RSE Dame Muriel Spark Medal

The RSE Dame Muriel Spark Medal recognises exceptional achievements in the arts, humanities, and social sciences by an early career researcher. This award meets with the Society’s strategic objectives of recognising and rewarding excellence in, and increasing public understanding of, the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The awardees are required to have a Scottish connection but can be based anywhere in the world.

Early career researcher is defined as “a researcher with a minimum of two years postdoctoral work experience and no more than ten years postdoctoral work experience” (i.e. research fellows to lecturers in their first academic posts are eligible). For those not based in academia ‘early career’ is defined as “individuals who have demonstrated outstanding ability in their work and professional practice within thirteen years of graduation.”


Nominations are currently closed.

Supporting documents

ABOUT Dame Muriel Spark

Dame Muriel Spark (1918 – 2008) was a world-famous novelist, poet, and essayist. Edinburgh-born and educated (at James Gillespie’s High School and Heriot-Watt University), she was the recipient of eight honorary doctorates and twice short-listed for the Booker Prize. She was made OBE in 1967 and, in 1993, was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to literature.


The RSE relaunched its medals in autumn 2022 to better reflect the important, and often overlooked, input of eminent women to the sciences, arts, and letters in Scotland. The RSE Dame Muriel Spark Medal was formally the RSE Thomas Reid Medal.

RSE Dame Muriel Spark Medallists:

YearName(s)Institution Awarded
2024Dr Deval Desai YAS MemberUniversity of Edinburghfor their leadership in pushing forward the horizons of scholarship that builds on Global South experiences. In a remarkably short space of time, Dr Desai has established an international reputation for creative and rigorous scholarship, as well as developing and delivering strategic transformations in Edinburgh Law School’s educational offer. He excels in research with an interdisciplinary approach, securing research funding as well as translating his research into impactful policies. 
2023No award made

RSE Thomas Reid Medallists:

YearName(s)Institution Awarded
2022Dr Neil McDonnellUniversity of GlasgowFor his leading and sustained work on Project Mobius, including creating a ‘VR for Zoom’ platform which has delivered the significant elements of VR without the need for headsets; thus negating the health risk currently associated with their use. His work is recognised globally for developing the very highest levels of visualisation and simulation.
2021Dr Manuel Fernández-GötzUniversity of EdinburghFor their position as a leading Early Career researcher on diverse aspects of the European Iron Age. His contributions have provided markedly fresh thinking in impressive monographs, edited collections, and papers in highly regarded journals.
2020/2019No award made
2018Dr Matthew NovensonUniversity of EdinburghFor their outstanding research work on early Christianity and his strengths as a supervisor of research students, as a successful teacher, and for his exercise of leadership both in his home university department and internationally.
2017Dr Mirko CanevaroUniversity of EdinburghFor their outstanding research work on ancient Greek politics and law.
2016Dr Nasar MeerUniversity of StrathclydeFor their ground-breaking research work on Muslim identities, race equality and nationalism, in addition to his outstanding record in media and public engagement.
2015No award made