The Chalmers & Dent Student Travel Award

The Chalmers & 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 Geoffrey 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.

The IRDG is a member organisation of the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (FACSS) which was founded as a Federation of member organisations for the exchange of ideas at the forefront of analytical sciences. FACSS has five critical objectives to realise the Federation’s goals namely: (i) Education and Training; (ii) Advance Knowledge; (iii) Advance Technology; (iv) Networking and (v) Promote / Enable Interests of Member Organisations. FACSS accomplishes this mission at the SciX conference through world-class technical programs, exhibitions, and a variety of informal networking opportunities. The conference covers the whole of analytical chemistry with an emphasis on emerging technologies.

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 annual 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. For details on current and future SciX meetings, visit our future meetings page.
  2. The 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 have attended a meeting of the IRDG in the 3 years prior to 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 will be the 31st March in the year of the meeting of interest (e.g. 31st March 2017 for the SciX2017 meeting) and applications should be sent via email to

Click here for a list of previous Chalmers & Dent Award Winners.

John M. Chalmers served as an IRDG committee member from 1993 to 2003, initially as Membership Secretary before becoming Chair in 1995, retiring from this position in 2003. John is currently a self-employed consultant. He worked for 34 years in the UK chemical industry (with ICI plc) as a vibrational spectroscopist, mostly associated with polymer science and characterisation, retiring from the Company at the end of 1999 as a Business Research Associate. Then, for about ten years, he held part-time appointment positions in the School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham. In 1991 he was the recipient of the Coblentz Society Williams-Wright Award, presented to an industrial chemist who has made significant contributions to vibrational spectroscopy. John is an Honorary Member of the Coblentz Society, a Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry, and a Fellow of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy. He has co-edited a number of books and book chapters on vibrational spectroscopy applications, and together with Peter Griffiths co-edited the five-volume “Handbook of Vibrational Spectroscopy”. He has served on several other spectroscopic society committees, including periods of being Chair of both the RSC Molecular Spectroscopy Group and Chair (2003) of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy.

Geoffrey Dent has been an IRDG member since 1976, joining the committee in 2003. He served as Chair from 2010 – 2014. Geoff is currently a self-employed consultant. He worked for 37 years in the UK chemical industry (with ICI, Zeneca, Avecia plc’s) initially as a lab assistant on polyurethanes. Moving to the IR lab in 1971 he became the Division Vibrational Spectroscopist in 1977, working on a wide range of chemistry including agrochemical intermediates, biocides, colours, inorganics and minerals, mines extractants, pharmaceuticals, peptides and proteins, polyurethanes, silicones, and general debris, retiring from the Company in 2003. In 2002 he began part-time appointment positions in the Department of Chemical Engineering at, the then, UMIST. This developed into being a consultant to the Crystallography Group, CEAS, in the University of Manchester. He was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde from 1997-2004. He has co-authored two books and contributed to a number of book chapters on vibrational spectroscopy applications.

Geoff has always been interested in promoting good practice in the area of Vibrational Spectroscopy by encouraging younger members to participate in IRDG activities. With John, both have been active supporters of the Martin and Willis Young Spectroscopists prize meetings since their inception. In the early 1990’s they both became involved the IRDG interpretation courses. Initially both tutored on the courses, then organising the courses through to 2008. International collaboration has also been encouraged by promoting and attending the IRDG meetings in Utrecht, Dublin and Vienna.