Longstaff Prize

The Longstaff Prize is given to an RSC member who has done the most to advance the science of chemistry.

2019 Winner

Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff

2019 Longstaff Prize Winner

Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff, University of Nottingham

General information

  • Run triennially - Closed
  • The winner receives 5000, a medal and a certificate
  • Prize winners are chosen by the RSC Awards Working Group           

Guidelines for Nominators

  • Only RSC Members can nominate for this prize
  • Nominees may NOT nominate themselves
  • Nominees should be members of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • The prize is open to nominees based in the UK or internationally
  • There are no age restrictions associated with this prize
  • 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 
  • References are not required for this prize 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 Prizes

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 Prizes 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      

Awards Working Group

  • Duncan Bruce, University of York (Chair)
  • Duncan Graham, University of Strathclyde 
  • Rob Field, University of Manchester 
  • Robert Mulvey, University of Strathclyde
  • Simon Lancaster, University of East Anglia
  • Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Heriot-Watt University
  • Claire Vallance, University of Oxford
  • Roy Sandbach, Newcastle University
  • Milo Shaffer, Imperial College London
  • Stuart Conway, University of Oxford 

Previous Winners

Longstaff Prize Previous Winners

1881 - present

History of the Prize

First awarded in 1881 this prize commemorates Dr George Dixon Longstaff (1799-1892), a founding fellow and benefactor of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Born in Durham in 1799, Longstaff's introduction to science came from his father, a popular scientific lecturer.  Although there were few scientific books to learn from Longstaff assisted his father and gained sufficient knowledge to deliver his own lectures covering a range of subjects.  This early influence had a positive impact on him as he went on to set up a factory to distil coal-tar in 1822, became an assistant to Professor of Chemistry at Edinburgh University, and graduated as a doctor of medicine from the same institution in 1828.

Longstaff practised as a physician in Hull, founding the Hull and East Riding School of Medicine in 1833.  In the same year he married the daughter of paint manufacturer and fellow chemistry enthusiast Henry Blundell.  Longstaff spent a spell in America where he applied his scientific knowledge in his role as the consulting chemist for the Place Gold Mines Company, after which he returned to England and joined his father in law's firm Blundell Spence and co.  His scientific skills put the company in good stead, with the firm displaying a range of products at the 1851 Great Exhibition.

As well as being a founding fellow of the Chemical Society of London (later to become the Royal Society of Chemistry), he was also Vice-President twice (1853-56 and 1876-77), and helped to establish the Society's Research Fund in 1876.

Contact and Further Information

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