform from which the RACI will contribute to society for the next 100 years.


Mark Buntine FRACI CChem, Centenary Congress Chair

Speakers include Nobel laureates, Australia’s Chief Scientist and a wide range of international leaders in chemistry research, education and policy development, as well as captains of industry.

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