Why is it important to raise the topic of chemistry and how can we do this

Why is it important to raise the topic of chemistry and how can we do this

●Discussion Stian Svil

The assessment by the Research Council for Chemistry in Norway shows that the situation is not satisfactory. To change this, we need good funding, predictability and better strategic planning from Chemie-Norge.

How should the subject of chemistry set the course for better times? Stian Svil, professor and department head at the Department of Chemistry at Blindern University, looks forward.

This text is a discussion post. The content of the text expresses the author's own opinion.

Research Council Conduct an evaluation of natural science research within the disciplines of chemistry, physics, and earth sciences. This is called evaluation EvalinatEvaluations were conducted at the national level, at the institute level and down to individual research groups.

In Morgenbladet Can we read about some of the findings in this report on June 6, where “Crisis” is a key word in discussing chemistry.. It is quite true that EVALNAT reports that the situation in the field of chemistry at the national level is generally unsatisfactory, especially in the field of organic chemistry. At the same time, many chemistry fields at the University of Oslo also receive very good ratings, such as theoretical chemistry, chemical life sciences and electrochemistry. Others receive very honorable recognition; Such as catalysis and chemistry of inorganic materials.

research

-Competitors are ahead of us. If we stop cooperating, we shoot ourselves in the foot

The report confirms
The importance of chemistry, and it also gives clear recommendations on what to do. Based on EVALNAT and our own considerations, here we explain why it is important to raise the entire chemistry subject, and how we can do it.

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EVALNAT reports He writes that the disciplines of the natural sciences (chemistry, physics and earth sciences) have made much of Norway's industrial development possible, and that they are of crucial importance for solving the major challenges associated with climate change, the green transition and the need for new materials to avoid scarce resources and dependence on countries we do not want to depend on. Health challenges should also be added here.

safety

The security system calls for an “ineffective mix of locally developed and implemented solutions.”

why then? Is chemistry research in Norway a bad excuse? Part of it has to do with funding. Although the bulk of the research funding from the Research Council in the Natural Sciences goes to interdisciplinary research, it is clear from EVALNAT that chemistry has received much less support from the Research Council. Over the past 11 years, the Research Council has allocated about half of what it allocated to both Earth sciences and physics for chemistry. In the same period, more than NOK 1.1 billion was allocated to equipment and infrastructure in physics and about NOK 50 million for chemistry.

We stand at a Generational change in the entire university sector. Professors who were recruited from large student groups in the 1970s and 1980s are now retiring at the same time, and this is quickly creating gaps. Sometimes we achieve great success with good and smooth recruitment processes, so that efficiency and activity are maintained or pulled in new strategic directions. At other times, there is a lull in activity, and then it can be as described in the article published in Morgenbladet for Organic Chemistry at the University of Oslo.

Main recommendation “Develop a national plan to support the development (and quality improvement) of Norwegian chemistry,” the national EVALNAT report says. If one accepts the premise that chemistry and chemical research are important for Norwegian value creation, but also for the public sector (think environmental measures, management, education and good work), one should examine how funding mechanisms can support this.

After chemistry evaluation In 1997, the Research Council established the programme Catalysis and Synthetic Organic Chemistry (KOSK)The programme was supposed to lead to increased value creation in Norwegian industry. Catalysis and process chemistry at UiO and NTNU were strengthened by this programme, and this area is now highlighted in the EVALNAT report as very strong. On the other hand, organic chemistry was not able to scale up at that time, and the means were very thinly spread. New tools should underline good strategic work. We should dare to sharpen our efforts, and we should reward those who manage to find interesting interfaces with other disciplines.

use of money

$1.3 billion will be used for research equipment.

In the EVALNAT report The article published in Morgenbladet points out that the weak environment within organic chemistry at UiO poses a threat to the significant investment in life sciences and the associated life sciences building. We see this investment first and foremost as a great opportunity to find the right synergies with disciplines that cross different directions of chemistry, including organic chemistry, and we are very much looking forward to moving to modern places for teaching and research.

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Briefly; We chemists must take responsibility for our profession. Together we must find direction in weaker parts of the subject, such as organic chemistry, where world-leading research can be done in Norway. There are great opportunities at the intersection of organic chemistry and materials science. For example, at the University of Oslo, researchers have developed a completely new chemical, both organic and inorganic (UiO-66), which opens up great opportunities for new chemistry. There are clear opportunities for collaboration between pharmacists and chemists in the field of medicinal chemistry.

New report

Publishing in science has increased dramatically.

A third possibility It falls within nuclear subjects, i.e. nuclear chemistry, radiopharmacy and nuclear physics/nuclear technology. A lot of ground-breaking research into treatment is being carried out here, and there is generally a great need for candidates with such experience in relation to radiation protection and safety, not least our big energy question.

At the same time we must Embrace chemistry as a discipline – without strong professionalism there is no interdisciplinary benefit to be achieved.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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