Buchanan Medal

This medal is awarded for distinguished contributions to the medical sciences.

Buchanan George Buchanan FRS (credit: Wellcome Trust)

The Buchanan Medal is awarded biennially (in odd years) “in recognition of distinguished contribution to the medical sciences generally”.

The award was created from a fund to the memory of the physician George Buchanan FRS (PDF) and was first awarded in 1897. Originally it was awarded once every five years , but since 1990 it has been awarded once every two years. The medal is of silver gilt and is accompanied by a gift of £2,000. 


The call for nominations for the 2015 Buchanan Medal is now closed. Nominations for the 2017 medal will open in November 2016.

The recipient is chosen by the Council of the Royal Society on the recommendation of the Biological Sciences Awards Committee. Nominations are valid for three cycles of consideration with re-nomination possible after one cycle has passed.

If possible the Committee will award the medal to an early-to-mid career stage scientist. The award is open to citizens of a Commonwealth country or of the Irish Republic or those who have been ordinarily resident and working in a Commonwealth country or in the Irish Republic for a minimum of three years immediately prior to being proposed.

Professor Irwin Mclean

Most recent medallist

Professor Irwin McLean FMedSci FRS was awarded the 2015 Buchanan Medal for his major contribution to our understanding of the genetic basis of heritable skin diseases.


Buchanan Medal: For distinguished contributions to the medical sciences.

Darwin Medal: For work of acknowledged distinction in evolution, population biology, organismal biology and biological diversity.

Davy Medal: For important discoveries in chemistry.

Gabor Medal: For interdisciplinary work between the life sciences with other disciplines.

Hughes Medal: For original discoveries relating to the generation, storage and use of energy.

Kavli Education Medal: For impact in the field of science and mathematics education.

Leverhulme Medal: For significant contributions to chemistry or engineering.

Royal Society King Charles II Medal: For foreign Heads of State or Government who have made an outstanding contribution to furthering scientific research in their country.

Rumford Medal: For important discoveries in the field of thermal or optical properties of matter.

Sylvester Medal: For mathematical research.

See all medals, awards and prize lectures.

Contact us

For more information on this, and all Royal Society medals, awards and prize lectures, please contact awards@royalsociety.org.

Photos of the Buchanan Medal

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