Recognising wider contributions to the scientific endeavour through Royal Society medals and awards

30 November 2021

Two new awards celebrating the breadth of ways in which people contribute to science will join the Royal Society’s line-up of prestigious medals and awards.

Nominations open on 30 November for the Hauksbee Award, aimed at celebrating the outstanding achievements in science by someone whose work is mostly 'behind the scenes', and the Research Culture Award, recognising outstanding contributions to the wider research community.

Professor Richard Catlow FRS, outgoing Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society said: "With the introduction of the Hauksbee Award and the Research Culture Award, the Royal Society has the fantastic opportunity to recognise the vital contributions to science and our research culture made by those who are not typically in the spotlight.

"Our research communities are built on the countless contributions of individuals who often go unnoticed and are shaped by those who seek to continually improve the culture and create a positive community in which science flourishes. These awards will highlight the importance of these contributions.

"In addition to these new awards, many medal and award nominations will now be open for both individuals and teams. This reflects the true nature of research and scientific achievements, where they are rarely the result of only one person’s efforts, and are instead driven by the hard work and creativity of many people working together."

The Hauksbee Award recognises the achievements of an individual or team for outstanding and sustained work in the support of scientific excellence. The award is named after Francis Hauksbee who was Isaac Newton's laboratory assistant at the Royal Society. During his time as President, Newton appointed Hauksbee as curator and instrument maker, and Hauksbee later became a Fellow in his own right in 1705. 

The Research Culture Award recognises a wide variety of contributions to improving research culture - the behaviours, values, expectations, attitudes and norms of our research communities. Examples of people who will be recognised via this new award includes those who have supported others in their scientific careers; those who have made significant contributions to improving the culture, environment and working conditions for researchers; and those who produce technological innovations that enable a more open culture.

In addition to the new awards announced today, the Society is pursuing other avenues to broaden the nominations to its range of medals and awards. 

Part of this work includes establishing new search committees to help identify outstanding nominees from underrepresented groups, including those from industry and those from a wider spread of geographic areas, institutions and fields.

Professor Veronica van Heyningen FRS, Chair of the Royal Society Diversity Committee said: “Like other prize giving institutions, the Royal Society has identified broadening the nomination process as a key step to increasing representation across our recognition schemes. 

"These new search committees will go some way to identifying a fuller spectrum of talent across the scientific community and, together with the additional prizes, the Society will aim to recognise a more diverse range of contributions and contributors to science."

The full list of awards open for nomination, and their eligibility criteria, is available here. Nominations for all Royal Society medals and awards, close on Friday 25 February 2022.