What do you think, guys? Will our kind – the synthesis chemists – still be around in, let’s say, 25 years from now? (By “around” I mean still here in the Western World.) We can all agree that organic synthesis is damn expensive. Will society, academia and industry be able to pay for the services and products we provide in the future?

Most chemist, myself included, do their best to avoid even thinking about it. But the landscape is changing and there is little point in denying that. Almost on a weekly basis, we hear of yet another R&D facility closure over the news. Big companies set up shops in China and India. Are we Westerners facing extinction?

Some people still appear enthusiastic…

Thumbs up
Nature 2009, 460, 197-201. (Available here.)

…while other see serious obstacles ahead.
Thumbs down
Org. Process Res. Dev. 2010, 14, 749. (Available here.)

In my humble opinion, we can never compete against China and India with quantity. That is a dead end. Our only chance is quality. If we succeed to contain the synthesis excellence here, then, and only then, we stand a fair chance of survival.

Or what do you think?


One Response to On everybody’s mind — On no one’s lips: The future of organic synthesis

  1. CatalysisAlex says:

    Quality is most likely the word of the day.
    But that means nevertheless less jobs locally 🙁

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