Each year two medals are awarded for the most important contributions to the advancement of "Natural Knowledge” in the physical and biological sciences respectively. A third medal is awarded for distinguished contributions in the applied sciences.
The three Royal Medals, also known as the Queen’s Medals, are awarded annually by the Sovereign on the recommendation of the Council of the Society. Frederick Sanger FRS, Max Perutz FRS and Francis Crick FRS are among those who have been awarded a Royal Medal.
The Royal Medals were founded by HM King George IV in 1825. Between 1826 and 1964 two medals were awarded each year. In 1965 the third medal, covering the applied sciences, was introduced on behalf of HM The Queen.
The medals are supplemented with a gift of £10,000
Sir Stephen Sparks CBE FRS was awarded the 2018 Royal Medal for his contributions to our understanding of volcanoes, including evaluating their risks and mitigating their hazards.
Professor Lewis Wolpert CBE FMedSci FRS was awarded the 2018 Royal Medal for his research on morphogenesis and pattern formation that led to the concept of positional information in embryonic development.
Sir Shankar Balasubramanian FMedSci FRS and Professor David Klenerman FMedSci FRS were awarded the 2018 Royal Medal for their co-development of DNA sequencing techniques transforming biology and genomic medicine.
See full list of all past winners of the Royal Medal.