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Strengthening the core of our brand

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This editorial started already with the last sentence of Peter Schreiner‘s editorial in January 2020, where he referred to communicating in English as an important step to strengthen our evolving identity as part of the global scientific community. “Let‘s talk to each other” was the last sentence in his article, which marked the next two years of his presidency, and this is also exactly how my journey to this presidency started. On the first day after my summer break, I received a call from Peter: “Let‘s have a talk!” To my big surprise he did not want to talk about the progress of one of the project groups, but he asked me whether I was interested in throwing my name into the ring to become president 2022 – 2023.

I was flabbergasted and asked for a week to think it over and cover my bases (family, friends, and Covestro). In the end, this is not just any society but an internationally renowned scientific society with 150 years of honoured heritage, a strong brand (GDCh), and renowned journals, and which is home to 30 000 proud, passionate, and enthusiastic members.

Long story short, I am honoured to have received the green light and strong support from all sides, and especially for the trust of my colleagues in the GDCh Board. I am excited to take on this new challenge and serve the GDCh to the best of my abilities to fill in Peter‘s footsteps. Thankfully, the Board accepted my proposals for the vice presidential positions: Katharina Uebele and Peter Schreiner. They bring plenty of experience in the GDCh, come from diverse backgrounds representing our members, and share with me ideas for the future of our society.

It is almost a truism to say that the future of the society cannot be built only on the successes of the past, but we need to actively shape it to keep up with changes in society, science, and the world around us.

How do we do this? Aligned with our GDCh vision statements, we want to continue our journey on the path of digitalisation and online offerings. Our app has just successfully launched and will not be the only step we take. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to accelerate our understanding of digital tools, which we will continue and extend.

The society is not alone in these times of change; we can learn and exchange with our partners and friends in other international scientific societies. We need to open the GDCh even more as international exchange becomes more important, and we would like to be a home for everyone interested in the German chemical community. We need to listen more to the ideas of our next generation, while continuing to give a voice to those who bring more experience to the table. An important element of this endeavour is our renowned conferences. How can we provide the optimal platforms for scientific excellence, networking, innovative exchange, and community building?

Another key point is to strengthen the core of our brand: the unique mixture of academia and industry, young and old, regional and global presence, and the diverse fields of chemistry. How can we embrace, support, and enable this diversity to achieve great outcomes and remain a relevant community for our members at every step of their lives: from the beginning of their education, to PhD, to career start, to professional evolution, to senior management, to retired experts. Last but not least, we need to demonstrate our value to our industrial partners to support chemists in industry and stay connected to the evolving business environment.

A lot of work needs to be done, and some of the issues raised may require society to take bolder steps. The members of the GDCh Board, our GDCh Office, Katharina, Peter, and I will make sure that we honour our heritage and start from what unites all of us: passion for chemistry and excellence in science.

Dr. Karsten Danielmeier President of the German Chemical Society 2022/23



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