Hickinbottom Award


The Hickinbottom Award is for contributions to any area of organic chemistry from a researcher under the age of 35.


2016 Winner

Dr Stephen Thomas

Hickinbottom Award 2016 Winner

Dr Stephen Thomas, University of Edinburgh


General information


  • Run annually
  • The winner receives £2000, a medal and a certificate
  • The winner also receives the £4000 Briggs Scholarship to support one of their research students  
  • The winner will complete a UK lecture tour
  • The winner will be chosen by the Organic Division Awards Committee

Guidelines for Nominators


  • Nominations open on 01 October
  • Nominations close on 16 January 
  • Only RSC Members can nominate for this award
  • Nominees may NOT nominate themselves
  • The award is open to nominees working in the UK or Republic of Ireland only
  • Nominees must be 35 or under on 31 January. Consideration will also be given to those who have taken career breaks or followed different study paths 
  • Nominees will be assessed on their work published in the previous five years
  • When nominating previous RSC prize or award winners, please remember that a person cannot be awarded twice for substantially the same body of work

To make a nomination please use our online awards nominations system  to submit the following:

  • Your name, contact details, and membership number (please contact the RSC Membership team if you do not know your membership details)
  • The nominee's name and contact details 
  • An up to date CV for the nominee (no longer than one A4 side, 11pt text) which should include their date of birth, summary of education and career, a list of 5 relevant publications, total numbers of publications and patents (if appropriate) and website URL if relevant
  • A supporting statement (up to 4500 characters, not including spaces) addressing the selection criteria
  • A short citation describing what the nominee should be awarded for. This must be no longer than 250 characters (not including spaces) and ideally no longer than one sentence
  • The names and contact details of two referees. Please inform referees of the nomination as the awards system will contact them as soon as the application is submitted. Referees may not include the nominee's post-doc or PhD supervisor 
  • Referees must provide reports by 31 January
  • We will contact nominators and referees of nominees with outstanding references one week after close of nominations on 16 January once only.      

Selection Criteria for RSC Awards


Our selection committees base their evaluations primarily on the overall quality of relevant contributions made by nominees and not simply on quantitative measures.

The selection committee(s) will consider the following aspects of all nominations for scientific research Awards as appropriate:

  • Originality of research
  • Impact of research
  • Quality of publications and/or patents and/or software
  • Innovation
  • Professional standing
  • Independence 
  • Collaborations and teamwork
  • Other indicators of esteem indicated by the nominee/nominator       

Guidelines for Referees


  • The awards system will contact referees to inform them that they must provide reports (of up to 4500 characters, not including spaces) by 31 January.
  • We will contact nominators and referees of nominees with outstanding references after one week after close of nominations on 16 January once only.
  • Referees must state their relationship (if any) with the nominee and note any conflicts of interest.    

Organic Division Awards Committee


  • Alison Hulme, University of Edinburgh (Chair) 
  • Debra Wallace, MSD
  • Stephen Clark, University of Glasgow
  • Ed Anderson, University of Oxford
  • Gonçalo Bernardes, University of Cambridge
  • Vipul Patel, GSK 

Previous Winners

Hickinbottom Award Previous Winners

1981 - present

History of the Award


Established in 1979 following a bequest from Wilfrid Hickinbottom, the Hickinbottom Award also includes a Briggs scholarship, funded by a bequest from William Briggs' daughter Lady Alice Lilian Thorpe.

Wilfrid John Hickinbottom, born in 1896, spent his school years at King Edward's School, Birmingham.  Following a period spent at the Royal Naval Cordite factory during the war he studied chemistry at the University of Birmingham, graduating with a first class honours in 1921.  Following this he completed a PhD under the supervision of Professor G. T. Morgan.

His academic career saw him appointed as an assistant lecturer (1924) and then lecturer (1927) in the University of Birmingham's department of chemistry.  In 1930 his work in the area of aromatic amine chemistry and carbohydrate chemistry earned him a Doctor of Science degree. He took up readership at Queen Mary College in 1947 during a time of post-war financial difficulty, with 5 pounds of funding offered for a year of research!  However, with support from the Institute of Petroleum Hickinbottom built a research group that investigated the reactions of hydrocarbons.  

Hickinbottom preferred a more classical approach to research and his contemporaries noted that he was not very receptive of the emerging electronic theory of organic chemistry.  He was however very supportive of the development of high standards of experimental chemistry as shown by his handbook Reactions of Organic Compounds, first produced in 1936 and still treasured in teaching labs today.  In 1960 he became professor of organic chemistry before retiring as emeritus professor in 1963 and later becoming a visiting professor at the University of Khartoum.

Hickinbottom, who married the professional pianist Greta Parkinson in 1953, enjoyed painting and spent hours in the Essex countryside in pursuit of this hobby.  Peers described him as mildly eccentric but always a gentleman, demonstrated during his retirement years when he kept an open house in Guildford for the steady stream of former research students who visited.


Submit your nomination

Related Links

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Deadline for nominations is 16 January 2017. Your nomination can be saved and completed at any time.


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Contact and Further Information

Awards
Royal Society of Chemistry, Thomas Graham House, Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF
Tel: +44 (0)1223 420066