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Vijay Iyer

Senior Science & Innovation Adviser

Part of Global Science and Innovation Network

20th March 2014 Mumbai, India

Interview with Dr. Philip Earis, the Royal Society of Chemistry

Dr. Philip Earis has worked for the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Publishing since 2003. He is Executive Editor of the journals – Nanoscale, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Green Chemistry, Catalysis Science & Technology, Faraday Discussions and Energy & Environmental Science. Prior to working for the RSC, he was at the University of Cambridge. Philip has been in India since July 2013 and is based in Mumbai. I met Philip over lunch and asked him to share his thoughts on the state of chemistry in India.

Earis_picTell us about your current role in India
I have dual roles in India – as well as continuing to manage four high-impact RSC journals, I am also working to build and strengthen the links between the RSC and Indian scientific community. I am enjoying learning more about the world-class science taking place in India, meeting researchers and visiting institutes and developing longstanding partnerships. Experiencing and learning more about the wonderful history, culture and food in India is also very stimulating!

You’ve visited several research institutions in India, so far. What are your impressions on the future of chemistry here?
Indian science is expanding rapidly, and it is an exciting time for me to be here.  I have been lucky to visit many institutes across the whole country, from Amritsar in the far north to Trivandrum in the south, from Guwahati in the east to (of course) Mumbai in the west, and many, many places in-between. I am very optimistic about the future of chemistry in India – whilst (as in all countries) there are challenges, funding for Indian science has improved significantly which has helped, and the establishment of five IISERs – with a strong focus on education, impressive facilities and many young, ambitious faculty – is also a very positive development. Science is greatly advanced by collaborations between researchers – this is an area where there are still many untapped opportunities for India, and is something I and the RSC are trying to facilitate.

What’s the current trend in UK-India joint publications?
We are excited about the strong rise in publications from India in RSC journals. In 2009, we published around 300 articles from India: India was then the 12th highest publishing country in our journals. In 2013, we were delighted to publish over 1800 articles from India, which has jumped to now become the 3rd highest publishing country in RSC journals, behind China and the USA. Joint research projects (and hence, publications) between the UK and India continue to rise, and we are keen to encourage these further.

What are RSC’s plans for India in the coming year?
The RSC is the world’s leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences. Our activities span many areas – as well as publishing, we have about 50,000 members from around the world, and many projects in areas such as education and developing skills and talent. We accredit chemistry courses throughout the world, and are glad to have recently accredited our first course in India, at IISER Pune. Indeed, across the RSC we are greatly increasing our partnerships with India: a good example is in education, where in 2014, we are planning chemistry summer camps (working with the Salters Institute) and rolling out a new programme called “spectroscopy in a suitcase”, to give school children experience with scientific equipment for the first time.

Further, we are delighted to very recently announce the Royal Society of Chemistry Hamied Inspirational Chemistry Programme – a partnership with the renowned Indian business leader, scientist and philanthropist, Dr. Yusuf Hamied. Through the programme, we plan to equip 8,000 teachers across India with the specialist knowledge and skills to deliver exciting and engaging chemistry lessons, and to pass this knowledge on to their colleagues.

Any upcoming RSC events we should look out for?
We were pleased to again partner with the Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI) for the 8th consecutive year at the very recent National Symposium in Chemistry, held at IIT Bombay earlier in February.  In June, we will hold a special UK-India symposium in London to mark the 80th birthday of our close friend Prof. C.N.R. Rao, who was recently honoured with the Bharat Ratna award. In November, we will be running a series of analytical and supramolecular symposia in north India (details will appear soon on www.rsc.org/events).  We are also very excited to be bringing our prestigious and unique “Faraday Discussions” conferences to India for the first time in their 110-year history: the first Indian Faraday Discussion will take place in January 2015 in Bengaluru, on Temporally and Spatially Resolved Molecular Science. Finally, we are also planning to bring our flagship “ISACS” series of conferences to India for the first time in 2015.

Any advice for researchers who might be writing up manuscripts for one of RSC’s journals?
Think carefully about the paper you want to write at all stages of carrying out research.  Take time to ensure that the scientific importance and key conclusions of the research are very clearly stated, rather than buried within the paper.  As well as evaluating the science, editors also have to judge the broad interest and novelty in a manuscript – it is important to try to convey this, for example in a well-crafted cover letter.

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About Vijay Iyer

Vijay Iyer is a Senior Science & Innovation Adviser with the British Deputy High Commission Mumbai. He facilitates UK-India research partnerships in sectors including energy, health, and life sciences. Previously,…

Vijay Iyer is a Senior Science & Innovation Adviser with the British Deputy High Commission Mumbai. He facilitates UK-India research partnerships in sectors including energy, health, and life sciences.

Previously, Vijay was the Intellectual Property Attaché - India for the UK Intellectual Property Office. He facilitated UK-India commercial, academic and policy partnerships in intellectual property rights and worked with UK companies to ensure they fully understood the Indian policy scenario, including in support of initiatives such as Make in India. Vijay is a Registered Patent Agent in India.

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