Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award
Award at a Glance
The Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award provides national recognition and honor for outstanding student contributions to furthering the goals of green chemistry and engineering through research and/or studies. This includes but is not limited to the research, development, and implementation of fundamental and innovative chemical technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use, and that have the potential to be utilized in achieving national pollution prevention goals.
The Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award was established in 1997 in honor of Dr. Kenneth G. Hancock, former Director of the Division of Chemistry at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Recipients of the award receive a one-time cash prize of $1,000 as well as reimbursement up to $1,000 for travel costs to attend the annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference. Two award winners are selected annually.
Undergraduate and graduate students (U.S. or international) are eligible to apply for this award. Applicants must demonstrate the relevance of their studies and/or research to green chemistry and/or engineering (see below, under “Award Scope and Objectives”).
Award winners are responsible for meeting the abstract deadline date for the annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference where the awards symposium and ceremony will be held. Winners should be prepared to give an oral or poster presentation relevant to their graduate research. In addition, after the conclusion of the conference, all winners are required to submit a brief report that summarizes their conference experience.
Award Scope and Objectives
Green chemistry is defined as the use of chemistry for source reduction, the highest tier of the risk management hierarchy as described in the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. More specifically, green chemistry involves a reduction or elimination of the use or generation of hazardous materials—including feedstocks, reagents, solvents, products, and byproducts—from a chemical process. Green chemistry encompasses all aspects and types of chemical processes, including synthesis, catalysis, analysis, monitoring, and separations and reaction conditions that reduce impacts on human health and the environment relative to the current state of the art.
Applications for the Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award must describe studies or research in which the student has participated that address the scope and objectives of green and sustainable chemistry and/or engineering. The activity should address one or more principles of green and sustainable chemistry and/or engineering and, more specifically, address one or more of the following three green chemistry focus areas:
- The use of greener synthetic pathways. This focus area involves designing and implementing novel, greener pathway(s) for the synthesis of a chemical product. Examples include synthetic pathways that:
- Use feedstocks that are of lower inherent hazard to humans or the environment, and/or that are renewable (e.g., biomass, natural oils).
- Use novel reagents or catalysts, especially those that use earth-abundant metals, organocatalysts, biocatalysts, and microorganisms. Catalytic systems that contain precious metals (e.g., Pt, Pd, Ru, Rh, Ag, Os, Ir, Au) at concentrations greater than 10 ppm are strongly discouraged unless they are heterogeneous and greater than 95% recyclable.
- Are natural processes, such as fermentation, or use biomimetic processes.
- Are mass and energy efficient and show economy of process (number of steps, separations, purifications, etc.).
- The use of greener reaction conditions. This focus area involves improving conditions other than the overall design or redesign of a synthetic pathway. Greener analytical methods often fall within this focus area. Examples include reaction conditions that:
- Replace hazardous chemicals (starting materials, reagents, etc.) and solvents with alternatives that have a lower impact on human health and the environment.
- Use solvent-less reaction conditions and solid-state reactions.
- Use novel processing methods that prevent pollution at its source.
- Eliminate energy- or material-intensive separation and purification steps.
- Improve energy efficiency, including reactions running closer to ambient conditions (temperature and pressure).
- The design of greener chemicals. This focus area involves designing and implementing chemical products that are less hazardous than the products or technologies they replace. Examples include chemical products that are:
- Less hazardous (environmental, health, and safety) than current products.
- Inherently safer with regard to accident potential.
- Recyclable or biodegradable after use.
- Safer for the environment (e.g., do not deplete ozone or form smog).
The deadline for the 2024 Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Awards is November 17, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT-5).
How to Apply
The application portal will open on September 22, 2023. Applicants should submit their materials (listed below) through the ACS Green Chemistry Institute application portal.
To use the portal, you will need to have or create a free ACS ID. PLEASE NOTE: Applicants may not apply for multiple Green Chemistry awards during a given year; only one application per person is allowed. Please be certain that you meet the requirements for the Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award before applying and do not submit applications for other awards (Breen, CIBA, McClelland, Chang) administered by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute.
Be prepared to submit the following information:
- Name and contact information,
- Name of applicant's faculty advisor and contact information,
- Academic information including institution, department or field of study, degree expected, projected date of degree completion, green chemistry research interests, and career plans,
- A description of the applicant’s research in green chemistry or engineering, addressing one or more of the focus areas described in the “Award scope and objectives” section. This description should include a title and abstract of the research. Where applicable, applicants should specifically address the potential human health and/or environmental benefits of the research, as well as the innovation and scientific merit of the project. A discussion of impacts across the lifecycle should be included if such data are available. (5 page maximum)
- A curriculum vitae or résumé no more than two pages in length (Word or PDF file). Make sure to include:
- Field of study, degrees (including month and year earned or expected), education experience, including GPA or another measure of class standing, and work experience (if any).
- List of recent presentations and publications (if any).
- Letter of nomination from the applicant's faculty advisor, supervisor, or department chair (Word or PDF file no more than two pages in length). The applicant will send their advisor a link to directly upload the letter into the portal.
- Brief statement of financial need for travel support from the applicant’s advisor, supervisor, or department chair (Word or PDF file not exceeding one page). The applicant will send their advisor a link to directly upload the statement into the portal.
An independent panel of experts selected by the ACS GCI will judge the applications. This panel may include members of the scientific, educational, industrial, government, and environmental communities. The judging panel may request verification of any activities described or claims made in applications that are selected as finalists. The judges will select the students whose projects best meet the selection criteria for the award.
The selection criteria used to judge applications received for the Hancock Memorial Award are similar to those used for the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The criteria were designed to ensure that award recipients are furthering the goals of green chemistry and/or green engineering. The Hancock Memorial Award selection criteria are described below.
The student activity must meet the scope and objectives of the award and address one or more of the focus areas:
- The student activity should offer potential human health and/or environmental benefits. The activity should further a technology that might, for example:
- Reduce toxicity (acute or chronic) or the potential for illness or injury to humans, animals, or plants
- Reduce flammability or explosion potential
- Reduce the use or generation of hazardous substances, the transport of hazardous substances, or releases to air, water, or land
- Improve the use of natural resources, for example, by substituting a renewable feedstock for a petrochemical feedstock
- The student activity should be potentially applicable to a large and broad-based segment of academia, industry, or society at large. The activity should further a technology that is, for example:
- A practical, cost-effective approach to green chemistry
- A remedy for a real environmental or human health problem
- Readily transferable to other academic institutions or industry sectors
- The student activity should be innovative and of scientific merit. The activity should be, for example, original (i.e., never before investigated, researched, or employed) and scientifically valid.
The ACS Green Chemistry Institute will notify applicants of award acceptance on or before January 26, 2024. The ACS will transfer the award via direct deposit upon acceptance of the fellowship and submission of relevant paperwork.
Green chemistry, or environmentally benign chemical synthesis and processing, is an integral component in meeting national sustainable development and pollution prevention goals and objectives. One of the architects of the ‘Environmentally Benign Chemical Synthesis and Processing’ approach was Dr. Kenneth G. Hancock, Director of the Division of Chemistry at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Hancock was an active advocate who emphasized the role of chemists and chemistry in solving the environmental problems of the past, as well as avoiding environmental problems in the future, in an economically viable fashion.
Dr. Hancock died unexpectedly while attending an environmental chemistry conference in Eastern Europe in 1993. To honor his contributions in the field of green chemistry, Dr. Hancock’s colleagues from academia, government, and industry established the Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Student Award in Green Chemistry, offered under the auspices of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Environmental Chemistry. ACS President Dr. Paul Anderson announced the Hancock Memorial Award in June 1997 as an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to compete for a prestigious award in recognition of their studies and/or research in green chemistry. In 2006, the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) expanded the award. The award is administered by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI) and is presented annually in conjunction with the ACS GCI's Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference.
ACS Green Chemistry Institute®; National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry
Questions about the Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Student Award should be directed to the ACS Green Chemistry Institute®:
- Email: email@example.com