• RSC Programme builds on Successful First Year
    Broadening Horizons 2023 Launch Event in Manchester

News & Views

RSC Programme builds on Successful First Year

Jul 31 2023

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Broadening Horizons programme, aimed at making the chemical sciences more diverse, has seen more than 130 chemistry students and graduates from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds enrolling this year, an increase of more than a third (38%) on its first pilot year following positive feedback from participants.

The programme was launched in 2022 after the RSC’s Missing Elements Report found that talented Black chemists are more likely to leave the profession at every stage of their career path after undergraduate studies than their peers. The programme offers aspiring chemists access to mentoring, networking and opportunities to gain crucial industry experience from partner companies

Dr Helen Pain, CEO of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “We launched the Broadening Horizons pilot last year to help enact the change that is needed to retain talented Black and minority ethnic chemists. The students and industry partners involved have told us just how valuable they found the programme, which makes us all the more determined to continue delivering an impactful experience for future cohorts.

“We’re excited to welcome the second cohort and are proud to have even more young people taking part this year as we continue this vital work to improve inclusion and diversity in our industry.”

Mechelle Williams, an undergraduate student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, said: “To be able to walk into a room and see a lot of people and women that look like me was the biggest standout thing. For a long while, there was a point and time when I just wanted to stop. Being on this programme has reignited my fire.”

Carla Aldington, a PhD student at Imperial College London who has earned an internship with partner organisation Unilever, added: “The Broadening Horizons programme has been absolutely incredible. The first day when we were all together in the RSC's Burlington House was remarkable. I have never stood in a room with so many other people of colour who are also chemists. For the first time in my whole academic career, I realised I did belong in the world of chemistry. That is a feeling I will treasure forever.”

Open to students and recent graduates of chemistry in the UK or Republic of Ireland from a Black or minority ethnic background, the second year of the Broadening Horizons programme will run until summer 2024.

There are now 11 chemistry-focused businesses partnered with the programme: Nanomerics, RSSL, Syngenta, Unilever, Oxford Nanopore, AM Technology, AstraZeneca, Johnson Matthey, GSK, BASF and most recently Charles River Laboratories.

More information online

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