The person who will replace James Watt on the £50 Bank of England banknote will be a scientist, the Bank has announced.

It is now asking the public to nominate suitable people. The closing date for nominations is December 14, 2018.

Inventor Watt and his Birmingham business partner Matthew Boulton have appeared on the note since 2011.

Last month, the Bank revealed that the note would be revamped and issued in a polymer (plastic) form, with a new character on the back.

Bank Governor Mark Carney said: “I am delighted that the new £50 will celebrate the UK’s contribution to science. There is a wealth of individuals whose work has shaped how we think about the world and who continue to inspire people today.

“Our banknotes are an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of UK society and highlight the contributions of its greatest citizens. My colleagues and I look forward to hearing from the public as they think science and put forward their nominations.”

The Bank has stipulated that the scientist must be real (not a fictional character) and no longer alive – the only living person featured on its banknotes is Her Majesty The Queen.

Members of the public have six weeks to nominate a historical character who has contributed to science and influenced UK society. They could have worked in any field of science including astronomy, biology, bio-technology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, medical research, physics, technology or zoology.

You can nominate through the Bank’s website or write to: Think Science, Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH.

A committee will draw up a shortlist from the nominations, with the Governor making the final decision. The new character will be announced in 2019.

To encourage submissions, the Bank has produced this humorous YouTube video, featuring Watt and other banknote characters . . . .

Read the Bank’s full press release here