Skip to content
Awards

Copley Medal

Covid-19 vaccine vial
Covid-19 vaccine vial

Nominations now open

The call for nominations is now open. There is a new nomination system in place and so please ensure you read through the guidance document fully. 

This year, the Society is encouraging nominations of joint collaborations, groups or teams for almost all its medals to better represent how contemporary science is undertaken. In addition, the Society is extremely keen to broaden the diversity of those nominated for its awards, so do please consider all contacts and colleagues.  

You do not have to be a Fellow of the Royal Society to nominate or be nominated for any of the Royal Society medals and awards.

Nominations close on Friday 24 February 2023 at 3pm GMT.

Nominate now

Copley Medallist 2022

Lab staff developing vaccineOxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine

The Copley Medal 2022 is awarded to the Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine Team for rapidly developing and deploying a COVID-19 vaccine.

The team will be awarded with the medal and a gift of £25,000 at the Royal Society at a future date. 

The award

The Copley Medal is the Society’s oldest and most prestigious award. The medal is awarded for sustained, outstanding achievements in any field of science.  

First awarded in 1731 following donations from Godfrey Copley FRS (PDF), it was initially awarded for the most important scientific discovery or for the greatest contribution made by experiment. The Copley Medal is thought to be the world's oldest scientific prize and it was awarded 170 years before the first Nobel Prize. Notable winners include Benjamin Franklin, Dorothy Hodgkin, Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin. The medal is of silver gilt, is awarded annually, alternating between the physical and biological sciences (odd and even years respectively), and is accompanied by a a gift of £25,000. 

Eligibility

The Copley medal is open to international citizens. It is restricted to senior scientists and nominations will remain valid and shall be considered by the award selection committee throughout three nomination cycles. Teams or groups may now be nominated for this award. In 2022, the Copley Medal will be awarded for the biological sciences. 

Nominations

Nominations are now open for physical sciences.

Past winners

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS was awarded the Copley Medal 2021 for her work on the discovery of pulsars, one of the major astronomical discoveries of the 20th century.

Sir Alan Fersht FMedSci FRS was awarded the Copley Medal 2020. He has developed and applied the methods of protein engineering to provide descriptions of protein folding pathways at atomic resolution, revolutionising our understanding of these processes.

Professor John Goodenough ForMemRS was awarded the Copley Medal 2019 in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the science and technology of materials, including his discovery that led to rechargeable lithium batteries. 

To find out more about past winners you can read this series of blogs.

See full list of all past winners of the Copley Medal.

Was this page useful?
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you for your feedback. Please help us improve this page by taking our short survey.