RSE Royal Medal

RSE Royal Medals are awarded for distinction and international repute in any of the following categories: life sciences; physical, engineering and informatic sciences; arts, humanities and social sciences; business, public service and public engagement..

These Medals were instituted by Her Majesty The Queen in the year 2000. They are awarded annually, to individuals who have achieved distinction and are of international repute in any of the following categories: life sciences; physical, engineering and informatic sciences; arts, humanities and social sciences; business, public service and public engagement. Candidates for the Royal Medals need not be RSE Fellows and should, preferably, have a Scottish connection, irrespective of place of domicile.

Please note that nominations can only be made by Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Nominations

  • 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 three references.
  • Full guidance notes can be found in the member area.
  • Download the Royal Medals Referee Form

Awardees

YearName(s)Awarded
2021Professor David Leith
For their pioneering work in methods to control molecular-level dynamics. His body of work on the synthesis of entwined and entangled molecular systems—such as threads, knots, and links—has been ground-breaking and has enabled advancement of synthetic molecular machines (nanobots).
2021Professor Andrew MorrisFor their exceptional contributions to advancing health data science in Scotland and internationally. His efforts have led to the creation of Health Data Research UK, for which he serves as inaugural Director, and the creation of the UK’s Health Innovation Gateway, which has catalysed the trustworthy use of health data for patient and public benefit. This resource is proving invaluable in, amongst other things, the fight against Covid-19 with real-time reporting to CMO Advisory Groups and SAGE.
2020Professor Peter Kennedy CBE, FMedSci, FRSEFor his outstanding contribution in distinguishing the major human brain cell types paving the way to significant advances in the treatment of neurological diseases and infections, as well as identification of a novel therapy for African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness).
2019Nicola Benedetti CBEFor their work in bettering the lives of Scotland’s Children from deprived backgrounds through Sistema Scotland and its series of Big Noise Orchestras.
2018Mr David Climie OBEFor their outstanding contribution to the field of Civil Engineering, particularly for his work on the Queensferry Crossing.
2018Professor Richard Henderson CH FRS FMedSciFor their outstanding contribution to the field of Molecular Biology.
2018Dr Thea Musgrave CBEFor their outstanding contribution to the betterment of humankind through Music.
2017Professor Peter Boyle CorrFRSE FMedSciFor their outstanding contribution to global cancer control and public health policy.
2017Professor Tessa Holyoake FRSE FMedSciFor their outstanding contribution to the field of life sciences through her discovery of the existence of cancer stem cells in the chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and her development of a new therapy for this condition.
2017Dr Donald Runnicles OBEFor their outstanding contribution to the art of music at the highest international level.
2016Professor James Hough OBE FRS FRSEFor their involvement in the pioneering research and discovery of gravitational waves.
2016Professor Sir Angus Stewart Deaton FBA HonFRSEFor their services to research in economics and international affairs.
2015No awards made in this year
2014Professor Sir Thomas W B Kibble CBE FRSFor their outstanding contribution to the research and discovery of the mechanism that gives mass to elementary particles.
2014Professor Richard G M Morris CBE FRS FRSE FMedSciFor their outstanding contributions to neuroscience.
2013Sir John Cadogan CBE FRS FRSE FLSWFor their outstanding contribution to organic chemistry.
2013Professor Michael A J Ferguson CBE FRS FRSE FMedSci For their outstanding contribution to the field of parasitology.
2013Sir Ian Wood CBE FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to business and commerce in Scotland.
2012Dr David Milne OBE FRSE For their outstanding contribution to business and commerce in Scotland.
2012Professor Sir Edwin Mellor Southern KB FRS Hon FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to molecular biology.
2011Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws QCFor their outstanding contribution to human rights and civil liberties, access to education, arts and ethics.
2011Professor Noreen Murray CBE FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to our understanding of bacterial host defence systems and her leading role in the development of gene cloning technology.
2011Professor S Desmond Smith OBE FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to physics research.
2010Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart FRS HonFRSEFor their outstanding contribution to chemistry and particularly in the field of molecular nanotechnology.
2010Dr James MacMillan CBE FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to music in Scotland and beyond through his compositions.
2009Professor Karen Vousden FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to cancer research through her major discoveries in the area of mechanisms of oncogenesis, tumour suppressor genes and cell cycle control.
2009Professor Wilson Sibbett CBE FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contributions to physics in Scotland and public service through his Chairmanship of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee.
2009Professor Sir James Mirrlees FBA HonFRSEFor their outstanding contribution to economic theory which has had a global impact on economic development.
2008Professor Sir David Lane FRS FRSE For their outstanding contribution to cancer research through his discovery of P53 tumor suppressor gene.
2008Professor Roger Fletcher FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to mathematics and software development.
2008Rt Revd Richard Holloway FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Scotland through his public debates on ethics and theology and by promoting, and direct involvement in, public policy issues.
2007Professor Sir David Carter FRSEFor their outstanding contributions to life sciences as a Surgeon, a clinical academic and an outspoken leader in the field both nationally and internationally.
2007Sir Thomas McKillop FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to business and public service in Scotland and internationally, particularly in the fields of biotechnology and finance.
2007Professor John Laver CBE FBA FRSA FRSEFor their outstanding contributions to Humanities and Social Sciences, particularly in the field of phonetics, and his inspired academic leadership.
2006Sir David Jack CBE FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to the pharmaceutical industry and his untiring work and contributions to scientific organisations concerned with drug design and development.
2006Professor Sir John Ball FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contributions to applied mathematics and his public service to the international mathematics community.
2005Professor William Hill OBE FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to life sciences and particularly to the theory of quantitative genetics and its applications to animal breeding.
2005Professor Sir David Edward KCMG QC FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to the legal profession in Scotland and internationally, particularly in the field of European Law.
2004Professor Sir Philip Cohen FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to life sciences. Sir Philip’s discoveries in the role of abnormal protein phosphorylation in major diseases, particularly diabetes, have led to the development of a new scientific investigation and also to the discovery of new therapeutic drugs.
2004Professor Robin Milner FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contributions to software engineering which have changed the face of modern computer science.
2004Professor Sir D Neil McCormick FBA FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to academic life in Scotland and internationally, particularly in the field of legal philosophy.
2003Professor Sir Paul Nurse FRS HonFRSEFor their outstanding contribution to genetics research, in particular its relevance to cancer, in which he has become a leading figure nationally and internationally culminating in the Nobel Prize in 2001.
2003Sir Michael Atiyah OM FRS HonFRSEFor their profound and beneficial effect on the development of mathematics and science in the UK and Europe.
2003Lord MacKay of Clashfern PC KT QC FRSEFor their outstanding contributions to Scots Law and his international reputation both in law and public service.
2002Professor Sir Alfred Cuschieri FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to the practice of medicine by pioneering developments in minimal access surgery. Sir Alfred’s surgical techniques have been adopted world-wide and have greatly reduced the time patients spend in hospital.
2002Professor Sir Alan Peacock FBA FRSEFor their outstanding contributions to Social Science and Public Policy. He has achieved international distinction on a range of fiscal issues where he has enhanced our understanding of key problems in both taxation and public expenditure.
2002Professor John R Mallard OBE FRSEFor their enormous contribution to medical diagnosis. He has pioneered the development of two of the most important diagnostic technologies of the 20th century, namely Nuclear Medicine and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.
2001Professor Sir James Black OM FRS HonFRSEFor their unique contribution to the advancement of Pharmacology and to the discovery of highly effective drugs which have revolutionised the treatment of disease and benefited untold numbers of patients throughout the world.
2001Professor Tom Devine FBA HonMRIA FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to Scottish History, particularly the relations between Scotland and Ireland.
2001Professor A Ian Scott FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contributions to natural product and organic chemistry over the past thirty years. Among his many achievements has been the establishment of the mechanism for the synthesis of the key life pigments chlorophyll and heme.
2000Professor Sir Kenneth Murray FRS FRSEFor their outstanding contribution to the development of Biotechnology, both nationally and internationally, through his development of what is now known as recombinant DNA technology.
2000The Rt. Hon The Lord Perry of Walton OBE FRS FRSEFor their outstanding career in science and education.
2000Professor Peter Higgs FRS FRSEFor their enormous impact on the world of Physics. His work has provided a key to the problem of the origin of mass. Peter Higgs has proposed a mechanism for the generation of mass in relativistic field theories with a local symmetry, namely the Higgs boson. His work has been a crucial step towards a unified theory of the forces of Nature, and his single idea has had a huge impact on Man’s understanding of Nature.