RSC Prizes: guidance for nominators
If you are thinking of nominating an individual, group, team or collaboration for one of our prizes – perhaps for the first time – what are the things that you should be thinking about?
By Professor Sabine Flitsch, RSC Prize Committee Chair, and Professor Dudley Shallcross, RSC Prize Committee 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 – this information is hidden from us. If there is somebody or something that you think is deserving of a prize, make sure you put them forward.
When we are making our decisions, the only consideration is quality. Our family of awardees is only as strong as the nominations we receive. We want the most diverse pool of nominations that we can get, with the very best candidates that represent the full diversity of our community.
When making your nomination, it is important to be thorough, but if you know your nominee or their work well, you will have a good idea already of their attributes. All you need to do is make sure you capture these in your nomination.
1. Write for a general chemistry audience
Collectively our judging panel members have a great breadth of expertise, but it is likely that most members will not have very specialised knowledge of your field.
So make sure that you write for a general chemical audience and do not assume that the panel will know the literature in detail, or the importance of the work you are writing about. It is your job as a nominator to explain all of that as clearly as you can.
2. Use the space wisely
We judge our prizes solely on the information placed in front of us on the nomination form.
You have a limited amount of space on the nomination form, so consider how you can make the best use of that space. For some of our individual prizes, we ask for a one-page CV and a supporting statement. Consider how the CV and supporting statement fit together. By avoiding duplicating information, you can tell us more about your nominee.
3. Address the selection criteria
Take time to read the selection criteria for the prize – these can be found on our webpages – and address these in your supporting statement, providing clear evidence where you can. We will be scoring nominations against these criteria, and making our assessments based on the overall quality of contributions and achievements.
As an example, our Centenary Prizes are awarded to outstanding scientists who are also exceptional communicators. While it is always very clear that our nominees are outstanding scientists, the communication component is often overlooked in nominations. The best nominations cover communication in detail, mentioning public lectures their nominees had been asked to give, media appearances, or teaching awards, to name a few examples.
4. Broader contributions to the community
For our Research & Innovation Prizes for individuals, the form asks for a short statement (up to 100 words), describing how your nominee has contributed more broadly to the scientific community. Where we judge multiple nominees as equally meritorious in relation to the selection criteria, we have the flexibility to use the information in this section as an additional criterion.
The purpose of this section is to capture additional contributions by nominees, beyond their science, which have a focus on giving something back to the community. Please don’t repeat your nominee’s research contributions – as mentioned above, use the space wisely to provide us with new information.
We understand and expect that our nominees' contributions will vary depending on their career stage. We have given a list of examples below that you might choose to write about, but there are many other relevant contributions that you could include.
- 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