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Darwin Medal

cancer cells under microscope
Purple cells: Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Nominations now open

The call for nominations is now open. Please ensure you read through the guidance document fully.

The Royal 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 to be nominated for any of the Royal Society medals and awards.

Nominations close on Friday 23 February 2024 at 23:59 GMT.

Nominate now

Darwin medallist 2023

Dr Peter Campbell (Credit: Sanger Institute) 

The Darwin Medal 2023 is awarded to Dr Peter Campbell for his pioneering contributions to somatic evolution, including some of the most creative and influential studies of evolution in cancer and normal tissues.

The award

The Darwin Medal is awarded for work of distinction in evolution, biological diversity and developmental, population and organismal biology. The Darwin Medal was created in memory of Charles Darwin FRS and was first awarded in 1890 to noted biologist and naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace FRS 'for his independent origination of the theory of the origin of species by natural selection.' The medal is of silver gilt, was awarded biennially until 2018 and is now awarded annually, and is accompanied by a gift of £2,000. 


The Darwin medal is open to UK/Commonwealth/Republic of Ireland citizens or those who have been residents for three or more years. There are no restrictions on career stage 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. 


Nominations are now open.

Past winners

Professor Martin Embley FMedSci FRS was awarded the Darwin Medal 2022 for his fundamental, paradigm-changing contributions to the understanding of mitochondrial endosymbiosis and the origins of eukaryotes in a new two-domain tree of life.

Professor Dolph Schluter FRS was awarded the Darwin Medal 2021 for major and fundamental contributions to the understanding of the how species originate, adaptive radiations develop, and geographical patterns of biodiversity emerge and are maintained.

Professor Robert Martienssen FRS was awarded the Darwin Medal 2020 for outstanding contributions to genetics and epigenetics, including defining the role of RNA interference in inherited gene silencing and in genomic stability in the germ line.

Professor Peter Holland FRS was awarded the Darwin Medal 2019 for his work with many organisms and genes elucidating key aspects of how changes in the genome influence evolution of animal development. 

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

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