The International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN) is an organization that aims to connect chemists who are in the early stages of their career, including but not limited to graduate school, postdoctoral associates, chemists within five years of their terminal degree, and chemists newly transitioning into the field. Our core objective is to reach like-minded scientists globally and create a platform for scientific exchange. With a focus on building a worldwide network, we strive to spread scientific knowledge, mentorship, and encourage a passion for chemistry.
The efforts to enhance our inclusive, developing network through collaboration with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) have allowed us to participate in and expand their pre-existing programs for younger chemists. IUPAC has recognised the need for young chemists everywhere to have a greater voice and is working closely with IYCN to address this critical need. The IUPAC constituency, including members in Committees and Divisions, have provided input and mentorship as IYCN begins to build traction and expand around the globe.
It was during IUPACs 46th World Chemistry Congress (WCC) that IYCN was officially launched as an Associated Organization (AO) of IUPAC. The launch featured a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between IUPAC and IYCN, cementing our commitment to partner together and create a more inclusive environment for younger chemists to advance their networks, expand their career development opportunities, and have a louder voice to express the needs and concerns of early career chemists. (see Chem Int. Oct 2017, p. 42) This will be achieved through IYCN’s activities to create a unified network of younger chemists enabling communication, collaboration, education, and mentorship worldwide. As part of its relationship with IUPAC, IYCN will seek to integrate members of our network into their activities including, but not limited to: conferences, divisions, projects, and future programming.
To this end, IYCN facilitated the attendance of several younger chemists to the WCC and the World Chemistry Leadership Meeting (WCLM) during the 2017 General Assembly (GA) in São Paulo, Brazil. Through an IUPAC project proposal , funding was also awarded to IYCN to develop symposia focused on two important topics for younger chemists: green chemistry and intellectual property. This project and landmark event provided a critical platform for the inauguration of IYCN.
The IYCN GA meeting in São Paulo was broadcast through a livestream on Facebook for young chemists worldwide who were unable to attend in person, promoting the truly inclusive nature of the network. During the GA of IUPAC we had the opportunity to present the work IYCN had already accomplished, and to look toward the future. We envisioned IYCN as a catalyst for driving positive and transformative change in the global chemistry community. IUPAC President Prof. Natalia Tarasova and Secretariat General Prof. Richard Hartshorn joined the first open meeting of IYCN. The support and mentorship of IUPAC during the first governance meeting set the platform for a constructive report from the five IYCN working groups: public outreach, conference presence, governance, finance, and social media. In addition, there was an informative look forward towards IUPAC100 activities and planning. The catalyzing cycle had officially begun.
Over 20 younger chemists from 13 countries and international chemical societies attended the inaugural IYCN meeting and participated in a collaborative poster reception held during the WCLM and cosponsored by IYCN. The activities throughout the day facilitated discussions between IYCN leadership, IUPAC members, and young chemists which helped to establish the mission and overall direction of the society from the very beginning. We were finally able to celebrate the newly formed relationship between IUPAC and IYCN.
All IYCN members were invited and encouraged to participate in WCLM activities. One of the highlights was a speed networking session that was organized by the WCLM planning committee and involved participation of representatives from IUPAC divisions and committees, IUPAC Young Observers program participants and IYCN members. Bringing members of both the IUPAC Young Observers program and IYCN together during these early days has led to propagation of this radical reaction on a global scale.
The MoU signing was the featured event to kick off the IYCN sponsored symposium, which drew over 100 attendees. The symposium itself was organized by three task force members of IYCN: Dr. Jens Breffke (National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA), Dr. Paula Bueno (São Paulo State University, Brazil) and Ms. Christine Dunne (Colorado State University, USA). The focus was on the development of green chemistry techniques and their application into the modern research laboratory, and the value that younger chemists can bring to intellectual property. It featured presentations from: Dr. Carlos de Brito Cruz (scientific director of the São Paulo Research Foundation); Dr. Cristiano Funari (attendance funded by IYCN), Mr. Raymond Borg (attendance funded by IYCN), Dr. Elisama Santos (attendance funded by IYCN), Mr. Tony Bova, Dr. Xavier Pillai, Dr. Anne Chinellato, and Dr. Jeroen Schoemaker.
IYCN’s current efforts include collaborations with various international societies such as the Société Chimique de France (French Chemical Society), Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (German Chemical Society), Association of Greek Chemists, Royal Australian Chemical Institute, American Chemical Society (ACS) Younger Chemists Committee, Nigeria International Chapter of the ACS, and others to organize symposia and host networking events at international conferences. For instance, IYCN is working closely with IUPAC and the French Chemical Society to provide professional development and networking events for young chemists during IUPAC 2019. In addition to increasing our presence through presentations at conferences across the globe, we have established an online network and communication platform which has attracted in excess of 500 followers to date. The future for IYCN is bright; we are excited to continue to bring together young chemists from across the globe, and we invite all chemists to join and support us in this endeavor.
About the authors
Lori Ferrins <email@example.com> is a Research Assistant Professor at Northeastern University, Boston, USA. Her research is focused on the discovery of novel lead compounds for neglected tropical diseases. Lori is also the vice-chair of IYCN and is passionate about empowering younger chemists to make positive change. ORCID.org/0000-0001-8992-0919
Evijola Llabani <firstname.lastname@example.org> received her B.S. in Chemistry and Biology in 2013 from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. She is a fellow of Cancer Scholars for Translational and Applied Research (C*STAR) program at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, working on target identification and validation of a novel anticancer compound in the laboratory of Professor Paul J. Hergenrother. She currently serves as chair of International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN) and is an active member of the national Younger Chemist Committee (YCC) of the American Chemical Society.
Christine Dunne gained her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA, in 2013, and is finishing this year her Ph.D. at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA. During the IUPAC General Assembly 2017, Christine was instrumental in making IYCN an active component of WCLM activities.
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