Dr David Johnson, who has worked for Lucite International (LI) for almost 40 years – most of those based at the R&D centre in Wilton, UK, is the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Applied Catalysis Award winner for 2016. The award was given for his seminal contribution to the invention of Alpha technology and to the catalytic innovation underpinning this successful commercial process used to create MMA.


David received his award from the RSC Head of Industry, Dr Steve Pleasance, at a special ceremony hosted by popular UK television personality, Hugh Dennis. The awards celebration formed part of Chemistry Means Business, a two-day event for industries working with chemistry, which was organised by the RSC to promote the discipline and its valuable contribution to business.

Reacting to the news of the award, David said: “It is a great honor to have been nominated, but winning the award could not have been achieved without the team working over many years to convert Alpha technology from a few research experiments into a 130ktpa manufacturing plant. I would like to thank the directors and senior management of ICI Acrylics and then LI for their enduring confidence in the team throughout the time it took to go from bench to factory.”

The RSC’s Applied Catalysis Award, which is awarded biennially, rewards an individual for creativity and excellence in novel approaches or use of catalysis in industry. Of the three previous awards, two went to scientists from Johnson Matthey while the 2012 award was to Professor Douglas Stephan from Toronto University. Winners are selected for their contribution to innovation and commercial success, as well as their impact in the industry during the early stages of their career.

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the RSC said: “It is an honor 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.”

About RSC

The RSC is the oldest chemical society in the world and in 2016 it celebrates 175 years of progress and people in the chemical sciences. With over 50,000 members and a knowledge business that spans the globe, it is the UK’s professional body for chemical scientists – a not-for-profit organisation with an international vision of the future. The RSC promotes, supports and celebrates chemistry and works to shape the future of the chemical sciences for the benefit of science and humanity.