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Finnish Chemical Society – Suomalaisten Kemistien Seura

Finnish Chemical Society was founded in 1919 and currently with 2900 members it is one of the largest scientific societies in Finland. For full members of the society applicants are required to have at least masters degree in chemistry while university students majoring in chemistry are eligible as young membership.

The central purpose of the Finnish Chemical Society is to advance the recognition of chemistry in co-opretion with the main operators in chemical industry. Finnish Chemical Society provides a strong networking opportunity to chemists and chemical engineers and supports the
development of know-how among practitioners. Finnish Chemical Society invests in the development of high quality education in chemistry on all levels. Finnish Chemical Society supports students majoring in chemistry from the freshman stage on and also provides a wide network of
active members that can help the young chemists when moving to work career. Finnish Chemical Society has nine local sub-societies geographically covering whole Finland as well as 18 sections in different fields of chemistry. The society holds annually at least seven general meetings.

Finnish Chemical Society has severals awards and stipends. Komppa award is given annually to in maximum two doctoral dissertations of exceptional quality in theoretical or applied chemistry. N. J. Toivonen fund supports research in organic chemisty in Finland. The award for young chemists is given to one or two chemists or students of chemistry under 30 years of age. There are stipends for university students majoring in chemistry and also for promising high school students.

A new strategic vision into the future of the Finnish Chemical Society

The Finnish Chemical Society is a chemists´ union with traditions. Its history reaches back to the very early years of Finnish independence, and we will thus soon celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Over a year ago the Board of the Society began working on a new strategy. We had indeed held internal strategy seminars annually. However, it was a long time since a novel strategy document had been considered necessary.
But the yearly seminars led the Board to reflect more and more deeply the role and functions of a society of this kind, from the viewpoint of its membership on one hand, from that of various stakeholders on the other.

It is justified to examine the raison d’être of a society of chemists from various directions. Are we, in the first place, a scientific society and if yes, what should then be the essence of its activities? Do we have a role in emphasising the general role of chemistry among a wider public? Should a professional society of chemists aim at being able to influence education and research in the field of chemistry, and perhaps even their funding? Or are we ultimately an association which concentrates on maintaining social relations among the craft?

An important step in creating the strategy was taken during an extended Board seminar day in the autumn of 2014. Based on extensive preparations, in-depth discussions and a number of group assignments we were finally able to formulate the core ideas and future policies
for the strategy, as well as the general alignments for its representation.

We ended up with a new formulation for the role of the Finnish Chemical Society: FCS is an uncommitted scientific society and a union for all Finnish chemists. In other words we decided to define a double role for the society, scientific and social. The new strategy aligns several concrete duties for the Society in supporting networking between stakeholders and highlighting the importance of chemistry in Finland. It emphasises chemistry as a science which is able to provide solutions to challenges within the environment and human welfare, the availability of energy, clean water and nutrition as well as the development of new materials.

We defined four focuses for the Society:

  • promotion of science and know-how
  • support to entrepreneurship
  • sustainable development
  • a look to the future

As the Chairman of the Society I personally consider the fourth to be of special importance because it stresses the significance of working with the young. One of the concrete goals of the Society is to be able to reach the best talent of the generation and have them study chemistry. This is going to call for careful planning by a Society where the average age of the membership undeniably is relatively
high.

In designing the strategy one of our aims was to express its ideas as concisely as possible. A leading principle was not to prepare an action plan but rather to decide upon concrete actions only at a later phase and align them based on the strategy.

During summer and past autumn the strategy was given a stylish visual look – at least according to our own opinion. The strategy will be enforced in the annual meeting of the Society at the end of November and it will be published on FCS web pages immediately after.

Self-evidently strategic planning in the Finnish Chemical Society will not end with this. The next phase is the definition of its policies and activities through designing both a long-term plan and yearly action plans which are based on the new strategy. On the basis of the experience gained over this process I dare to argue that it is indeed necessary, from time to time, to undergo a similar process which reassesses the fundamentals and redirects the functions of a society. It tends to broaden the thinking of at least all decisionmakers and hopefully also that of the membership.

As the Chairman of FCS I look forward, with great enthusiasm, to the joint work of the Board over the next stages of the planning processes.

Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma

The Finnish Chemical Societies: Facts & Figures

Finland has three chemical societies: Finnish Chemical Society (Suomalaisten Kemistien Seura, SKS), Chemical Society of Finland (Finska Kemistsamfundet, FKS), and Finnish Society of Chemical Engineers (Kemiallisteknillinen Yhdistys, KTY). While the three societies operate as independent parallel organizations, it has been agreed that joint responsibilities and international activities (IUPAC, EuCheMS, and EFCE) will be held by the Finnish Chemical Society. These three societies have jointly 3 200 members 80% of which are members of the Finnish Chemical Society.

The Finnish Chemical Society: Key Actor in Finland

The Finnish Chemical Society will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019. With its 3200 members it is one of the largest scientific societies in Finland. For a full membership of the society a master’s degree in chemistry is required, whereas the university students majoring in chemistry are eligible as young members. The Finnish Chemical Society provides a strong networking opportunity to chemists and chemical engineers. The current President of the Finnish Chemical Society is Professor Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma (University of Helsinki) and Heleena Karrus acts as General Secretary of the Finnish Chemical Societies.
(http://suomalaistenkemistienseura.fi/)

Chemistry Days (Kemian Päivät), the largest meeting of its kind in the Nordic countries is arranged semiannually by the Finnish Chemical Society together with other societies. Chemistry Days consist of seminars both for professionals and general audience as well as ChemBio Finland exhibition and other program arranged together with The Chemical Industry Federation of Finland (Kemianteollisuus ry) and Finnish Bioindustries FIB (Suomen Bioteollisuus FIB). A special track for education is included. In March 2015 the two-day Chemistry Days attracted 1500 attendees, and the exhibition had some 4500 visitors.
(http://kemianseurat.fi/kemia/kp2015/)

Kemia-Kemi is the main Finnish journal on chemistry. It is one of the benefits for the members of the three Finnish chemical societies. It is published eight times annually both in the printed form and as an e-journal. The members of the Finnish chemical societies also receive regularly electronic newsletters.
(http://www.kemia-lehti.fi)

The Finnish Chemical Society has nine local chapters geographically covering the whole country as well as eighteen sections in various fields of chemistry. The society holds annually at least seven general meetings. The Finnish Chemical Society has several awards and stipends: The Komppa Prize is awarded annually for up to two doctoral dissertations of outstanding quality in theoretical or applied chemistry. The N. J. Toivonen Fund supports research in organic chemistry in Finland. The Young Scientist Award is given to one or two chemists or chemistry students under 30 years of age. In addition, there are stipends for university students majoring in chemistry and also for promising high school students.

Young chemists in the focus of the Finnish Chemical Society

The Finnish Chemical Society invests in the development of high quality education in chemistry on all levels and supports students majoring in chemistry from the freshman stage on. Furthermore, it also provides a wide network of active members that can help the young chemists when moving to working life.

To quote Dr. Kimmo Himberg, the Immediate Past President of the society: “…One of the concrete goals of the Society is to be able to reach the best talent of the generation and have them study chemistry. This is going to call for careful planning by a Society, where the average age of the membership undeniably is relatively high.”

The Finnish Chemical Society is confident that the younger generation of chemists will have a major influence in solving the global challenges of humanity by means of chemistry. These challenges comprise for example pure drinking water, new materials, combating infectious diseases, climate change, energy, and sustainable production of food.