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Darwin Medal

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

Charles Darwin FRS

The award

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 awarded biennially (in even years) for "work of acknowledged distinction in the broad area of biology in which Charles Darwin worked, notably in evolution, population biology, organismal biology and biological diversity.”


The call for nominations has now closed. The next round of nominations will open in November 2017.

The recipient is chosen by the Council of the Royal Society on the recommendation of the Biological Sciences Awards Committee. The committee will consider the nomination a maximum of 3 times, before the nomination is retired. Re-nomination is possible after 1 round has passed. The medal is accompanied by a gift of £2,000.

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.

Past winners

Professor John Sutherland was awarded the Darwin Medal in 2014 for his novel and convincing work on prebiotic chemistry, in particular his solution to the central problem of nucleoside synthesis.

Timothy Clutton-Brock was awarded the Medal in 2012 for his outstanding work on the diversity of animal societies and demonstration of their effects on the evolution of reproductive strategies, the operation of selection and the dynamics of populations.

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