Cambridge scientists win prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry awards

Cambridge-based chemical scientists have been presented with awards from the Royal Society of Chemistry, for their contributions to chemistry in industry.


The pair were presented with their awards at an awards ceremony last week, hosted by television personality Hugh Dennis. The awards ceremony formed part of Chemistry Means Business, a two-day event for the chemistry-using industry, organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Nathan Lawrence, formerly from Schlumberger Gould Research, now CTO of ANBSensors and CEO of CambEchem, both Cambridge-based companies, is the Royal Society of Chemistry Industrial Analytical Science Award winner for 2016.

This is his fourth award from the Royal Society of Chemistry following on from the Ronald Belcher Lectureship (2002), Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize (2010) and Young Industrialist of the Year (2014).

The award was given for the development of cutting-edge industrial sensors to both monitor the impact of climate change and optimise new fuels from waste emissions to combat it.

He said: “Throughout my career I have been driven by the need to develop new devices and systems. This is only achieved by first understanding the underlying science, prior to producing the ‘real-world device’. I am delighted to receive this recognition from the Royal Society of Chemistry, who have a rich history of empowering collaboration across the industry/academia interface.”

The Industrial Analytical Science Award recognises the work of industrial analytical scientists and is given for outstanding contribution to analytical technology or methodology in industry. The winner receives a cash prize of £2,000.

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “It is an honour to recognise the illustrious achievements of our prize and award winners in our 175th anniversary year.

“We were founded in 1841 by a group of academics, industrialists and doctors who understood the power of the chemical sciences to change our world for the better. Our winners share that vision and are advancing excellence in their fields, whether through innovative research or inspirational teaching and outreach.

“We are proud to celebrate and support the work of inspiring and influential individuals, whose work has the potential to improve so many lives.”

The award winners, who all work for companies in the chemistry-using industry, are chosen by a panel of senior scientists and executives from industry. Winners are selected for their contribution to innovation and commercial success, as well as their impact in the industry, in the early stages of their career.

Specific awards recognise the importance of vocational roles, such as technicians and apprentices, in industry, and teamwork awards recognise successful collaborations between industry and academia.

An illustrious list of 47 previous winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Awards have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work, including Harry Kroto, Fred Sanger and Linus Pauling.

SensorHut Ltd, based in Cambridge, has won third prize in the energy & environment category of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2016.

SensorHut Ltd has developed a new sensing technology that uses optical techniques to significantly improve detection of chemicals, using nanotechnology to make the sensors more sensitive and more accurate. This technology can be used in a range of applications, such as detecting toxic gases and monitoring air quality.

Tanya Hutter, co-founder at SensorHut said: “We were delighted to be shortlisted to pitch at the event. I’ve made a lot of useful contacts, and it was especially beneficial to talk to the sponsor companies who provided valuable feedback on our technology and its applications in industry.”

The winners were chosen from a shortlist of 40 entrants, who pitched their ideas to a panel of expert judges during the Chemistry Means Business event.

Applications were judged on the degree of innovation of the technology, its potential impact, and the quality of the science behind it. SensorHut will receive tailored business support from one of our multinational partner companies, business training, media support, and a cash prize of £2,000.

Dr Steve Pleasance, Head of Industry at the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “Increasing innovation in the chemical sciences is one of the key elements of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s industry strategy.

“Our Emerging Technologies competition, now in its fourth year and supported by our industry partners, is proving to be highly successful in accelerating the commercialisation of the cutting-edge research taking place in both universities and small companies.”

Winning the competition gives businesses the platform they need to make the industry aware of their technology. Since the initiative began in 2013, our winners have gone on to raise a combined total of over £16 million in further funding, grown their companies and entered commercial contracts.

A previous winner went on to secure US$1.7 million of funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop their novel treatment for iron deficiency anaemia, whilst another received support from GSK and was awarded over £2.5 million to take their enzyme catalysis technology towards market.


Royal Society of Chemistry

We are the oldest chemical society in the world and in 2016 we’re celebrating 175 years of progress and people in the chemical sciences. Throughout the year, we’re sharing the stories of how our members past and present have helped to change the world with chemistry.

With over 50,000 members and a knowledge business that spans the globe, we are the UK’s professional body for chemical scientists; a not-for-profit organisation with 175 years of history and an international vision of the future.

We promote, support and celebrate chemistry. We work to shape the future of the chemical sciences – for the benefit of science and humanity.

Chemistry Means Business

Chemistry Means Business, held on 15–16 June 2016, is our flagship event for the chemistry-using industry, uniting SMEs, multinational organisations, investors and academic entrepreneurs from across the UK and Europe.  Over 300 people attended the event, which comprised over 30 industry speakers, 35 exhibitors, 40 chemical innovation pitches, five workshops and panel discussions, partnering meetings, and an awards ceremony hosted by Hugh Dennis.

Emerging Technologies Competition

The Emerging Technologies Competition is our annual innovation competition, accelerating commercialisation of the best European technologies for the benefit of society and the economy. The competition is aimed at universities, research institutions and small companies, and welcomes technologies in healthcare & wellbeing, energy & environment, food & water, and materials. First, second and third prizes were presented in each category.

Forty shortlisted entrants presented their ideas to a panel of expert judges at the competition final, held at the Chemistry Means Business event. The judges are industry leaders and experts in their fields, drawn from a wide range of specialisms.

The competition is supported by our partners – multinational companies who are global leaders in their fields; they will provide tailored business support and guidance to all winners in each of our competition categories.

Our 2016 partners are P&G, AstraZeneca, GSK, Croda, GE Healthcare, Johnson Matthey, Schlumberger, Unilever, Pfizer, AkzoNobel and Aramco.

More information about the Emerging Technologies Competition, and a full list of the winners, can be found on our webpage at:

Industry and Technology Awards

The Industry and Technology Awards recognise talented teams and individuals across the chemistry-using industry. Established 10 years ago, the awards are given in recognition of outstanding achievements in entrepreneurship, innovation, outreach, applied science and technical skills.

The awards are part of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s main Prizes and Awards portfolio, which comprises over 80 Prizes and Awards covering all areas of the chemical sciences.

More information on the Industry and Technology Awards, and a full list of winners, can be found on our website at:


Lizzy Ratcliffe
News and Media Executive
Royal Society of Chemistry
+44 (0)1223 432486

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