The Royal Society of Chemistry will award more awards recognizing team science, engineers, and interdisciplinary research rather than just honoring individual scientists.
Currently, 80 of the 90 prizes awarded by the Society are given to individuals, including the Society’s Faraday Lectureship Prize, which has been awarded every three years to an eminent theoretical chemist since it was founded in 1869.
However, the Royal Society of Chemistry announced on December 12th that, following an independent review, “there will be more opportunities for teams and collaborations to get recognized for their work” as it “reflects more closely”.[s] how science is done today ”.
It will announce its new set of awards next year as part of a “streamlining” of its pricing structure, the company said.
Helen Pain, the company’s vice chairwoman of the board of directors, said the current systems of academic recognition had “roots in the 19th century” but that the new structures would “reflect the challenges we face today”.
“Outstanding science is often a team effort, in contrast to the stereotypical image of a solo chemist working in isolation in his laboratory,” explained Dr. Pain.
While “excellence will remain the first criterion for winning an award,” said Dr. Pain, society would “shed light on the many types of excellence and the various facets of diversity that are critical to modern science”.
As part of a five-point plan to reform its recognition procedures, the RSC will give greater recognition to those who teach chemistry, “who, regardless of their normal job or role, are pioneers who do whatever they can to break down barriers in chemistry.” Sciences ”and“ celebrate the scientific breakthroughs that are changing our understanding of the world and solving important problems like climate change ”.
The company will also issue behavioral expectations to the winners and the power to revoke awards if these standards are not met.
The changes follow an independent review by a panel chaired by Jeremy Sanders, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, who said “more recognition is needed for teams”.
“Scientific breakthroughs are more likely to come from teams than individuals,” said Professor Sanders, whose review included consulting more than 2,000 people through surveys, interviews and workshops, including previous award winners, jurors and RSC staff.
In the survey of 1,821 responses, 50 percent of respondents said that contributions by high-profile scholars are most likely to be rewarded, while 41 percent said nepotism is a problem with awards. 34 percent warned that researchers could win prizes for promoting science, and 33 percent were concerned about the time it would take to apply or nominate.
Some respondents also expressed concerns about the lack of diversity among the award winners.