Winners and runners-up announced in the RSC’s 2024 Top of the Bench competition

Four students holding certificates with Gill Reid

Source: © Rebecca Holmes

The winning Top of the Bench students proudly holding their certificates with RSC president Gill Reid

In this year’s Top of the Bench competition, Brighton College clinched victory over teams from across the UK and Belgium, in the final at Edinburgh Napier University. The Brighton College team won a trophy, individual £25 Amazon gift vouchers and a generous £500 to bolster their school’s chemistry provision. The runners-up, from The Manchester Grammar School, were awarded a trophy and each received a £15 Amazon gift voucher. Sama Albattat from Cardiff High School received the Jacqui Clee Award for the most outstanding individual contribution.

An inspiring challenge

The theme for this year’s competition was water – essential to life on Earth and a critical topic in chemistry. On 16 March, 31 teams of aspiring 14–16 year-old scientists put their chemistry knowledge and skills to the test at Edinburgh Napier University. The competition kicked off with a 40-minute chemistry knowledge exam, where pairs of students worked together in school teams to answer a series of challenging questions. After this, groups of four students tackled an engaging 90-minute lab practical exercise.

President of the RSC, Gill Reid says the event was incredibly enjoyable, with a real buzz of anticipation. ‘It was fantastic to see the enthusiasm, determination and team work on display. I hope everyone felt proud of their achievements and inspired to continue their journey with chemistry! Thanks also to all the teachers and technical staff for their commitment to enabling the students to enjoy this experience.’

Mark Jordan, head of education at the RSC, added: ‘Our congratulations to all this year’s participants who represented their schools and a new generation of scientists so well. We’re very grateful to the staff of Edinburgh Napier University, technicians and teachers, and the RSC team for making the first final hosted in Scotland such a success.’

Edinburgh Napier University lecturer, Colin McGill shares how proud the team were to be able to host this year’s final: ‘It was great to welcome enthusiastic young chemists and their teachers from across the UK (and beyond!)’. Colin and his team worked in partnership with the RSC to organise the successful event. He extends special thanks to the events team, the technical team who organised the practical activities and more, as well as the student teachers who helped out on the day.

The Top of the Bench competition continues to inspire and challenge young scientists, offering a platform to showcase their talents and passion for chemistry. Congratulations to all the talented participants and winners.

Want to get involved?

If you would like to take part in the next competition, get in touch with the RSC local section for your area. You can also email us if you have any questions about the competition or our supporting resources.