Vietnamese scientist wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry Prize

Professor Nguyen TK Thanh, who is from Vietnam, has been named winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Interdisciplinary Prize in recognition of brilliance in research and innovation.

Based at University College London, Professor Thanh won the prize for outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary research on fundamental understanding of chemical syntheses, physical studies of plasmonic and magnetic nanomaterials for biomedical applications. They join a prestigious list of past winners in the RSC’s prize portfolio, 60 of whom have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their work, including 2016 Nobel laureates Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Fraser Stoddart and Ben Feringa and 2019 Nobel laureate John B Goodenough.

Professor Thanh also receives £5,000 and a medal.

After receiving the prize, Professor Thanh said: “I am very happy, it is a great honour to have my collaborative research to be recognised, so, this prize is for my team and my collaborators as well.”

Nanomaterials have shown some of their potential in biomedicine. This potentially increases when the core materials have exceptional physical properties as well as stability and functionality in biological environments. This can be achieved by the synthesis of nanoparticles with novel optical, magnetic, electronic and catalytic properties in such a way that makes them compatible with biological environments and readily functionalised in a controlled manner.

Professor Thanh is excited by the idea that her research could directly benefit people by improving the life expectancy of cancer patients.

Dr Helen Pain, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said:

“Great science changes the way we think about things – either through the techniques used, the findings themselves, the products that emerge or even in how we interact with the world and those around us. Importantly, it also allows us to reflect on the incredible people involved in this work and how they have achieved their results. 

“Although we are in the midst of negotiating a particularly turbulent and challenging era, it is important to celebrate successes and advances in understanding as genuine opportunities to improve our lives. The work of Professor Thanh is a fantastic example of why we celebrate great science, and we’re very proud to recognise their contribution today.”

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s prizes have recognised excellence in the chemical sciences for more than 150 years. In 2019, the organisation announced the biggest overhaul of this portfolio in its history, designed to better reflect modern scientific work and culture.

The Research and Innovation Prizes celebrate brilliant individuals across industry and academia. They include prizes for those at different career stages in general chemistry and for those working in specific fields, as well as interdisciplinary prizes and prizes for those in specific roles.

For more information about the RSC’s prizes portfolio, visit

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