We have proudly recognised excellence in the chemical sciences for more than 150 years – but we need to make sure that the ways we reward and recognise modern scientific excellence are fit for today’s needs.
Teamwork, leadership, professionalism and diversity are fundamental elements of excellence in 21st century science, yet the majority of scientific awards overlook or underplay these vital qualities.
This report is the result of an independent review of our recognition programmes. Our aim in commissioning this review was to ensure that our recognition portfolio continues to deliver the maximum impact for chemical scientists, chemistry and society.
Explore the highlights of our vision for scientific recognition in the 21st century, and the changes the Royal Society of Chemistry will make from 2020:
Excellence will remain the first criterion for winning an award. However, we need to expand what we mean by excellence, shining a light on the many types of excellence and the different facets of diversity that are crucial for modern science.
Recognition can be a powerful tool for change
Recognition can validate the achievements of individuals and teams, it has the potential to inspire and support the wider scientific community, and to celebrate the value of science to broader society.
Given this range of purposes, there is clearly no ‘one size fits all’ mechanism for recognition. However, we have an opportunity to use recognition to increase the visibility of the chemical sciences beyond the scientific community.
Prizes and awards can be the mechanism to share exciting new advances with a range of different audiences, and to showcase the impact of research, innovation, engagement and teaching. Prizes and awards should also reflect the diversity of our community.
By naming what we recognise and incentivise through our recognition programmes we be clear about what we believe to be important, using recognition to reflect the chemical sciences at their very best.
Our five point action plan to evolve scientific recognition
We are proud of the heritage and prestige of our awards programmes of the last couple of centuries, and continue to celebrate those people and achievements we have recognised.
It’s now our responsibility to adapt so that future generations of scientists can be rewarded and recognised for a new, more inclusive definition of excellence.
We commit to:
Place more emphasis on great science, not just top professors; this includes teams, technicians and multidisciplinary collaborations.
Give greater recognition to the people who teach chemistry and inspire the amazing scientists of the future.
Showcase leaders who go beyond their day job to break down barriers and open up new and extraordinary opportunities in science.
Celebrate the scientific breakthroughs that transform our understanding of the world and solve major issues like climate change.
Set conduct expectations and revoke prizes when those expectations are not met.
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- See our other inclusion and diversity work