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E Origin of and Information on the Chemical Sciences Roundtable In April 1994 the American Chemical Society (ACS) held technology affecting the government, industrial, and aca- an Interactive Presidential Colloquium entitled “Shaping the demic sectors. To support this mission the Chemical Sciences Future: The Chemical Research Environment in the Next Roundtable will do the following: Century.”1 The report from this colloquium identified sev- eral objectives, including the need to ensure communication • Identify topics of importance to the chemical science on key issues among government, industry, and university and technology community by holding periodic discussions representatives. The rapidly changing environment in the and presentations, and gathering input from the broadest United States for science and technology has created a num- possible set of constituencies involved in chemical science ber of stresses on the chemical enterprise. The stresses are and technology. particularly important with regard to the chemical industry, • Organize workshops and symposiums and publish which is a major segment of U.S. industry, in terms of trade reports on topics important to the continuing health and and employment opportunities for a technical workforce. A advancement of chemical science and technology. neutral and credible forum for communication among all seg- • Disseminate information and knowledge gained in the ments of the enterprise could enhance the future well-being workshops and reports to the chemical science and technol- of chemical science and technology. ogy community through discussions with, presentations to, After the report was issued, a formal request for such a and engagement of other forums and organizations. roundtable activity was transmitted to Dr. Bruce M. Alberts, • Bring topics deserving further in-depth study to the chairman of the National Research Council (NRC), by the attention of the NRC’s Board on Chemical Sciences and Federal Interagency Chemistry Representatives, an informal Technology. The roundtable itself will not attempt to resolve organization of representatives from the various federal agen- the issues and problems that it identifies—it will make no cies that support chemical research. As part of the NRC, the recommendations or provide any specific guidance. Rather, Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology (BCST) can the goal of the roundtable is to ensure a full and meaningful provide an intellectual focus on issues and fundamentals of discussion of the identified topics so that the participants in science and technology across the broad fields of chemistry the workshops and the community as a whole can determine and chemical engineering. In the winter of 1996 Dr. Alberts the best courses of action. asked BCST to establish the Chemical Sciences Roundtable to provide a mechanism for initiating and maintaining the dialogue envisioned in the ACS report. The mission of the Chemical Sciences Roundtable is to provide a science-oriented, apolitical forum to enhance understanding of the critical issues in chemical science and 1American Chemical Society. 1994. Shaping the Future: The Chemical Research Environment in the Next Century. Report from the Interactive Presi- dential Colloquium, April 7-9, Washington, D.C. 87
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