The Merck, Sharp & Dohme Prize is for the most meritorious contributions to any area of organic chemistry made by a mid-career scientist.
- Run annually
- The winner receives £3000, a medal and a certificate
- The winner will complete a UK lecture tour
- The winner will be chosen by the Organic Chemistry Prize Committee
2022 Organic Division mid-career Award: Merck, Sharp and Dohme Award Winner
Dr Katherine Wheelhouse, GlaxoSmithKline
For contributions to the application and industrialisation of chemical catalysis in the pharmaceutical industry in the pursuit of more sustainable synthesis of medicines.
Guidelines for nominators
- Nominations open 18 October.
- Nominations close 18 January, 17:00 GMT.
- Only RSC members can nominate for this prize.
- Nominees may NOT nominate themselves.
- We will not consider nominations of deceased individuals.
- Nominees can only be considered for one of our Research & Innovation Prizes in any given year. In a case where a nominee is nominated for more than one prize independently, RSC staff will ask the nominee which prize they would like to be considered for.
- Individuals named in any of the following roles during the nomination and judging period are not eligible to nominate or be nominated:
- Organic Chemistry Prize Committee members
- RSC Subject Community Presidents
- RSC Prize Committee members
- Trustees of the Royal Society of Chemistry
- Royal Society of Chemistry staff
- The prize is open to nominees based in the UK and Ireland only.
- Nominees should be a mid-career scientist, typically with no more than 20 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 (see below)
- Career breaks will be taken into consideration, 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 winners, please remember that a person cannot be awarded twice for substantially the same body of work.
- Nominees should only be nominated once for this prize in any given prize cycle. In cases where we receive more than one nomination for the same nominee, only one nomination will go forward to judging.
- Starting from the 2023 cycle, unsuccessful nominations for this prize will automatically rollover to the next prize cycle, unless the nominee’s circumstances have changed so as to make them ineligible, in relation to the eligibility criteria for the prize as outlined above. We encourage nominators to update their nomination between cycles when the nomination window is open. Nominations will be considered for two consecutive prize cycles.
To make a nomination, please use our online nominations system to submit the following information:
- Your name, contact details, and membership number (please contact the RSC Membership team if you do not know your membership details) Your RSC membership must be confirmed at the point of nomination – it is not sufficient to have a membership application in process. The identity of nominators is not made known to our judging panels. The RSC reserves the right to amend nominations if necessary to ensure the anonymity of the nominator.
- Your 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, and a maximum of 5 relevant publications or patents.
- Brief details (up to 150 words) of your nominee’s professional experience, in relation to the career stage-related eligibility criteria detailed above. Please include details of any career breaks or periods of absence that you feel that the judging committee should consider.
- A short citation describing what the nominee should be awarded for. This must be no longer than 250 characters (including spaces) and no longer than one sentence.
- A supporting statement (up to 750 words) addressing the selection criteria. Our guidance for nominators page has more information on writing this supporting statement.
- A statement (up to 100 words) describing how your nominee has contributed more broadly to the scientific community. A list of possible examples is outlined in the ‘selection criteria’ tab.
- References are not required for this award and will not be accepted.
The RSC reserves the right to rescind any prize if there are reasonable grounds to do so. All nominators will be asked to confirm that to the best of their knowledge there is no impediment, relating to professional conduct, to their nominee receiving this prize. All prize winners will be asked to sign the RSC’s Code of Conduct Declaration for Recognition.Make a nomination
Selection Criteria and Judging Panel
Our selection committees base their evaluations on the overall quality of relevant contributions and achievements by nominees, in relation to the selection criteria listed below.
The scientific content of any supporting publications, as described in the supporting statement, is much more important than publication metrics or the identity of the journal in which it is published.
The selection committee will consider the following aspects of nominations for this prize:
- Originality of research
- Impact of research
- Quality of publications and/or patents and/or software
- Professional standing
- Collaborations and teamwork
- Other indicators of esteem indicated by the nominator
In an instance where multiple nominees are judged equally meritorious in relation to the above criteria, judging panels have the flexibility to use information provided by the nominator on the nominee’s broader contribution to the chemistry community as an additional criterion.
Examples of relevant contributions could include, but are not limited to:
- Involvement with Royal Society of Chemistry member groups/networks
- Effective mentorship
- Service on boards, committees or panels
- Leadership in the scientific community
- Promotion of diversity and inclusion
- Advocacy for chemistry
- Public engagement and outreach
Organic Chemistry Prize Committee
- David O'Hagan, University of St Andrews (Chair)
- Beatrice Collins, University of Bristol
- Adrian Dobbs, University of Surrey
- Nicole Hamblin, Charles River
- Amanda Jarvis, University of Edinburgh
- Gavin Milne, Sygnature Discovery Ltd
History of the prize
Originally the Rhône-Poulenc Lectureship, this prize was founded to mark the sesquicentenary of what was then May & Baker Ltd. The Lectureship was awarded for notable contributions to organic chemistry. The prize was renamed as the Merck, Sharp & Dohme Prize in 2017, and continues to be kindly supported by MSD.
The prize was established in 1984 through a bequest. In 2021, the purposes of this Trust were amended, and remaining monies were combined with other generous bequests and donations to become part of the RSC Recognition Fund.
Re-thinking recognition: Science prizes for the modern world
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.
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