The Tilden Prizes are awarded for advances in chemistry.
- Run annually
- Up to three prizes are available
- Winners receive £5000, a medal and a certificate
- Winners will complete UK lecture tours
- Winners are selected by the RSC Prize Committee
- Nominees should be an established career scientist, typically with no more than 30 years of full-time equivalent professional experience (see below for full details)
2022 Tilden Prize Winner
Professor Timothy Donohoe, University of Oxford
For innovative development of catalytic methods that activate organic molecules by redox processes.
2022 Tilden Prize Winner
Professor Christopher Hardacre, The University of Manchester
For outstanding contributions to the areas of liquid and gas phase heterogeneous catalysis.
2022 Tilden Prize Winner
Professor David K Smith, University of York
For pioneering an understanding of molecular materials based on supramolecular gels.
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:
- 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 working in the UK or Ireland only.
- Nominees should be an established career scientist, typically with no more than 30 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 RSC 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.
- Details (title, author/inventor list, publication year, DOI/reference no., abstract) of up to 5 relevant publications/patents. These details should not be included on the nominee's CV, but will be collected separately on the nomination form. For a subset of prizes, including the Tilden Prizes, at the initial stage of judging, committee members will not have access to information on journals in which articles are published. This is to help encourage nominations for a diverse range of nominees, and to enable committee members to focus on the scientific content of papers, as described in the supporting statement, without the influence of publication metrics.
- 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. As committee members will carry out their initial assessments without full details of relevant publications, please ensure this supporting statement clearly sets out how the scientific content of supporting publications addresses 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
RSC Prize Committee
- Sabine Flitsch, University of Manchester (Chair)
- Diane Turner, Anthias Consulting
- Mark Bradley, University of Edinburgh
- Mike Ward, University of Warwick
- Dudley Shallcross, University of Bristol
- Stephen Mudge, Norwegian Institute for Air Research
- Dwayne Heard, University of Leeds
- Magda Titirici, Imperial College London
- David O'Hagan, University of St Andrews
- Paul Brewer, National Physical Laboratory
History of the prize
The Tilden Prizes are named after Sir William Augustus Tilden, British chemist and pioneer in the teaching of science.
Born in 1842, Tilden studied at the School of the Pharmaceutical Society and won the first Bell Scholarship. In 1863, Tilden became demonstrator in chemistry at the Pharmaceutical Society, where he went on to gain his BSc and subsequent DSc.
He spent an eight-year period as senior science master at Clifton College before becoming Chair of Chemistry at Mason College (now the University of Birmingham) and a fellow of the Royal Society.
At the age of 52, Tilden became Professor of Chemistry at the Royal College of Science, a position he held until retirement in 1909. Appointment as Emeritus Professor of Imperial College soon followed.
Tilden's research activities ranged from determining the relationship between the specific heat of metals and their atomic weight, to be investigating the nature of tarpenes and hydrocarbons. In 1884, during his study of terpenes he demonstrated that the synthetic conversion of isopropene into rubber was possible; however, he never managed to develop a commercially viable route to rubber synthesis.
Arguably one of Tilden's most significant legacies was his support of the younger universities of Great Britain as shown in 1889 when he, with Sir William Ramsay and others, secured a government grant of £15,000 for university colleges. He also aimed much of his published work at students and teachers, such as "Hints on Teaching Chemistry" (1895).
Posts held by Tilden included President of the Chemical Section of the British Association, President of the Institute of Chemistry, and treasurer and then President of the Chemical Society. He received a knighthood in 1909.
The prize was established through a bequest from Dame Julia Mary Tilden. 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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