Message from the President - November 2020

Written by Danny Wong 


Dear members,


The NSW Branch held its annual general meeting on 15th October.  The Branch decided to conduct the meeting online this year for safety reasons and to observe the social distancing rules.  Apart from committee members, it was pleasing to see other members joining us at the meeting.  Thank you for your time and participation!



The Branch was very excited to welcome a group of talented musicians from Northholm Grammar School to provide some entertainments during the meeting this year.  Thank you to Joseph on the piano, Andy on the saxophone, Amber on the clarinet, Evie on the flute, both Lauren and Bridget on voice.  They each performed at the start to welcome all members to the meeting, saving us from the embarrassment of having to sing/dance ourselves on the balcony or in the living room, a scene that we saw in Italy and elsewhere earlier this year!  Thank you to the teachers at the School, Ms Lauren Barlow, Ms Alice Hanna and Mr David Stratton, for coordinating and participating in the event. While we were all blown away by their performance, the students appreciated the rare opportunity for performing in 2020!

Prior to the meeting, attendees received a set of annual reports from the Branch and the NSW Groups and Sections.  Thank you to Groups and Sections for submitting their reports to us.  The National Office has adopted a new one-page format for the report this year that requires us to look forward and plan activities accordingly in the next financial year.  If you would like to receive an electronic copy of this set of annual reports, please contact Claire at the Branch Office.  Although the Covid-19 pandemic has prevented us from organising our popular social functions (notably the Fellows Lunch, the President’s Dinner) and activities / events (e.g. titration competitions, crystal growing competitions) this year, we have persisted with our monthly committee meetings to discuss and to plan for the foreseeable future.  As reported in previous newsletters, several Groups were able to quickly move their activities online to remain connected with members. In conjunction with all Groups and Sections, the Branch also continued with our monthly newsletters to communicate and to stay engaged with members.  I am particularly pleased to see the Chemical Education Group being re-activated in 2020.  The Branch will of course assist any Groups / Sections experiencing difficulty in organising activities and events during the year.  Records in our office indicated a surge in new student memberships (>65%) in the last financial year.  This is clearly a significant effort of the Mentoring Program, Early Career Chemists Group and many academic members.  Accordingly, I like to suggest all Groups and Sections to always think of our student members in planning activities in the next financial year to ensure RACI remains relevant and resourceful to student members.  Meanwhile, the Branch is also aiming at strengthening our relationships with the Science Teachers Association of New South Wales, Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales and the Australian Institute of Physics.  Hopefully, we are able to resume our popular social functions and other events in 2021 as many of us are tired of virtual meetings!

As the Honorary Treasurer, Lidia Matesic reported a diminished income and a diminished expenditure in the past financial year, resulting in, fortunately, only a small loss overall.  We hope the circumstance beyond our control will improve in 2021 so that we can resume many activities and events, as stated above.  In this respect, the Branch would like to acknowledge the support from Agilent Technologies, Anton Paar, Chemika, DCS Technical Pty Ltd, Envirolab Services, FB Rice, Foundry Intellectual Property, John Morris Group, Kelly Scientific, Laboratories Credit Union, SCIEX, SGS, Shimadzu, and Spruson & Ferguson Intellectual Property in the past year.

After being an active member for the past 8 years, Lidia has stepped down from the Honorary Treasurer position in the Branch committee.  I thank Lidia for her hard work in all these years.  Meanwhile, we like to congratulate Lidia for being elected as the National Treasurer!  I’m sure we will continue to hear from Lidia from time to time.

There is an unwritten rule within the NSW Branch to rotate the presidency from an academic member to a government employee and then to an industry member.  My two-year term as the President of the NSW Branch expired in October this year.  However, as the President-Elect, Nigel Lengkeek, is more prepared to take up the role in October 2021, I will remain as the President for another year.  This was endorsed by NSW Branch Committee early this year and was also supported by the National Office.  I like to reiterate my gratitude to the Branch Committee for their trust and confidence in me.  Meanwhile, I am pleased to announce the NSW Branch Committee 2020 – 2021 as follows:

  • President – Dr Danny Wong
  • President-Elect – Dr Nigel Lengkeek
  • Immediate Past President – Mrs Tania Notaras
  • Past President – Honorary Associate Professor Roger Read
  • Honorary Secretary – Dr Jessica Carolan
  • Honorary Treasurer – Dr Sinead Keaveney
  • Elected Members –  Mr David Edmonds                           Mr William Li

                                       Dr Saji CuhaWijay                             Dr Stephen George-Williams

                                       Mr David Springer                             Mr Charles Mckibbin

                                       Mrs Maree Stuart                               Dr Vipul Agarwal


I am delighted to report many members have either nominated themselves or were nominated to be in the Committee this year!  A very warm welcome indeed to all of you!  We will have an opportunity to learn about each committee member in our upcoming newsletters.  A distinct feature of the Branch Committee is that it is made up of a very diverse group ranging from retirees to early career researchers, covering academic, government and industry members.  This is indeed the strength of the committee ready to serve all members in NSW!  Every effort will be made to ensure inclusiveness of all committee members in drawing out plans for the next financial year.  The Branch would also like to acknowledge contributions made by the Coordinator, Claire Jung, in always ensuring smooth and on-time completion of all tasks.

At this point of the meeting, students from Northholm Grammar School once again put up a spectacular performance in a musical interlude for all members.  Bravo, Northholm Grammar School!


During the meeting, we were also excited that the awardee of the Archibald Ollé Prize 2020, Dr Michael Gotsbacher, was able to join us at the meeting to deliver a talk on his winning work entitled “Reverse Chemical Proteomics identifies an Unanticipated Human Target of the Antimalarial Artesunate”, published in ACS Chemical Biology.  Congratulations to Dr Gotsbacher again!  Additional information about Dr Gotsbacher is included in this Newsletter.



Thank you for allowing me to provide a report on the annual general meeting in the November Newsletter.  In this Newsletter, I also like to welcome all new members in the past month, and you can get to know some of them in the New Members section of this Newsletter.  I again urge many members to be involved to gain the most from your membership.  Do feel free to get in touch with me or the Branch Office if you have any ideas for consideration by the NSW Branch.  To many student members, the very best of luck for your upcoming end-of-year examinations!  Meanwhile, continue to stay safe and stay healthy!


Danny Wong

RACI NSW Branch President

“Nurture the passion, discover the possibilities"




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