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Initiatives of Interest to Industry

The formation of IUPAC in 1919 occurred with the strong, in fact essential, support of the chemical industry in Europe. The name of the Union emphasises its connection to "applied" chemistry, and over the years many chemists in industry have made major contributions to IUPAC's work. Nevertheless, much of IUPAC's output has often been viewed as of only marginal relevance to industry.

"What use is IUPAC to industry?" is a question which is often asked and it is perhaps relevant to remind ourselves of some of the basics. It is certainly true, that without the work of IUPAC, industry would find it impossible to carry on its business. No International Atomic Weights, various other validated data, internationally agreed nomenclature, and, in many cases, standard methodology. IUPAC has over the past few years published special issues of its journal Pure and Applied Chemistry devoted to high profile topics being debated in public forums. The two that were published before 1999 covered Chlorine and Environmental Oestrogens. A special issue on Sustainable Chemistry is planned for publication in 2000. These special issues have been published through the efforts of the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry and Industry (COCI). Membership in COCI is open to representatives of all Company Associates. You are encouraged to participate in the work of this group. If you are interested in learning more about the work of COCI please visit the IUPAC web site <http://www.iupac.org> or write to the IUPAC Secretariat <e-mail: secretariat@iupac.org>.

During the last four years IUPAC has initiated significant changes in its long-range goals, its structure, and its management of scientific work, all of which will facilitate closer relations with the chemical industry. For example:

  • The IUPAC Strategic Plan, 1998-99, already distributed to all Company Associates, articulates a specific goal: IUPAC will assist chemistry related industry in its contributions to sustainable development, wealth creation and improvement in the quality of life.

  • Modifications in the structure and operation of the Union's scientific work, given final approval by the IUPAC Council in August 1999, will make IUPAC more responsive to the increasingly interdisciplinary character of chemistry and related sciences. The project-based system will ensure faster response, more rapid completion of projects and broader dissemination of IUPAC's recommendations. IUPAC is now actively seeking proposals for suitable projects from the worldwide community of chemists and the chemical industry.

  • The biennial Critical Assessment of IUPAC Activities by the current Vice President, Dr. Alan Hayes, highlighted ways in which IUPAC can better serve industrial needs, and during his Presidency (beginning January 1, 2000), Dr. Hayes will continue to interact closely with leaders of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry and, especially, of their international trade associations.

A number of recent IUPAC activities and publications are of particular relevance to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. For example:


John W. Jost

IUPAC Excecutive Director


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