Recognising Future Leaders

Article by Anthony Tomei and Stephanie Mearns

THREE years ago the Salters’ Institute started a new scheme to recognise and support outstanding young chemists and chemical engineers. In this short note we report on progress and invite applications for this year’s round of awards.

The Salters’ Institute is the flagship charity of the Salters’ Company, one of the City of London Livery companies. It is one of the best-known organisations working in school science education in the UK and has been a leading influence in curriculum development for nearly 40 years.  Over a million pupils have taken Salters’ courses and our latest venture, the BEST project, developed at the University of York, is breaking new ground in showing how research evidence can support classroom teaching.

Each year we run a series of inspirational events, the Salters’ Festivals of Chemistry, in which 11–14 year-old pupils spend a day in a university or college, working in chemistry laboratories doing experiments and investigations that they could rarely do in their schools. The Festivals involve more than 3,000 pupils, from over 800 schools, and over 50 universities and colleges.

In addition to the Festivals and its curriculum work, the Institute makes awards to recognise outstanding achievement. Each year we make awards to final-year university students who are planning careers in industry in chemistry and chemical engineering. To celebrate its Centenary in 2018, the Institute decided to offer up to four new awards annually, of £2,500 each, to recognise and support individuals who are in the early stages of their careers in industry and have demonstrated the potential to make an outstanding long-term contribution.

Thus far we have made 12 such awards, of which five have been given to chemical engineers. They are: Brett Rickard (Valero Energy, pictured 1st left); Julia Cole (Uniper UK Technologies, now University of Cambridge, pictured  2nd left); Bo Zhang (University of Oxford, now Cambridge Healthcare Research); Laetitia Rynhoud (GSK, now Jordans Dorset Ryvita); and Anna Watson (AstraZeneca).

Future leaders: Centenary Award winners

It is early days, but there are encouraging signs of their careers developing. Bo Zhang has completed a PhD and has started working in a life science consultancy, while Julia Cole has moved in the other direction and has started a PhD at Cambridge. Laetitia Rynhoud has moved to a role as site engineering manager, while Brett Rickard has been promoted to Superintendent Operations Associate.  Anna Watson received her award only last year and is making good progress in her role at AZ.

We are looking forward to staying in touch with them as their careers progress.  We are also in touch with many of our graduate award holders and we are developing an alumni network to bring them together. We have run several events where they have a chance to meet and learn from each other and to meet distinguished senior figures from industry. We see this as a long term programme that we hope that will benefit our award holders and the Institute contribute to the wellbeing of UK science and industry.

Get involved

The closing date for nominations for this year’s round of Centenary Awards is Monday 20 July. If you are a young and ambitious engineer why not apply? You will need to get a senior colleague to nominate you and be prepared to attend an interview in September.

If you are a more senior person why not look round your younger colleagues and nominate one of them? The core requirements are simply that candidates should:

  • be working in the chemical or allied industries in the UK
  • have between 3–5 years in industry
  • have a degree in either chemistry or chemical engineering at Bachelor's/Master's/Postgraduate level

Details of how to apply/nominate can be found on the Salters’ Institute website

Article By

Anthony Tomei

Director, The Salters' Institute

Stephanie Mearns

Programme Co-ordinator (Awards & Alumni), The Salters' Institute

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