CIA Dinner – lower numbers but greater stamina

The ICIS contingent at last night’s Chemical Industries Association (CIA) dinner has now recovered sufficiently to be able to string a few words together about the event…


A great time was had by all in the Great Room at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Thursday evening at the CIA’s annual dinner. The CIA had made something of a coup in attracting UK Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to speak. He was a little late and it was generally assumed that he had been involved in the horse trading which saw Baroness Ashton of Upholland (what a great title) become the EU’s first High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy EU President. Mandelson had also been a potential UK candidate for the High Representative post.


He gave a good speech vowing support for the industry in innovation and skills while warning of the “huge challenge of decarbonising industrial chemistry.” (Says chemical engineer Simon: “Just how we’re going to do that in an industry based on organic chemistry is beyond me, but where there’s a will and unlimited science budget there could be a way.”)


Numbers were down, but that had to be expected given the dire year we’ve had. What was noticeable was that a lot of diners stayed in the Great Room to chat after the meal rather than dash off to company hospitality suites (of which there were pitifully few), and it only thinned out at close to 1.00 am.


The CIA used its most important gathering of the year to launch a new “blueprint” for UK chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing. The £60 billion industry helps support 600,000 jobs and makes a big positive contribution to the UK balance of trade and, the CIA feels, deserves wider recognition.


(Event coverage by Nigel Davis, Will Beacham, Simon Robinson, Franco Capaldo.)


Click here for ICIS news articles:

UK chemicals face total re-invention

UK chemical industry at risk – CIA


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