Twenty years on: past winners of the Dr Simon Newell Early Investigator of the Year Award

Established in 1999 by Sparks, this annual award recognises outstanding young medical researchers in the field of paediatrics. Now jointly funded by Sparks and GOSH Charity, it was renamed in 2017 in memory of Dr Newell and his distinguished career. With 19 winners to date, it continues his legacy of exceptional research.

A boost at an early stage in their career


The award has raised the personal profiles of its recipients. Dr Manish Sadarangani, the 2016 award winner (pictured), describes it as an "important staging post in [his] career" that contributed to him becoming the Director of the Vaccine Evaluation Centre in Vancouver, Canada – "one of the leading translation paediatric vaccinology research groups in the world".

Similarly, 2017 award winner Dr Christopher Moxon defines the award as "an important boost for the career of an early career investigator". He believes that winning the award contributed to his recent appointment as a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Wellcome Centre for Molecular Parasitology.

Professor Jugnoo Rahi, a winner in 2002, also regards the award as "undoubtedly helpful" in her journey to becoming an independent investigator.

Highlighting a variety of research themes

The award has also raised the the winners' work. Research themes range from ophthalmology to oncology. For example, Dr Moxon worked in the field of paediatric cerebral malaria, a disease very infrequently seen in the UK but prevalent in the tropics.


The following year the award was received by Dr Karin Straathof, whose work focuses on the development of T-cell immunotherapy for childhood cancer, while in 2012 the award was given to Dr Matthew Murray (pictured) for his research in non-invasive blood-based testing.

The breadth of work recognised by the award is testament to the wide range of ground-breaking research conducted in paediatrics. And, its longevity illustrates the wealth of young talented researchers in the field.

The 2019 award

As the award approaches its twentieth year, we look forward to presenting the 2019 Dr Simon Newell Early Investigator of the Year (Sparks) award – and to hearing about the winner’s research career in years to come.

The deadline is 30 November 2018 - find out more and apply

If you’ve written an article related to paediatrics while a pre-grade medical practitioner, consider entering the Donald Paterson Prize 2019 to win £200 and a place at the RCPCH Conference and exhibition 2019.