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C&EN announces the Talented 12 class of 2021

by Bibiana Campos-Seijo
August 20, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 30


I can’t believe it is that time of year again. The American Chemical Society Fall 2021 meeting is now in full swing, which means the countdown is finally over and we are ready to make our big reveal. It’s Talented 12 time! Turn to page 26 to learn more about C&EN’s Talented 12 class of 2021. Be inspired by this group of trailblazing innovators who are focused on tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems. Read about their work to remove pollutants from water, combat air pollution, create the next generation of materials for semiconductors or photovoltaics, transform the immune system to fight cancer, and so much more.

If this issue piques your interest and you want to learn more about these rising stars in chemistry, you can sign up for a symposium that will be held Sept. 27–28, during which the class of 2021 will delve deeper into their research and give us a snapshot of their lives and careers so far. Besides TED-style talks by the class of 2021, we’ll have a treat for you—actually, we’ll have two. I’m delighted to announce that our keynote speakers will be Carolyn Bertozzi, the Baker Family Director of Stanford ChEM-H and the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University, and Malika Jeffries-EL, associate dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Boston University. You can register for this free event at

C&EN’s Talented 12 program is now in its seventh edition, and I’m pleased to say that it continues to go from strength to strength. When we launched Talented 12 in 2015, our goal was to create a recognition program that highlighted rising global talent across all areas of the chemical sciences, including industry, academia, and government. Since then, we have identified 84 outstanding scientists from around the world who are changing the face of chemistry.

A message I received from one of the members of this year’s class upon learning he was going to be featured captures the essence of Talented 12 and what we always hoped it would become—an internationally recognized program that early-career scientists aspire to be part of. He said,“It is a great honor to be part of the Talented 12 class of 2021. I’ve followed ACS T12 since the first cohort was announced, and it instantly became one of my goals as an early career faculty.”

The quality of talent out there is extraordinary, which makes the selection process arduous and lengthy but very rewarding. During the nomination period, we received information about hundreds of candidates, which our team painstakingly evaluated and winnowed down to this year’s class. This process allows us to identify and share information about chemists that may not make it into the final 12 but who are doing fascinating science and whose progress we want to monitor and feature in C&EN stories.

I also wanted to acknowledge that we are making some changes to the timing of the Talented 12 reveal and the nomination process. The 2021 edition will be the last time we announce the Talented 12 at the ACS fall meeting. For 2022, we will move the process earlier, so next year’s class will be announced at the end of May. As is traditional, we’ll celebrate with a special issue and an event. Next year’s issue will be published May 30, and the event will follow later that year.

As a consequence, the nomination period will change too. It’ll open immediately after the symposium this September and will stay open until Jan. 17, 2022. If you know of any deserving early-career chemists who are blazing trails, please let us know. Our nominations page is available at

Finally, I wanted to express my thanks to Thermo Fisher Scientific for its sponsorship of the program. It has been supporting this feature for 5 years now, and we couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.


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