Joseph Black Award


The Joseph Black Award is for an early career scientist in any field covering the practice and teaching of analytical science.


2017 Winner

Dr Nicholle Bell

Joseph Black Award 2017 Winner

Dr Nicholle Bell, The University of Edinburgh


General information


  • Run annually
  • The winner receives 2000, a medal and a certificate 
  • The winner will complete a UK lecture tour           
  • The winner will be chosen by the RSC Analytical Division Awards Committee

Guidelines for Nominators


  • Nominations open on 01 October
  • Nominations close on 15 January 
  • Only RSC Members can nominate for this award
  • Nominees may NOT nominate themselves
  • The award is open to nominees based in the UK and Republic of Ireland only
  • Nominees should be 35 or under on 31 January or be within 10 years of completing their PhD. Consideration will also be given to those who have taken career breaks or followed different study paths.
  • Previous winners of the SAC silver medal are not eligible for this award 
  • 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 
  • Name 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 15 January once only.
  • Referees must state their relationship (if any) with the nominee and note any conflicts of interest.     

Analytical Division Awards Committee


  • Melissa Hanna-Brown, Pfizer Global R+D (Chair)
  • John Dean, University of Northumbria
  • David Elder, GlaxoSmithKline (Retired)
  • Sara Evans, University of Hertfordshire (Retired) 
  • Apryll Stalcup, Dublin City University
  • Jane Thomas-Oates, University of York 

Previous Winners

Joseph Black Award Previous Winners

2009 - present

History of the Award


Joseph Black
The Joseph Black Award was established in 2008, replacing the Society of Analytical Chemistry (SAC) Silver Medal and commemorates the chemist and teacher Joseph Black.

Born in Bordeaux in 1728, Black moved to his father's hometown, Belfast, at the age of 12 to continue his education at the old Latin School. In 1744 he started his studies at the University of Glasgow and after three years chose to pursue chemistry and medicine. He completed his medical studies in 1754 in Edinburgh, producing his well-renowned thesis regarding the use of magnesia as an antacid and the relationship between mild and caustic acids. 

In 1755 Black collated the experiments described in his thesis, along with additional work, in a paper that would become his most noteworthy chemical publication. One of Black's significant findings showed that for chalk to become lime it was necessary to remove carbon dioxide, an important step towards chemistry based on quantitation.

In 1756 Black succeeded his lecturer William Cullen to take up lectureship at the University of Glasgow. During this time his research turned to latent heats and specific heats, work that greatly influenced and supported James Watt's improvement of the steam engine. In 1766 Black again succeeded Cullen, this time as Chair of Chemistry at Edinburgh. Whilst at Edinburgh he completed high quality analytical work including the correction of carbon dioxide interference in alkali titrations by using a blank, and performing the first back titration and titration by weight.

From 1766 Black's interests focused more heavily on developments in the Scottish chemical based industries and education. Black achieved widespread fame for his teaching and lecture style, including memorable demonstrations recorded in students' notes. In 1783 he became a Founder Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.


SAC Silver Medal

Awarded to an early career scientist working in any field covering the practice and teaching of the analytical sciences (discontinued in 2008)

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