See five of the best new science communicators talk about how chemistry is solving problems where they live, ranging from vertical farming in London to diabetic screening in Leicester’s Asian community

This year’s Chemistry World science communication award final is taking place on Tuesday 27 June at the headquarters of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, in London.

You’ll get to see five of the best new science communicators talk about how chemistry is solving problems where they live, ranging from vertical farming in London to diabetic screening in Leicester’s Asian community.

You’ll also get to hear Andrea Sella, chemist and broadcaster, sharing his experiences of working with UCL students on tackling the challenge of London’s air pollution.

There’ll be refreshments throughout the evening and a reception following the announcement of this year’s winner. We hope you can join us!

Date and time: Tuesday 27 June, doors open at 5pm and we begin at 6pm

Place: Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BA. Get directions to Burlington House.

Please register here so we can make sure there’s enough food and drink to go around!

Akzo Nobel

We work in partnership with AkzoNobel to deliver our award programme. Our theme supports AkzoNobel’s Human Cities initiative, which seeks to improve, energise and regenerate urban communities across the world. This year we have asked entrants to talk about how chemistry is solving problems in their local area and improving the quality of life of people in their region.

Each year, Chemistry World holds a competition for new science communicators. Our finalists receive tailored mentoring from expert communicators, get their work published in Chemistry World and come to our live final in London to impress our distinguished judges and invited audience from the media, academia and industry. It’s a fantastic opportunity show off your skills and kick-start a career in science communication.

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry

Ben Stutchbury – 2016 Science Communication Competition winner

Dates, places and deadlines

  • Open for applications:  Tuesday 3 January 2017
  • Closing date for applications: Friday 31 March 2017
  • Finalist shortlist announced: Friday 21 April 2017
  • Live final: Tuesday 27 June 2017

The venue for the live final will be the London headquarters of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Picadilly, London, W1J 0BA. See a Google map of this location.

Our theme

This year we are asking entrants to tackle the role of chemistry in their local urban environment. Whether you live in a sprawling megacity, a market town or a humble hamlet, we want you to demonstrate how chemistry can make your neighbourhood better. You can tackle any aspect of chemistry and your community, suggest a solution to a problem or highlight something that is already using chemistry to make life better. We don’t mind whether you talk to us about problems or successes, but it must be happening in your local area, as near to your doorstep as possible. 

  • Do you have delapidated buildings nearby that need better protective coatings?
  • Have you seen a great application of renewable energy in public transport?
  • Are the trees in your local park affected by disease?
  • Do you need more low-maintainance green spaces?
  • Could your local shopping centre be making better use of recycled materials?

Tell us how you think chemistry can make things better for you and your community. Give us examples, use your local knowledge, demonstrate your chemistry know-how and show us your community spirit.

There’s plenty of information out there but you might find AkzoNobel’s Human Cities project and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform good places to get some ideas.

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry

Leah Young – 2016 Chemistry World science communication competition Rising Star

How to enter

Entries should be made through our online submission form.

You need to provide two pieces of work to be entered for shortlisting. We must receive both of these no later than the closing date of Friday 31 March 2017.

  • A written essay that would be suitable for publication in Chemistry World of no more than 800 words excluding headline and references
  • A video of no more than two minutes, showing us how well you can present your chosen topic. It’s not about Hollywood production values, so webcam or mobile videos are fine

Please make sure you’ve read our terms and conditions and eligibility criteria before entering.


Five finalists will be shortlisted from all entries received. The finalists will be notified on or before Friday 21 April 2017. 

All finalists will:

  • have their essay published in Chemistry World along with their video
  • receive personalised mentoring from an expert science communicator prior to the live final
  • attend our live final to present in front of our judges and audience
  • be invited to the after-show reception to relax, network and enjoy some food and drink
  • receive £250

At the live final, one winner will be chosen. In addition to the above, the winner will also receive:

  • a further £250 (bringing their total cash prize to £500)
  • the opportunity to take part in a special assignment with Chemistry World and AkzoNobel. This will be tailored to the winner’s interests and circumstances and arranged after the live final


  • The competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over from anywhere in the world – students, teachers and technicians, PhD students and researchers
  • You don’t have to be a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry to participate
  • The competition is open only to new science communicators; those who have professional (paid) science communication experience are ineligible
  • Employees of the Royal Society of Chemistry are not eligible to enter
  • Entrants must be available for the whole of Tuesday 27 June 2017 and be able to get to London from 12pm to attend the live finalists’ event

Terms and conditions

  • One entry per person is permitted
  • All submissions must be original, solely the work of the author and not published anywhere else in any format
  • The entry must be the work of a single author
  • The competition opens at 09:00 on 3 January 2017 and closes at 00:01 on 31 March 2017 - entries received after this date will not be included
  • By submitting an entry, an entrant thereby gives permission to the RSC to publish the content of the entry in Chemistry World both online and in print
  • By entering this competition, entrants confirm that their entry is original, solely the work of the entrant, is not published anywhere else in any format and that no third party rights including copyright are being infringed
  • Use of a false name or email address will result in disqualification
  • Shortlisting of entries will be done by a team of RSC staff who regularly contribute news articles to Chemistry World. The team will be looking for clarity of communication, relevance of the topic and creativity of approach
  • Shortlisted entries will be notified by email on or before 21 April 2017
  • Shortlisted entries will be judged by a panel of judges drawn from science communication and research backgrounds and shortlisted entrants will be invited to the live final event at Burlington House in London on 27 June 2017
  • All shortlisted entries will be published in Chemistry World online (essay and video) and in print (essay only)
  • One winner will be announced at the live final event and publicised in Chemistry World online and in print. The winner will receive a £500 cash prize, and the remaining four finalists will receive a £250 cash prize
  • Prizes and the live final event are being sponsored by AkzoNobel
  • Some travel expenses will be available for shortlisted entrants to attend the prize giving but entrants will be required to make their own travel arrangements. Accommodation expenses will be available for shortlisted entrants for the nights of 26 and 27 June 2017, and the RSC will make arrangements
  • The judges’ decision is final
  • The decisions of the RSC will be final and no correspondence will be entered into
  • In the event that any of these terms and conditions are deemed invalid, illegal or otherwise unenforceable, they shall be severed from these terms and the remaining clauses will remain in force

These terms and conditions are governed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales.

Promoter: The Royal Society of Chemistry, Thomas Graham House, 290-292 Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF, UK.

Sponsors: AkzoNobel, Portland House, 26th Floor, London, SW1E 5BG, UK.