A Short Story of Quick Collaboration

Martin Perkins

6th May 2020

Ethanol, GC/MS, IPA, University of Hertfordshire,

It’s fair to say that analytical science hasn’t always been defined by its dynamism or agility. Things tend to take a while to get done and for good reason.

Regulations are strict and well enforced. Mistakes are costly. Scientists are a cautious bunch.

However, this seems to have changed somewhat in light of recent events. Regulators are sensibly easing restrictions and allowing more labs with spare capacity to help ease the burden. You might be sick of the war-time analogies but it does all seem a bit Dunkirk.

Large and small labs across the country are doing what they can with what they have to make things a little bit better.

Out of necessity, barriers to collaboration have been dismantled, even if physical restrictions have been erected.

This is the context in which Jenny Harmon from the University of Hertfordshire and her colleagues approached us with a great project they were running. They’d taken on the task of producing 100 Litres of hand sanitiser for Hertfordshire County Council – enough to supply the care homes in their area for a month.

They jumped through all the hoops thrown their way and managed to quickly shift from using Ethanol to Isopropanol (IPA) as supplies of the former dried up. When we heard about what they were doing, we were happy to help get them over the line by running some samples of their product. Testing for benzene, fortunately their benzene measurement (as they expected it would), came in safely below the limits they had to meet.

We sat down (virtually) with Jenny and she told us all about the project; how it came about, what they needed to do to get it into production and the urgent benzene measurement, we were pleased to be able to help with.

Well done to Jenny and everyone at University of Hertfordshire for getting this done so quickly. It really has been amazing to see how the scientific community is responding to this crisis.

Analytical scientists will be some of the most important people over the next year and we’ll take every opportunity to help, in any way we can.

This is an edited version of a longer conversation. Head over to our YouTube Channel to see it in full or CONTACT US to find out more.