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The Ramsay Memorial Fellowship Trust

William Ramsay in snow

The Ramsay Memorial Fellowships Trust was constituted in 1920 for the purpose of administering the award of Ramsay Memorial Fellowships for Chemical Science. The Fellowships comprise a British Ramsay Fellowship and a number of overseas Fellowships.

The Ramsay Memorial Fellowships were established as a memorial to Sir William Ramsay, KCB, FRS, with a view to promoting the development of the science of chemistry by encouraging postdoctoral researchers to undertake original and independent research through the award of a Fellowship.

For nearly one hundred years, The Ramsay Memorial Fellowships Trust has played a vital role in supporting scientists at the start of their careers. Like Sir William, the Ramsay Fellows have made many important discoveries that have changed our world. 

Image: Ramsay in snow, image supplied courtesy of UCL Library Services, Special Collections

British Ramsay Fellowships are awarded annually by the Ramsay Memorial Fellowships Trust to postdoctoral chemists in the early stages of their career, so that they may conduct original and independent research at universities in the United Kingdom. Ramsay Fellows typically continue to work in the chemistry field after their Fellowships have ended. Many have become Professors of Chemistry; others have gone on to occupy responsible positions in industry and public service.

Within the overall scheme the British Ramsay Fellowships are awarded to early career chemists of the requisite standard from the British Commonwealth, who are nominated by an Advisory Council consisting of Professors of Chemistry at UK universities.

The British Ramsay Fellowships are financed out of the income from a Trust Fund set up by public subscription in 1922 and strengthened by donations from industry in 1953. The continuing fall in the purchasing value of the Trust’s income, however, has meant that the Trust has increasingly had to look to attracting financial support from outside sponsors and donors to ensure that it is able to maintain the level of award of British Fellowships each year. In 1988 a scheme was instituted whereby British Ramsay Fellowships could be co-sponsored by British industrial companies, and more recently this has been extended to include the host institutions and/or Chemistry Departments of British Ramsay Fellows.

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