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17 May 2023

King's PhD student awarded Royal Society of Chemistry grant for inclusion and diversity

Jonny Berliner, PhD candidate in the School of Education, Communication & Society, has been granted £5,000 from the Royal Society of Chemistry Inclusion & Diversity Fund.

Colourful test tubes - by vedrana-filipovic-780x440

With support from the CRESTEM team, Jonny Berliner developed ‘Neurodiverse Chemistry’, a project to produce a digital zine telling the life-stories of four successful neurodivergent chemists, depicting the barriers they faced and the lessons they learned to thrive as chemists. He is now working with a team of neurodivergent creatives to bring the idea to life.

The RSC Inclusion & Diversity Fund supports projects that help make the chemical sciences community more inclusive and diverse. This project was a response to the RSC’s special call in support of improving accessibility and disability inclusion in the chemical sciences.

Berliner collected the life-stories as part of his PhD research and the zine draws on the RSC’s own research as well as his analysis. The research shows that chemistry is a discipline that requires a diverse range of cognitive approaches and can therefore be welcoming to a diverse range of neurotypes.

Berliner decided to use the graphic novel format as a more accessible way to understand concepts of inclusivity in chemistry, as well as an easier format to make available freely online, accessible to anyone internationally.

Berliner said: “It is important to me to do this project as I believe that research should be accessible to the people that it is for and about. The stories provide inspiration for potential neurodivergent chemists by showing them that it is normal to face systemic barriers but that these barriers can be overcome.”

I hope it will provide chemistry students with language that will help them to self-advocate and to give educational providers and chemistry employers ways to create more inclusive environments for their neurodivergent chemists.

Jonny Berliner, PhD candidate in the School of Education, Communication & Society

In this story

Jonathan Berliner

PhD candidate