For the past three years I have been privileged to serve as the chair of the International Award Committee for the EuChemS Lecture Award. This award has a long history of illustrious winners dating back to the first in 1980 to Professor Derek Barton, to our recent lecturers Professor Silvia Osuna (2021) for her computational work, Professor Victor Mougel (2020) for his contributions to sustainable chemistry, Professor David Portehault (2019) for his work on nanomaterials and Professor Raffaella Buonsanti (2018) for her research into catalysis.
Serving on awards panels is a very positive experience, because we learn about so many really exciting scientific discoveries well beyond our own field. However, choosing the right candidate can be very challenging, especially from such a large and strong scientific community as we are fortunate to have in Europe. We rely heavily on you, the community, to bring to forward the best candidates from as wide and diverse fields and backgrounds as possible.
I would encourage all of you to help find outstanding candidates within your institution or research fields to be considered for EuChemS awards and other prizes. Nominations do not need to be from senior scientists, but they need to address the criteria of the award, so it is important to consider these carefully. Successful nominations need to state very clearly what the important scientific achievements of the candidates are, with sufficient detail in support but also understandable to the non-expert. Nominees will need to provide their CV which should highlight and explain the candidate’s important scientific discoveries with full references to published work, with the overall CV putting the work into context. It should be emphasised that there are no rules as to the quantity of outputs or metrics – one major scientific publication describing an important and original advance in the field can be just as convincing as a body of several contributions.
For a thriving scientific community to be successful, we need to celebrate diversity in every respect, and scientific awards should reflect this ambition. Very often, we see scientists who are lucky to have strong mentorship to be put forward, and the same scientists are repeatedly nominated. It is so important to look out for achievement that has not been recognised before and I would encourage you all to consider nominating today – scientific awards matter to winners and also matter to all of us.