IRDG Chalmers and Dent Student Travel Award

The Chalmers and Dent Student Travel Award has been established to recognise and support an outstanding PhD student through financial support to present their research to an international audience at the annual SciX meeting. The award is named after two previous chairs of the IRDG, John Chalmers and Geoff Dent, in recognition of their continuing support for the IRDG and in particular for their support of students and early career researchers. Throughout their careers, both John and Geoff have been highly active in the development and promotion of the vibrational spectroscopists of the future in both academia and industry through mentoring, encouragement and inspiration.

2023 Recipient

Benjamin Clarke, University of Strathclyde

Ben graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a first-class Master’s degree in Pure and Applied Chemistry in June 2020. It was during his final year that he developed a growing interest in the use of nanotechnology coupled with spectroscopic techniques to solve biological problems. This interest influenced his decision to pursue a career in research by studying for a PhD. In October 2020 he began his PhD under the supervision of Professor Karen Faulds and Professor Duncan Graham in the Centre of Nanometrology at the University of Strathclyde which is funded by the Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Wasatch Photonics plc. Ben’s project, in collaboration with Wasatch Photonics and the University of Edinburgh’s School of Medicine, explores the use of SERS-Lateral Flow Immunoassays (LFIAs) for the detection of Drug Induced Liver Injury (DILI) in a clinical environment. At this stage in his PhD, Ben is currently working on the development of a SERS-LFIA device which will detect cytokeratin-18, a biomarker associated with acute liver failure, from a single finger-prick of blood in under 30 minutes. This device will be assessed via clinical trials which will take place in late 2023. Ben has presented this research at Spring SciX 2022, British Pharmacology Society (BPS) Conference 2022, SAS/Coblentz Society 3-minute thesis and ICORS XXVII where he received an award for best poster presentation. The overall aim of his research further develops SERS for use in a clinical environment which will aid in efficient decision making when it comes to patient treatment.


This student award will enable an outstanding student to attend and present their research in the area of vibrational spectroscopy in one the IRDG sessions at the SciX conference.


  1. This is an annual IRDG award which will be presented to an outstanding PhD student to allow them to attend and present their research on vibrational spectroscopy at the SciX conference.
  2. The IRDG Chalmers & Dent award will consist of a guaranteed oral presentation in an IRDG organised SciX session, free registration and £500 towards travel to attend the conference.
  3. The student awardee must be a member of the IRDG on January 1 of the year of the award and still be a registered PhD student at the time of the SciX presentation.
  4. The student must be carrying out research in the area of vibrational spectroscopy.
  5. Applicants must submit a copy of the conference abstract that they would submit to SciX, their CV and a supporting statement (no more than one side of A4 paper) outlining their achievements and why the attendance at SciX would benefit them.
  6. The deadline for applications is generally March 31; applications should be sent to

Past Recipients

2022 Not awarded

2021 Matthew Berry

2020 Michelle Bailey

2019 Elizabeth Legge

2018 Anastasia Kapara

2017 Rachael Cameron

2016 Carl Mensch

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