Dr Simon Newell Early Career Investigator of the Year (Sparks) Award

Sparks funds an annual award for excellence in research to an outstanding young medical research worker in British paediatrics.


Since 1999, Sparks (now part of the GOSH Charity family) has funded an annual award that recognises excellence in the field of paediatric research. In February 2017 Sparks joined Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity and became part of the GOSH Charity family and this award is now facilitated by GOSH Charity.

The award is offered to recognise an outstanding young medically qualified researcher in British paediatrics. 

Previously this was known as the Young Investigator of the Year Award. This year the award has been re-named in memory of Dr Simon Newell - a renowned and widely respected neonatologist and paediatrician who had a passion to encourage the next generation of paediatric clinicians and researchers.  He made an enormous contribution toSparks_logo_CMYK_main (resized).jpg neonatal medicine across the UK and was a great advocate for paediatric health. Simon was connected to Sparks throughout his career, first as a researcher, then a member of the Medical Advisory Committee and later a Trustee. This award has been named in his memory and as recognition of the tremendous work he did.

The award comprises:

  • a trophy
  • £1000 for the winner
  • £1000 to the winner's department to buy equipment and cover other expenses such as consumables connected with their research.

The RCPCH presents the winner at the RCPCH Conference in March 2018. The winner will be notified ahead of the conference and the RCPCH will cover the winner's travel and conference costs. 

Nomination process

The nomination process is managed by the RCPCH. All nominations must be submitted to research@rcpch.ac.uk

We welcome applications from early career researchers who have not GOSH.pngyet completed or who may have recently completed their certificates of completion of training (CCT). Nominees may nominate themselves with the support of a sponsor.

Any nomination should include the following:

  • a completed nomination form
  • a copy of the nominee's concise CV
  • details of their research work (800 words max)
  • a brief statement (500 words max.) highlighting why the nominee should be selected for this award

The RCPCH Academic Board’s Adjudicating Panel reviews all nominations.


See instructions on how to apply

Complete the application form 

Please send all applications to research@rcpch.ac.uk

Deadline: 24th November

Previous winners

2017 – Dr Chris Moxon, The University of Liverpool

The 2017 award was granted to Dr Chris Moxon, Clinical Lecturer in Paediatrics in the Department of Clinical Infection, Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Liverpool.Dr Moxon was recognised for his groundbreaking work on malaria – a disease that claims the life ofhalf a million children worldwide every year.

His work particularly focuses on the most severe complication of malaria - cerebral malaria – where the infection affects the brain causing swelling and coma. Up to a quarter of children with cerebral malaria lose their lives and children that do survive are often left with significant disability. Dr Moxon’s research is tackling this by trying to understand which children go on to develop brain complications, why malaria targets the brain and not other organs, and the exact mechanisms by which malaria causes the damage in the brain. With this understanding, he hopes to develop new, more effective treatments to stop the devastating effect of this disease.  He also hopes this work will help better understand other brain infections.

He says “It is a huge honour to win this award - to me and to all the people that I have worked with. It also means a lot to me that RCPCH and SPARKS have given this award for work on malaria - a disease of huge global importance for child health but that we see infrequently here in the UK.” 

2016 Dr Manish Sadarangani
2015 Dr Robert Phillps
2014 Dr Marc Tebruegge
2013 Dr Roderick Mitchell and Dr Anthony Wiskin (jointly awarded)
2012 Dr Matthew Murray
2011 Dr Andrew Prendergast
2010 Dr Don Sharkey
2009 Dr Richard F M Chin
2006 Dr Amanda Drake
2005 Dr Howard Clark
2004 Dr Mark Herbert
2003 Dr Deborah Tweddle
2002 Dr Jugnoo Rahi
2001 Dr Paul Winyard
2000 Dr Richard Gilbertson
1999 Dr Jeremy Hull


For more information or if you have any questions, please contact the Research and Evaluation team on research@rcpch.ac.uk