|The Brian Wilkins Memorial Fund has been set up by private individuals
to honour the memory of Brian M. Wilkins formerly of the University of
| The purpose of the fund is to provide a Prize to be awarded to an
outstanding young scientist with a commitment to studying mobile genetic
elements, horizontal gene transfer or properties linked to these topics.
This could include, for example, recombination or the study of protein
secretion systems that provide an understanding of how the conjugative
transfer apparatus works. Although Brian Wilkins was linked to
the "Plasmid" community there is no need for the work to be specifically
linked to Plasmids since other elements such as conjugative transposons
could also be included.
|The prize will be awarded to a scientist just starting their career either
as a PhD student, a Post doc, or embarking on their first permanent job.
It is expected that the work on which the award will be based should have
been carried out during postgraduate studies or the first three years of
laboratory work following award of their PhD. The Trustees will have the
power to interpret this rule flexibly so long as the spirit of the award
is to recognise a scientist near the start of their career. Account may be
taken of career breaks for parenthood or other substantive reasons as
|The Prize will be awarded to a scientist who displays a number of
qualities that were regarded as characteristic of Brian Wilkins. Of key
- a topic that is judged as significant by the Trustees and the panel who
assess their presentations;
- enthusiasm for and competence in the literature of their research area;
- clever and innovative experimental design – that is that the work
performed is not just data generation but involves sophisticated
exploration of background knowledge and logical dissection of the problem
- clear and enthusiastic communication of their work.
|The Prize will normally be awarded biennially, provisionally in 2004,
2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, at the Plasmid Biology conferences that are
projected for these years. If for any reason the regularity or
the name of these conferences changes then the Trustees will have the
power to make appropriate arrangements to allow the prize to be awarded at
a different conference.
|It will normally be expected that those nominated for the Prize will be
planning to attend the Plasmid Biology Conference scheduled for that year
at which the prize will be awarded. It is not the intention
for the prize to be used to cover the cost of attending the meeting.
|Individuals can apply for the Prize themselves or they can be nominated by
someone else. For the application to be considered the
Trustees will need to receive: an Abstract covering the work that they
would present at the conference; a curriculum vitae of the applicant,
including an outline of their career progression; copies of each of the
papers on which the case for the award is being made; supporting
statements from three referees; and a covering letter from the applicant
or the person who nominates the applicant explaining how the individual
fulfils the criteria for the Prize. Where the papers to be
considered are multi-authored appropriate referees (for example the senior
scientist in whose laboratory the work was carried out) will be asked to
indicate the proportion of the work that was directly attributable to the
|The applications will be considered by the Trustees and a shortlist of no
more than five candidates will be drawn up. All of these
applicants will be asked to present talks at the Plasmid Biology
|A panel consisting of at least two of the Trustees supplemented by
additional senior scientists will listen to all the talks at the Plasmid
Biology Conference and one person will be chosen as the winner.
The prize will be awarded at the end of the conference.
|The Prize will consist of approximately one fifth of the total sum in the
Fund at the start of this project. On the current pledges it
is expected that the Prize will be in the region of 1000 US Dollars.
It may be increased in future if more funds become available. The Trustees
will explore the possibility of additional smaller prizes for short-listed
|The Winner of the prize will be expected to spend the prize money in such
a way as to support their scientific career. The winner will
be allowed to use their discretion in the way that this is used.
However, in order to publicise the award, the Winner will normally be
expected to provide a brief report on how the money was used so that there
is a record of how the money has benefited the individual.
|The founding Trustees are:
- William J. Brammar (University of Leicester)
- Stephen K. Farrand (University of Illinois)
- Christopher D. Thomas (University of Leeds)
- Christopher M. Thomas (University of Birmingham) (Chairperson)
- Susan E. Wilkins
- Ellen L. Zechner (University of Graz)
29th January 2004