The very first Commonwealth Chemistry Congress (CCC) will take place in Trinidad and Tobago from the 18th to the 21st of May 2020, and will focus on the following topics:

  • Biodiversity and Natural Products
  • Energy and Materials
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Green Chemistry and Catalysis
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Water and Environmental Chemistry

The CCC aims to create partnerships for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, strengthen scientific capacity, inspire and elevate the role of the chemical sciences to society and policy makers, and celebrate achievements in chemistry. Each Commonwealth country will be represented by three ECRs, who will be fully funded to attend the meeting! Applications are invited from early career chemists (i.e. up to 10 years after completion of your PhD, excluding career breaks), who are also members of the RSC, living and working or studying in the UK. Detailed eligibility criteria and application materials can be found here:

Applications need to be submitted by the 10th of November, and applicants will be notified of the outcome by the 30th of November.

The 16th International Symposium on Hyphenated Techniques in Chromatography and Separation Technology (HTC-16) will be taking place in Ghent from the 29th to the 31st of January, 2020). The conference is being organised by the Royal Flemish Chemical Society (KVCV) and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Separation Science Group (SSG). The conference is organised every other year, and focuses on state-of-the-art developments in separation technologies and hyphenated techniques. In three parallel sessions over a total of three days, leading researchers from academia and industry will be presenting plenary lectures, keynote lectures, tutorials, oral and poster-flash presentations, on fundamental and practical aspects of LC and GC, including UHPLC-MS, 2D-LC, GC(×GC)-MS, and SFC.

The HTC conferences have always actively promoted and encouraged the participation of early-career researchers (ECRs) and young scientists, with one of the parallel sessions entirely devoted to ECR presentations. The SSG is proud to announce the availability of several travel bursaries for ECRs (including PhD students) to attend HTC-16. Each bursary will cover registration fees for the conference, though additional funds to cover associated travel costs may be made available in November and will be announced via the SSG website.

To be considered for the travel bursary, the ECR (defined as an individual within 10 years of their first degree or industrial post) must be a member of the RSC, and submit a completed application form to Dr Lee Williams ( and Dr Arundhuti Sen ( by 5 pm on Friday, 6th December 2019. The application form, containing additional application criteria and details, can be found here. Applicants will be informed of the committee’s decision by Friday, 20th December 2019.

There’s little more than a week to go before our 2019 Emerging Separations Technologies symposium at Burlington House, and the anticipation is building! The ubiquity of liquid chromatography, SPE etc. in analytical labs is often misread as an indication of the maturity of separation science as a scientific discipline. As a result, it is easy to overlook the continuous and often remarkable advances in instrumentation and software that are critical for the continued application of such separation techniques. This one-day symposium, organised together with the Chromatographic Society, will focus on emerging technological innovations which are dramatically improving the pace, accuracy, sensitivity or analyte coverage of routine analytical separations. As usual, the symposium program will be run alongside a vendor exhibition, with plenty of opportunities to network, and lunch will be provided by the excellent Burlington House team.
Registration details and a full agenda may be found on the RSC Events website, here, and registration closes on the 27th of March. Discounted registration rates apply to members of the RSC, ChromSoc and the BMSS, as well as to students; special ChromSoc bursaries are also available for students wishing to attend.

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Separation Science Group, the  Environmental Chemistry Group, and the Water Science Forum are very pleased to announce a joint meeting on the Latest Advances in the Analysis of Complex Environmental Matrices, to be held on Friday the 22nd of February 2019, at the RSC’s Burlington House venue in London.

As suggested by the title, this meeting will highlight advances in the analysis of complex environmental matrices such as soils, sediments, water and air, by GC, HPLC, MS and cheminformatics-based approaches. The programme includes talks on a diverse and fascinating array of topics, including (but not limited to) the use of machine learning for ecotoxicology, automated sample preparation methods for pesticide analysis and the use of GC x GC TOF for remote atmospheric monitoring. The keynote lecture will be delivered by Dr Emma Schymanki (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg), on the use of environmental cheminformatics for the identification of unknown chemicals. Registration is open till the 19th of February, and further details, including a full agenda, can be found here.

We’re only two weeks away from the SSG & ChromSoc’s Advances in Clinical and Forensic Analysis 2018 meeting, which will take place on the 27th of November at Burlington House in London. This one-day meeting features the latest innovations in the field, presented by leading researchers from across the UK. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, the meeting this year is a special one for the SSG, as it celebrates the career and achievements of our Keynote speaker, Prof Dave Perrett. While most separation scientists know of Prof Perrett as a world-renowned expert in bioanalytical science, his students at Barts Medical School know him even better as an inspiring and creative educator. It is thus fitting that students can now register for this meeting at no cost. Retired members of the RSC can also register for free, and registration details for everyone can be found at:

If you’re still undecided about attending, we’ve put together a selection of recent high-impact separation science publications from some of our speakers – hopefully this will convince you to register today!



On the 15th October 2018, we lost one of the father-figures of chromatography. At the age of 90 John Knox sadly passed away.

John was a great man, one who managed to walk the very difficult line of being quite brilliant, but also humble enough not to covet the recognition and attention that comes along with such reputation. He was quietly respected by so many people who knew him to be ‘the man’. His legacy continues in the work of many of the current leaders in their field. Barely a lecture is delivered at a chromatography meeting, where some early and important reference isn’t made to him and his co-workers. For many, John is recognised through the Knox equation:


This, with the van Deemter equation, is widely accepted and used to describe the dependence on plate height on linear velocity of the mobile phase.

John was a dedicated academic and an innovator in chromatography. He led many new areas, building one of the first gas chromatographs with Howard Purnell whilst a student at Cambridge in the early 1950s. In the 60s he worked on liquid chromatography with J. C. Giddings in Utah and in the 70s produced new column chromatography materials, which we now know as Hypersil and Hypercarb.

In 2010 the Separation Science Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry awarded its first Knox Medal, to honour individuals deserving special recognition of their innovation or influential work in the field of separation science.



Below are a few quotes from Knox Medal winners:
“…the doyen of chromatography will be greatly missed” – Keith Bartle
“…John lived life to the full, and will leave his imprint on all of us who were lucky enough to meet such a great scientist and modest gentleman” – Ian Wilson
“…John was so very kind to me when I was just starting my career” – Jim Jorgenson”

John Knox will be remembered to be a great scientist, a leader in the field, a kind and decent man, with a good sense of humour whose work has and will continue to make an impact on scientific research.

– Prof. John Langley and Dr Bob Boughtflower, Separation Science Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry

After the success of our previous Advances in Clinical Analysis meetings, we are very pleased to announce Advances in Clinical and Forensic Analysis 2018, organised along with the Chromatographic Society, to be held on Tuesday 27th November 2018 at the RSC’s Burlington House venue in London.

Clinical and forensic analysis together cover some of the most exciting and important topics in the life sciences, and this meeting will provide insights into the latest methodologies and technological developments across these application areas. The meeting will focus on separation and complementary/alternative techniques, along with case studies from the hospital, commercial and academic areas. The programme has been designed to give attendees an update for both routine and problem solving in clinical and forensic analysis, and includes talks from established experts and emerging professionals, including Prof Leon Barron (King’s College London), Dr Melanie Bailey (University of Surrey), Dr Gordon Ross (Agilent Technologies) and Dr Joost Brandsma (University of Southampton), amongst others.  This year, the meeting will also celebrate the career and achievements of Prof David Perrett, our keynote speaker.

Advances in Clinical and Forensic Analysis 2018 will also provide attendees with a unique means of sharing real experiences with other professionals and will provide excellent networking opportunities. We believe this will be a highly interesting and well-attended event, and registration is now open here. Poster abstracts will be accepted till the 11th of November.