Darwin Medal

This medal is awarded for work of acknowledged distinction in evolution, population biology, organismal biology and biological diversity

  • Opening date

  • Closing date

  • Winners announcement

    Date subject to confirmation

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 closed

Nominations will reopen in November 2024.

2023 winner

  •  Dr Peter Campbell

    Dr Peter Campbell

    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. Image credit: Sanger Institute
  • Past winners

    • Peter Campbell
      Awarded in 2023

      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.
    • Martin Embley
      Awarded in 2022

      Professor Martin Embley FMedSci FRS

      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.
    • Dolph Schluter
      Awarded in 2021

      Professor Dolph Schluter FRS

      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.
    • Robert Martienssen
      Awarded in 2020

      Professor Robert Martienssen FRS

      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.
    • Peter Holland
      Awarded in 2019

      Professor Peter Holland FRS

      For his work with many organisms and genes elucidating key aspects of how changes in the genome influence evolution of animal development.
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      Awarded in 2018

      William Hill

      For his contribution to our understanding of the genetics of quantitative traits and response to selection. This work is fundamental for evolutionary biology, as well as having great economic significance.
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      Awarded in 2016

      Caroline Dean

      For her work addressing fundamental questions in the perception of temperature cues and how modifications in epigenetic mechanisms play an important role in adaptation.
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      Awarded in 2014

      John Sutherland

      For his novel and convincing work on prebiotic chemistry, in particular his solution to the central problem of nucleoside synthesis.
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      Awarded in 2012

      Timothy Clutton-Brock

      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.
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      Awarded in 2010

      Bryan Clarke

      For his original and influential contributions to our understanding of the genetic basis of evolution.
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      Awarded in 2008

      Geoffrey Parker

      For his lifetime contribution to the foundations and development of behavioural ecology, in particular for understanding evolutionary adaptations and their consequences for natural populations.
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      Awarded in 2006

      Nick Barton

      For his major and extensive contributions to evolutionary biology, characterised by the application of sophisticated mathematical analysis but focussed on developing biological understanding rather than mathematical niceties.