RSE Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane Medal

The RSE Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane Medal recognises exceptional achievements in physical, engineering & informatic 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

ABOUT Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane

Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane (1773 – 1860) was the fourth President of the RSE and held office for twenty-eight years, from 1832 to 1860. He was a British soldier, colonial Governor and astronomer. Born near Largs in Ayrshire, and educated in astronomy and mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, he joined the British Army and had a distinguished career in Flanders, the West Indies, Spain and North America. He served under the Duke of Wellington and was promoted to Major General. In 1821, on the recommendation of Wellington, Brisbane was appointed Governor of New South Wales, a post he held until 1825. While Governor he tackled the many problems of a rapidly growing and expanding colony. He worked to improve the land grants system and to reform the currency.


YearName(s)Institution Awarded
2022Dr Jonathan FraserUniversity of St AndrewsFor his world-leading research in fractal geometry. Through his work, Dr Fraser has pioneered new directions, attracted global interest, and, solved several long-standing problems in the field. In addition, he has been dedicated to outreach activities across Scotland.
2021Dr Mehul MalikHeriot-Watt UniversityFor his work in pushing the boundaries of our understanding of quantum mechanics and its use in modern technologies such as quantum cryptography and communications. His world-leading contributions to understanding high dimensional entanglement and the development of techniques for quantum communications and cryptography are currently adopted in labs worldwide.
2020No award made
2019Dr Martin LaveryUniversity of GlasgowFor their outstanding contribution to photonics, working on a diverse range of ongoing experiments including free-space optical communications and underwater optical communications.
2018Dr Kimberley KavanaghUniversity of StrathclydeFor their outstanding, internationally renowned research in public health epidemiology and health informatics.
2017Dr Stephen BrusatteUniversity of EdinburghFor their outstanding research work in the field of palaeontology and particularly his work on preserving Scotland’s fossil heritage and the impact that is having through his huge public engagement portfolio.
2016Dr Malcolm MacdonaldUniversity of StrathclydeFor their outstanding research work in the development and application of space mission systems to challenge conventional ideas and advance new concepts in the exploration and exploitation of space. Dr Macdonald is a member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland.
2015Dr Stefan HildUniversity of GlasgowFor their outstanding research work in physics and his international profile in this field. Dr Hild is a member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland.