Solving problems, inspiring excellence
The independent review was carried out by a panel chaired by Professor Jeremy Sanders, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge.He said: “Traditionally, I had thought prizes were for the benefit of the individual. I now realise there are other primary purposes. For example, they can be used as a vehicle to help society to understand why chemistry and science are important. They can also encourage scientists to solve societal problems, and to inspire excellence in research standards.
“In carrying out the review, it was clear more recognition for teams was required. Science breakthroughs come more often from teams than from individuals. Breakthroughs also come from unconventional or unexpected places. It’s important we recognise both these aspects.”
Deirdre Black, Royal Society of Chemistry Head of Research & Innovation said: “Since our ancestors painted stars on cave walls we have been curious to understand our universe. Science enriches our lives, revealing new insights about our world and tackling real challenges like averting an antibiotic apocalypse or combatting climate change. We should use science prizes to celebrate science, for the scientific community itself and for the society it serves.”
The reforms follow an extensive review of our awards portfolio – the first since 2008 – and follows extensive consultation with the chemical sciences community, which included consulting more than 2,000 people via surveys, interviews and workshops.
The review also covered literature on recognition, as well as data and perspectives captured from winners, judges, members, Royal Society of Chemistry staff, and the wider community since our last review of prizes and awards in 2008.