RSE Patrick Neill Medal

The RSE Patrick Neill Medal recognises exceptional achievements in life sciences by an early career researcher. This award meets with the Society’s strategic objective of increasing public understanding of science and the arts and humanities. 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 can only be made by Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
  • Nominations can be made via the new online system through the member area.
  • Along with the nomination form you are required to upload a CV and publication list for the candidate as well as two references.
  • Full guidance notes can be found in the member area.
  • RSE Medals Referee Form


Dr Patrick Neill (1776 – 1851) was a distinguished Scottish Naturalist and Fellow of the RSE. He was born in Edinburgh and spent his life in the city. He became the head of the large printing firm of Neill & Co but early in his career he devoted his spare time to natural history, especially botany and horticulture. Dr Neill was the first secretary of the Wernerian Natural History Society and the Caledonian Horticultural Society, holding the latter post for forty years. His “Tour through Orkney and Shetland,” appeared in 1806, a work which gave rise to much discussion, owing to its exposure of the then prevalent misery. He was also the author of the article “Gardening” in the seventh edition of the “Encyclopædia Britannica,” which, subsequently published under the title of “The Flower, Fruit, and Kitchen Garden,” and ran through several editions. Edinburgh is indebted to Neill for the scheme of the West Princes Street gardens. In 1820 that portion of the north loch was drained, and five acres of ground were laid out and planted with seventy-seven thousand trees and shrubs under his direction; it was also due to his public spirit that several antiquities were preserved when on the point of being demolished. In 1851 Dr Neill left a charitable bequest to the RSE and he is botanically commemorated by the rosaceous genus Neillia.


YearName(s)Institution Awarded
2021Dr Julie WelburnWellcome Centre for Cell Biology at the University of Edinburghfor enhancing our understanding of human cell division and disease through her research into the structure and cooperativity of key motor proteins and microtubule tracks.
2020Dr Luke Graham BoulterMRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburghfor their discovery of a number of processes that are required for cancers to develop during chronic disease, and his identification of a series of therapeutically targetable signals that cancers use to grow. He is also an active champion of LGBTQ+ diversity in medicine and science
2019Dr Joe MarshIGMM Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Edinburghfor their outstanding research in human genetics, which is key to the success of personalised and precision medicine.
2019Dr Ferry MelchelsHeriot-Watt Universityfor their outstanding contribution to the field of biomaterials and tissue engineering.
2018Dr Sarah CoulthurstDivision of Molecular Microbiology, University of Dundeefor their outstanding research work in the field of microbiology, particularly in the area of bacterial communication and competition.
2017Dr James ChalmersDiscovery Fellow and Honorary Consultant Physician, Division of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, University of Dundeefor their outstanding research work on respiratory infections and his expertise in bronchiectasis.
2016Dr Asier Unciti-BrocetaPI/Group Leader, Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre, MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburghfor their outstanding research work in biomedical technologies and innovative therapeutics through multi-disciplinary collaboration.
2015Dr Tiziana Lembo University of Glasgow Research Fellow, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgowfor their outstanding research work in the field of Veterinary medicine and her breadth of expertise in this field and in data analysis, zoonotic disease and public and animal health in the developing world.