Gibson-Fawcett Award

The Gibson-Fawcett Award is to recognise original and independent contributions to materials chemistry.

2018 Winner

Dr Silvia Vignolini

2018 Gibson-Fawcett Award Winner

Dr Silvia Vignolini, University of Cambridge

General information

  • Run biennially - Closed for 2021 nominations
  • The winner receives 2000, a medal and a certificate
  • The winner will complete a UK lecture tour
  • The winner will be chosen by the Materials Chemistry 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 based in the UK and Republic of Ireland only
  • Nominees should be a mid-career scientist, typically with no more than 15 years of full-time equivalent professional experience.
  • This should be experience gained as part of a scientific career excluding time spent in full-time education. Time spent as a postgraduate student should not be included e.g. Masters, PhD. Time spent as a post-doctoral researcher should be included. 
  • Nominators will be asked to provide details of the nominee's professional experience, in relation to the above criteria.   
  • Career breaks will be recognised, and applications are particularly encouraged from those whose career has spanned a break due to caring responsibilities or personal circumstances e.g. a period of parental/adoption leave, family commitments, illness, or other exceptional circumstances. 
  • 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 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 
  • 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 work in the same institution as the nominee, or 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 15 January once only       

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.       

Downloadable Files

PDF files require Link icon Adobe Acrobat Reader

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    

Guidelines for Referees

  • The awards system will contact referees to inform them that they must provide reports 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 may not include the nominee's post-doc or PhD supervisor, or work in the same institution.
  • Referees must state their relationship (if any) with the nominee and note any conflicts of interest.     

Materials Chemistry Division Awards Committee

  • Milo Shaffer, Imperial College London (Chair) 
  • Ian Hamley, University of Reading
  • Derek Sinclair, University of Sheffield
  • Peter Skabara, University of Glasgow
  • Charlotte Williams, University of Oxford
  • Emma Kendrick, University of Birmingham            

Previous Winners

Gibson-Fawcett Award Previous Winners

2008 - present

History of the Award

Reginald Gibson
Reginald Gibson
The RSC Gibson-Fawcett Award (previously advertised as the Materials Chemistry Forum Award) was established in 2008.  

This award recognises the contributions of two great chemists, Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett.

Fawcett graduated from Oxford University in 1929, going on to work for ICI Alkali Group's Research Department at Winnington to work on the 'oil from coal' project.

Gibson studied at University College London and was offered a job at the High Pressure Physics Laboratory in Leiden, Holland. Due to the small salary and his family's financial situation at the time, he could not accept. It was only upon receipt of a loan of 25 from the Benevolent Fund of the now Royal Society of Chemistry that Gibson was able to take this position. It was here that he met Anton Michels.

Eric Fawcett
Eric Fawcett

When Gibson returned to ICI in 1931 and Fawcett returned from a one year secondment to the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, they started work together on the effects of high pressures on chemical reactions using equipment designed by Michels. An experiment on 24 March 1933 produced a waxy solid which was later identified as polyethylene.

Shortly before the war, Gibson worked on producing tetra-ethyl lead required for aviation fuel anti-knock compounds. After the war he joined Associated Ethyl as a Chief Chemist, in 1950 he was appointed R&D Manager. Gibson was actively involved in the RSC throughout his life.

In 1938 Fawcett joined what is now BP and was associated with the invention and development of a butane isomerisation process to produce isobutane, an intermediate required in the alkylation process for aviation gasoline.

Contact and Further Information

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