Bourke Award

The Bourke Award enables distinguished scientists from overseas to lecture in the UK in the field of physical chemistry or chemical physics.

2019 Winner

Professor David Bertan

2019 Bourke Award Winner

Professor David Beratan, Duke University

General information

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

Guidelines for Nominators

  • Only RSC Members can nominate for this award
  • Nominees may NOT nominate themselves
  • The award is open to nominees working outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland only
  • There are no age restrictions associated with this award 
  • Work completed in the last 10 years will be given particular consideration by the awarding committee
  • When nominating previous RSC Prize and 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 a summary of their 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
  • References are not required for this award and will not be accepted    

The RSC reserves the right to rescind any Prize or Award if there is reasonable grounds to do so. All nominators will be asked to confirm that, to the best of their knowledge, there is no confirmed or potential impediment to their nominee receiving this prize/award related to their professional standing. Our Professional Practice and Code of Conduct can be referred to as a guide on expected standards.

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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
  • Collaborations and teamwork
  • Other indicators of esteem indicated by the nominee/nominator    

Faraday Division Awards Committee

  • Claire Vallance, University of Oxford (Chair)
  • Artem Bakulin, Imperial College London
  • Graham Hutchings, Cardiff University
  • Klaas Wynne, University of Glasgow
  • Sam Stranks, University of Cambridge
  • Helen Fielding, University College London
  • Maria Sanz, King's College London

Previous Winners

Bourke Award Previous Winners

1955 - present

History of the Award

The Faraday Division created the Bourke Award, formerly the Bourke Lectureship, in 1954 to commemorate Lieutenant Colonel John Bourke (1865-1933), one of the benefactors of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Bourke became a founding member of the Faraday Society in 1903, which later became the Faraday Division.

Born in Kilkea, Ireland, Bourke studied Experimental Physics and then Medicine at the Royal University of Ireland, graduating a doctor in 1891. From there, he joined the Indian Medical Service in 1893, where he was commissioned as a Surgeon-Lieutenant. He became a probationer in the Chemical Department in 1897 and quickly progressed to become Chemical Advisor to the Government of Bombay in 1898.

After returning to England to study further advances in Chemistry at the Royal College of Science, he served in China during the Boxer Rebellion before appointment as Probationary Assay Master in India in 1901. Subsequent promotions saw him become Deputy Assay Master at the Bombay Mint in 1902 and Assay Master at the Calcutta Mint in 1911. Despite retiring to London in 1913, Bourke returned to India during the First World War and was Master of the Mint in Calcutta by 1919.

When he finally returned to England in 1919 he was appointed as a Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire. Throughout his retirement, Bourke continued to undertake chemical and physical experiments in his home, which he fitted with high quality laboratory apparatus, as well as an extensive library of scientific textbooks.

Contact and Further Information

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