RSC Prizes: guidance for nominators
If you are thinking of nominating an individual or team for one of our prizes – perhaps for the first time – what are the things that you should be thinking about?
By Professor Duncan Bruce, Awards Working Group Chair, and Professor Claire Vallance, Awards Working Group Vice-Chair
We encourage all of you to nominate. There is no reason to feel shy or worried about putting in a nomination because as judges, we don’t know who the nominators are – it’s completely blind to us. If there is somebody who you think is deserving of a prize, make sure you put them forward. There is no doubt that our prizes and awards have a very deep impact on people’s professional and personal lives.
When we are making our decisions, the only consideration is quality. Diversity comes in the pool of nominations and so our family of awardees is only as good as the nominations we receive, and the quality and diversity of nominations equate to those who win. We want the most diverse pool of nominations that we can get, with the very best candidates that represent the diversity of the community.
Your nomination form
Don’t be put off by the amount of information requested in the form! It is important to be thorough, but if you know your nominee well – either by reputation or personally – you will have a good idea already of their attributes. All you need to do is make sure you capture them in your supporting statement.
It is important to understand how the prizes are judged. There will be a panel of judges for each prize, and for our general chemistry prizes they will have expertise across the subject that is chemistry. Collectively they will have a great breadth of knowledge, but you should assume that they will not have very specific knowledge of the field of your nominee.
Therefore, when you put together your nomination, make sure that you write for a general chemical audience. You should explain in some detail what the person’s or team’s achievements have been in their field, but do not assume that the panel will know the person that you are writing about, that they know the literature in that field or the impact of that person's work. It is your job as a nominator to explain all of that as clearly as you can.
Another important point, related to the first, is that we judge the prizes solely on the information placed in front of us on the nomination form. As judges, we are not expected to go and research each individual candidate to find information beyond what the nominator has written.
Make sure that all of the criteria for the prize are covered in your nomination form. We will be scoring and ranking candidates against the criteria that we have been given for each prize.
An example of this is the Centenary Prize, which is awarded to outstanding scientists who are also exceptional communicators. While it was very clear that everyone nominated last year was an outstanding scientist, a key part of the criteria for this prize is that they also have to be an exceptional communicator, and this was often overlooked in nominations. Thus, the best nominations covered communication in detail, mentioning public lectures their nominees had been asked to give, media appearances, or teaching awards. There are many different types of evidence that nominators can provide.
Explore our prizes
- Read the information about the prize
- Match your nomination to the criteria of the prize
- Write your nomination for a general scientific audience
- Explain clearly what your nominee has done to set them apart from others in their field