RMS President's Award

Awarded annually, the RMS President's Award recognises an exceptional voluntary contribution to the work of the Society.

How to submit a nomination:

  • Nominations may be made by any RMS member, but self-nominations are not permitted. 
  • A nominator should submit a letter (maximum length 1 page) supporting their nomination, and highlighting the specific contribution made, to Debbie Hunt.
  • Nominations will be considered by a committee comprised of the President and other members of the Executive Committee.

The deadline for the 2024 RMS President's Award nominations was 29 February 2024. 

2023 Winners

Jeremy Sanderson

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Jeremy is a well-known and highly respected member of the national and international microscopy communities. Over the past 35 years he has contributed directly and indirectly to the work of the RMS in many different ways.

Jeremy joined the RMS in 1988 and has been an actively engaged member of the Society ever since. His talent for microscopy was first recognised in 1991 when his Tech RMS project (a precursor to the RMS Diploma) was awarded a Student Medal in recognition of his outstanding examination paper and viva.

In 1994 he published his first microscopy handbook through the RMS (Biological Microtechnique), which focused on histological sample preparation for the microscopy enthusiast. More recently he has published ‘Understanding Light Microscopy’ (RMS/Wiley 2019), a substantial addition to the literature of unusual breadth and depth.

In the early 1990s Jeremy began teaching the principles of light microscopy through the RMS LM summer school in Leeds, and later York. He also became a stalwart of the confocal microscopy part of the Learning Zone at MMC, an essential feature of this flagship RMS event. Jeremy served on the technology-focused LM Section of the RMS from 2006-2009, and his dedication and support for the Society were further recognised by his appointment as a Trustee on the governing Council of the RMS from 2009 – 2012.

As a ‘lover of the microscope’, Jeremy embodies the spirit of the RMS in his professional life. He has worked as a histologist with the NHS in Oxford, as a core facility technician at the MPI-CBG in Dresden, and has directed light microscopy facilities at the University of Sheffield and the MRC unit Harwell.

Dr Richard Leapman

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Dr Richard Leapman received the RMS President’s Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions as a Scientific Editor for the Journal of Microscopy.

Richard obtained B.A and M.A in Natural Sciences and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He then trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford, UK, and in the Department of Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University, NY, where he contributed to the development of electron spectroscopy for the nanoscale characterisation of materials.

He subsequently moved to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop methods based on scanning transmission electron microscopy and electron spectroscopy to determine the structure and chemical composition of cells and supramolecular assemblies. He was elected a Fellow of the Microscopy Society of America in 2011.  

Richard stepped down from the Journal of Microscopy's Editorial Board in 2023, having first joined in 1999.He has also acted as a member of the editorial boards of other microscopy and nanotechnology journals and has served on numerous national scientific advisory committees.

2022 Winners:

Dr Lynne Joyce

Lynne Joyce

Lynne has been a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society since 1987.  Lynne worked at The Rank Research Centre at High Wycombe before joining at Agar Scientific (formerly Agar Aids), where she spent the majority of her career – firstly as Customer Liaison Officer, then Sales Director, then as Managing Director, before retiring in 2015.  

Lynne served two terms as Honorary Treasurer of the RMS, firstly from 1995 to 2005, and a second term from 2014 to 2020.  She has also been a member of the Corporate Advisory Board from 1992 to 2020.

Since coming to the end of her term as Treasurer in 2020, she has continued her involvement by providing a smooth transition to Rod Shipley, the incoming Treasurer, as well as being invited to attend meetings of the Executive and Council.  Lynne remains on the History Committee of the Society.

Lynne was a strong supporter of the RMS and frequently represented Agar Scientific at the MICRO exhibitions, and from 2002, the Microscience Exhibitions.  While Treasurer, Lynne supported the RMS in the move to running the Microscience Exhibition at the ExCeL Centre, which was a major step for the Society.  

Over many years, Lynne has devoted an enormous amount of time freely to the RMS and has made exceptional contributions to the Society, helping it grow and progress. She has been a tremendous asset and a source of so much knowledge and guidance to members of the Council as well as those working in the RMS office.

Dr Debbie Stokes

Debbie Stokes

Debbie obtained a PhD in physics at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University, and in 1999 was awarded a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship to continue investigating electron emission and charge-related phenomena in insulating materials and the stability of hydrated specimens in the environmental SEM (ESEM).

More recently, Debbie worked on new applications and methodologies for focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB SEM). She is interested in all kinds of electron microscopy, and is the author of a recent RMS-Wiley book entitled Principles and Practice of Variable Pressure/Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (VP-ESEM).  

Debbie has been a member of the RMS Executive Committee since 2005, and a member of the Society since 2003. As International Secretary she established and maintained relationships between the RMS and international Societies, companies and universities, as well as actively participating in the strategic planning of the Society. Debbie has also served as RMS Vice-President and Honorary Secretary Science (Physical).

In the latter role, Debbie oversaw the transition of the Microscience Congress to the Microscience Microscopy Congress that we all know so well today. One of Debbie’s greatest achievements was chairing the European Microscopy Congress in Manchester in 2012 – a fantastic event and major coup for the Society.

Debbie has given so much of her time freely to the RMS over very many years and has made exceptional contributions to the Society through her work.  She has helped the RMS grow and progress, bringing her calm manner, knowledge and ability to see the bigger picture to many meetings of the Executive and Council, as well as a superb range of RMS t-shirts and other items.

Mr Steve Couzens

Principal Clinical Scientist, Immunophenotyping Laboratory, Haematology Department, University Hospital of Wales

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Steve is an outstanding Principal Clinical Scientist, who heads up the Immunophenotyping Laboratory at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. The laboratory provides a clinical flow cytometry service to most Health Boards in Wales.

He has participated in, and later organised, the Clinical Module of the Annual RMS Flow Cytometry Course for more than two decades, and in recent years, has also run the Virtual RMS Clinical Flow course. Both have been hugely successful and of benefit to thousands of delegates over the years.

Steve has regularly chaired many other educational sessions and best practice workshops. He is a founding member of UK multicolour immunophenotyping (MIG) group and co-authored national guidelines for the use of multicolour flow cytometry in the diagnosis of haematological neoplasms. He is also a founding member of PNH diagnostics interest group, which established and validated a consensus protocol for PNH flow cytometry.

Steve has also been actively involved in working groups to improve diagnosis of myeloma, leukaemia and lymphoma – as well as working to improve standardisation of flow cytometry within Europe through the Harmonemia initiative.

Throughout his career Steve has remained at the forefront of clinical flow cytometry by consistently reviewing and evolving the needs of his service and patients. He has had an active role in clinical trials and is seen as an expert in several fields including lymph node flow cytometry, where Cardiff has a reputation as a reference centre.

By sharing his expertise over many years, Steve has enabling countless others to make advances and developments in clinical cytometry. His contributions have been appreciated nationally and internationally, and have significantly enhanced the profile of the RMS.

Previous Winners 

2021 - Mr Derek Davies 2021 - Mr Derek Davies

Derek is based at the Francis Crick Institute and has worked in Cytometry for more than 35 years. He has been instrumental in promoting Cytometry on a local, national and international level.

He was one of the founding members of the London Cytometry Club and the founder of flowcytometryUK.  Through the latter, Derek has clocked up 15 years of organising highly successful national conferences, and he also runs the active flowcytometryUK mailing list. He is a former RMS Council Member and recently completed his second term as Chair of the Society’s Cytometry Section.  

For more than 10 years, Derek has worked closely with Peter O’Toole and Stephen Couzens to run the RMS Flow Cytometry practical courses, held annually at the University of York for both UK and international attendees. He is well known for the help and advice he gives to delegates, and for his willingness to offer ongoing assistance remotely, after they have returned to the lab. He also finds time to offer informal coaching to junior members of the RMS to help with their communication and presentation skills.

On an International Level, Derek has been very involved with ISAC (RMS is an ISAC Associated society) over the years, including sitting on Council.   He is also an Associate Editor for Cytometry Part A, and has helped with the establishment of SRL (Shared Resource Laboratory)  publications within the journal.

Derek's own SRL lab at the Francis Crick Institute has an excellent reputation. It is no coincidence that at least eight of his staff have gone on to become highly successful core managers elsewhere within Europe and the USA (plus one in Australia), taking with them Derek's guidance, expertise and knowledge. Recently he has changed roles within the Francis Crick Institute to become its National Science Technology Platform Training leader

RMS President Grace Burke said: “It is my great pleasure to announce Derek Davies as this year’s winner of the RMS President’s Award. Derek has been a key lynchpin at the RMS for many years and has shown remarkable dedication to the promotion of Cytometry at all levels. His passion for his subject and willingness to devote his time and expertise for the benefit of others, are precisely the qualities for which the President’s Award was established to honour. My warmest congratulations go to Derek.”

2020 - Dr Peter Evennett 2020 - Dr Peter Evennett

Peter has a long and distinguished association with the RMS, and has become well known as an educator and ambassador for microscopy over the years. During his extraordinary career, Peter has enriched the development of microscopists on the international stage, imparting his knowledge and enthusiasm to countless students, enthusiasts and the wider public.

Peter was nominated for the award by colleagues at the University of Copenhagen’s Core Facility for Integrated Microscopy, where he was a key teacher on the Light Microscopy PhD course for 26 years. The course has been attended by more than 900 PhD students, many of whom have cited Peter as an inspirational influence.

Peter also received a recommendation from York University, where he was instrumental in establishing the RMS Light Microscopy Course and ensuring its continuing success; and a joint nomination from colleagues at Max Planck Institute in Dresden, and Lisbon’s Champalimaud Institute.

Peter has inspired hundreds, if not thousands, of students, with many of his course attendees becoming principal investigators researching and directly contributing to the field of microscopy and imaging analysis.

Peter has a long and celebrated association with the RMS. Among his many roles within the organisation, he was Scientific Editor of The Proceedings of the RMS – now infocus Magazine - for more than 10 years, and was instrumental in orchestrating the Society’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 1988-89. His efforts as part of the organising committee led to the production of commemorative RMS stamps by the Post Office, a six-month-long exhibition at the London Science Museum, and even an appearance on children’s TV programme Blue Peter, during which he was interviewed by Caron Keating about a range of microscopes brought to the studio.

Peter continues to devote his time and expertise to RMS activities, and remains an active member of the RMS History Committee.

2018 - Professor Susan Anderson 2018 - Professor Susan Anderson

Susan has made an exceptional contribution to the society during her nine years as the Honorary Secretary for Outreach and Education.  It is through her efforts that the Microscopy Activity Kits scheme has been brought to fruition and has become highly successful, reaching over 80,000 children since its inception a few years ago. This is a fantastic achievement and has been largely driven by Susan’s contributions and efforts.

In addition, she has made great strides in pushing forward and developing the Diploma scheme and working towards the Diploma being recognised by the Science council, alongside the introduction of the successful Summer Studentship scheme. 
In her role as chair of the outreach section, and in her role as Honorary Secretary for Outreach, she has also made important contributions towards the development of our strategy for Outreach within the society.  Her efforts have been key to making the society visible in the ‘Outreach’ arena, and she has given up much time and effort in order to drive this forward.

2017 - Mr Leslie Stump 2017 - Mr Leslie Stump

Les has been a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society since the 1970s when he was a Technician at the University of Oxford.  Les Joined Reichert-Jung in the mid 70's as an area representative. His success at this gave him the opportunity to become responsible for the Kontron IBAS Image Analysis System when Reichert-Jung acquired the agency in the late 70's. He eventually left the area rep's job and worked full time with the Kontron image analysis system nationwide within R-J UK. Once Reichert-Jung was taken over by Cambridge Instruments in 1986, Les became linked with Kontron, and then set up his own company, Imaging Associates, which was very successful.  While at both Kontron and Imaging Associates, Les was a strong supporter of the RMS and exhibited at the MICRO exhibitions, and from 2002, the Microscience Exhibitions.

In 2002, Les was nominated as the Chair of the Trade Advisory Committee, which was renamed the Corporate Advisory Board during his chairmanship.  Les successfully supported the RMS in the move to running the Microscience Exhibition at the ExCeL Centre, which was a major step for the Society.  Les galvanised support from the companies, and led the presentations to other potential exhibitors at a meeting which was held at ExCeL in 2001 to promote the event.

Les was nominated as Honorary Treasurer in 2005, and served in this role for 9 years.  He oversaw a number of changes during this time, helping to move the RMS office into the 21st century, advising on health and safety, CRM and overhauling the IT infrastructure.  He was a key advisor for EMC2012 in Manchester, particularly the budgetary aspects. 

Since coming to the end of his term as Treasurer in 2014 he has continued his involvement by providing IT advice, and introducing the ISO 27001 standard, as well as providing a smooth transition to Lynne Joyce, the incoming Treasurer.  He has also overseen the organisation of the RMS Learning Zone at mmc since 2012, an area within the Microscience Exhibition which has grown and flourished over the years, under Les’s guidance and keen eye for detail.

2016 - Professor Vyvyan Howard 2016 - Professor Vyvyan Howard

Professor Howard, an Emeritus Professor at Ulster University, has served as both the Honorary Treasurer and President of the RMS, as well as holding the post of General Editor of the Journal of Microscopy from 1986-1991.

During this period, he maintained the Journal of Microscopy remaining near the top of the Impact Factor ratings for the field of microscopy and he oversaw a period of great activity and development including: confocal microscopy, scanning probe microscopy and design-based stereology. The latter topic was his own speciality to which he contributed many original papers.

As Honorary Treasurer, he saw the Society through a difficult period, with a stock market crash occurring shortly after the RMS’ 150th anniversary celebrations in 1989. Through Professor Howard's shrewd handling of the Society's financial affairs he pulled the Society through and by the time he left the Honorary Treasurer's post after 4 years the assets of the Society were far healthier! In addition to this, he introduced the Staff Pension Scheme, an important philanthropic policy which was well ahead of its time, and which still benefits the Society's staff to this day.

During his Presidency of the RMS, Professor Howard organised a meeting at MICRO96 which turned out to be the first to address the health effects of nanoparticles. This has turned out to become a major area of research, leading to multimillion pound/euro funding from research organisations.

Professor Howard has shown throughout his career not only that he has contributed a huge amount of time an effort to the RMS, helping to shape it into the successful Charity it is today, but has also made major contributions to the science of microscopy.
Professor Howard was awarded his Medal at the RMS Microscopy: Advances, Innovation, Impact meeting in London on 30 September 2016.

2015 - Dr Chris Hammond 2015 - Dr Chris Hammond

Dr Hammond is recognised for his numerous contributions to the RMS through his voluntary roles as Executive Honorary Secretary, Archivist and an Outreach Committee Member. He co-founded the AMFES Scheme (A Microscope For Every School), providing funding towards microscopes purchased by schools nationwide, he has successfully organised the Light Microscopy Course for over 20 years and at the RMS’ flagship event the Microscience Microscopy Congress, he can always be found on the Learning Zone, an area designed to help and advise microscopists at all stages of their career. He also generously authored one of the RMS Handbook Series – ‘Introduction to Crystallography’ and refurbishes microscopes donated to the Society back to prime condition.  His unfaltering enthusiasm and motivation for the science means he has inspired and helped so many of the newest generation of microscopists and the RMS are pleased to be able to celebrate all he has accomplished.