Leeds scientists win prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry prizes

Professor Dwayne Heard and Professor Fiona Meldrum have been awarded prizes from the Royal Society of Chemistry in celebration of their outstanding achievements and advancement of chemical sciences.

Professor Heard won the Environment Prize, which is awarded for outstanding contributions to the chemical sciences in the area of environment, sustainability and energy. Professor Heard works to improve the accuracy of atmospheric models which guide legislative controls on emissions to combat global warming and deteriorating air quality. He has measured levels of the hydroxyl radical (sometimes referred to as nature’s detergent) in many parts of the world, and comparison with models has led to an improvement in the understanding of atmospheric chemistry.

Professor Meldrum received the Interdisciplinary Prize for work at the interface between chemistry and other disciplines. Professor Meldrum’s research aims to develop new strategies for controlling crystallization, which has widespread everyday applications. She received the prize for her contributions to understanding biomineralization processes and exploiting bio-inspired strategies to control the structure and properties of crystalline materials

On receiving the prize, Professor Heard said: “I am very honoured to have been chosen to receive the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Environment Prize. I hope that this award will acknowledge the importance of the application of fundamental techniques developed in the laboratory to the study of our atmosphere, and the interdisciplinary approach that is necessary to tackle difficult challenges associated with understanding our atmosphere.”

Professor Meldrum said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured by this award, which provides a testimony to all of the hard work carried out by my talented research group.  It also offers a wonderful opportunity to highlight the fascinating topic of crystallisation – which is one that many of us take for granted.”

Prize winners are evaluated for the originality and impact of their research, as well as the quality of the results, which can be shown in publications, patents, or even software. The awards also recognise the importance of teamwork across the chemical sciences, and the abilities of individuals to develop successful collaborations.

An illustrious list of 50 previous winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s awards have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work, including all of the 2016 chemistry winners, Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Fraser Stoddart and Ben Feringa.

Both Professors will receive £5000, a medal and a certificate. Congratulations to them!