BTM Willis Prize 2020 - Dr Emily Draper
30 Apr 2021



The 2020 Prize has been awarded to Dr Draper, University of Glasgow, for her outstanding contributions in the field of self-assembled systems, developing a number of methods including neutron scattering to prepare and characterise supramolecular materials


​​Dr Emily Draper​

Dr Emily DraperDr Draper (pictured ​right) was nominated by Professor Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow, who says, “Dr. Draper is a rising star in the field of organic optoelectronic materials. She has expertise in controlling self-assembly to form conductive and electrochromic materials, aligning self-assembled materials, photocatalysis and photoconductivity.

“She is also a highly creative, focused, and determined scientist. She has developed a number of new methods to prepare and characterise supramolecular materials, and was the driving force for her first author paper in Nature Chemistry where she produced state-of-the-art two component networks where one network could then be photo-eroded. “In addition, she has developed new methods to prepare shear-aligned photoactive solutions and gels, as well as magnetically aligning photoconductive materials.”

Dr. Draper is also an expert in preparing and characterizing self-assembled systems, and has recently developed a method to monitor electrochemical changes in self-assembled systems directly in a neutron beam for in situ small angle neutron scattering experiments. Dr Ralf Schweins from the Large Scale Structures Group at the Institut Laue - Langevin has carried out multiple small angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiments with Emily and supported her nomination. He says;

 “Emily is an extremely talented scientist, and has become expert in analysing and interpreting SANS data. She has carried out particularly challenging research in characterising self-assembled fibrous systems, elucidating the contribution of each individual network in an experiment that is uniquely possible using neutron scattering. Emily has authored more than 50 publications, of which she is the corresponding author for 14 and first author for another 23. I am convinced Emily is a great scientist and deserves being awarded the BTM Willis Prize 2020.”

In addition to her outstanding research portfolio, Dr Draper is committed to developing the next generation of scientists. She has been a committee member of the Women in Supramolecular Chemistry (WISC) group, helping develop a new mentoring scheme for young supramolecular chemists. She chaired the Postdoctoral Network in the School of Chemistry at Glasgow, developing a programme of talks to help develop the careers of postdoctoral researchers, and where she is part of the Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team. She has regularly taken part in events in local school, giving talks on pursuing a career in Chemistry, and Girls in Science days and is a member of the Chemistry Outreach Group (COG) in the School of Chemistry at Glasgow, and has presented in the Pint of Science series on the potential of flexible electronic devices in prosthetics.

Dr Annela Sneddon at the University of Bristol also support Dr Draper’s nomination. She says, “For the point she is at in her career, Dr Draper is a truly exceptional scientist. Her publication record is outstanding, and she consistently produces elegant and careful work which has a high impact in the field of soft matter, and specifically functional gels. The neutron scattering experiments she has undertaken are an exemplar of this approach. I find it particularly notable that she has managed to blend her excellent fundamental science with potentially useful applications, something that I think should be applauded. She is a worthy nominee for the BTM Willis Prize and I wholeheartedly support her nomination.”
The BTM Willis Prize is jointly awarded by the IOP Neutron Scattering Group and the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry for outstanding neutron scattering science, and is named in honour of the founding chairman of the Neutron Scattering Group, Professor B T M Willis. It is awarded to an individual in recognition of a single outstanding piece of work, or a longer term coherent body of work, in the application of neutron scattering to a significant problem in physics, chemistry, materials science, earth science, the life sciences, or engineering, or alternatively in recognition of a major development in neutron scattering instrumentation or techniques.

Contact: Fletcher, Sara (STFC,RAL,BID)