Alfred R. Bader Award

For Student Innovation 2021 in Chemistry

2021 Bader Award: Imagine the Future of Chemistry

Where will chemistry go next? We invite Bader Award applicants to be bold and help us imagine how chemistry discoveries might change the world. Enter your research project into the Alfred R. Bader Award for Student Innovation program for 2021.

Show Off Your Research. Win $2,000. Deadline: September 6, 2021.

Graduate students studying synthetic organic chemistry or drug discovery with a focus on creative research in synthesis, methodology development, catalysis, chemical biology, cheminformatics, or any relevant, adjacent, fields are invited to apply for the Alfred R. Bader Award for Student Innovation 2021. All four winners will present their research at the Bader Student Chemistry Symposium November 4, 2021 at a virtual event.

Applicants must submit:

  • A research summary* highlighting
    • Project background and important result
    • Applicant’s individual contribution to the project
    • Impact of the work on the chemistry or scientific community
  • A 100-word personal statement about that new trend or breakthrough in chemistry research (whether currently in practice or not) do you think will have the greatest impact on the field of drug discovery in the coming decade?
  • A resume
  • Completed 2021 Bader Award application

Applications must be received no later than September 6, 2021. Finalists will be notified by October 1, 2021.

* The research summary is limited to 1,000 words (excluding references) and should be submitted as a Microsoft Word document in 10-point Arial font.

Nominate Students in Your Department

Professors and proud alumni, we want to recognize the best and brightest chemical synthesis Ph.D. students. Print out a flyer for your department notice board — or email a copy to your lab.


  • Applicants must have completed two years of a doctorate degree program or in a doctorate program and have completed a master's degree
  • Limited to the first 200 applicants
  • Applicants must be able to attend and make a short presentation of their graduate research at the Bader Student Chemistry Symposium happening virtually on November 4, 2021.

Bader Award Application

About the Bader Awards

From Friedrich Jacob Merck to Alfred R. Bader and Beyond

Our course was set by an aspiring pharmacist, Friedrich Jacob Merck, back in 1668. Today, we are a vibrant global science and technology company, influenced over the years by contributions of great scientific minds like Alfred R. Bader and Jack Bush. The Bader Awards seek to recognize student chemists whose innovations have the potential to advance science today and spark progress well into the future.

More than a decade’s worth of chemistry graduate students have participated in the Alfred R. Bader Awards for Student Innovation. Over the years the prize amounts and application criteria have varied, but the awards have always recognized the work of up-and-coming chemists with big ideas. Previous awardees include our partners Abby Doyle and Stephen T. Heller.

Sigma-Aldrich Cofounder Alfred R. Bader

Alfred R. Bader

As a young chemistry graduate student, Alfred R. Bader valued service and selection. It was these ideals on which he cofounded the Aldrich Chemical Company in 1951. Bader sought to save research chemists time by providing quality standardized chemicals. He was one of the foremost chemical innovators of his time, and his legacy continues in the Sigma-Aldrich® portfolio and in many philanthropic designations and honors.

Soon after co-founding Aldrich, Bader fostered global relationships with small chemical suppliers and his ever-innovative customers to grow his catalog and company. The result was fast success and the development of one of the best-known chemical catalogs. In 1975, the company’s name changed to Sigma-Aldrich after a merger. Today, the name continues as part of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Bader’s commitment to collaboration with scientists, cutting-edge products, and outstanding quality lives on through the dedication of current employees and outreach activities like the Alfred R. Bader Award for Student Innovation.

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