RSE Sir Walter Scott Medal

The RSE Sir Walter Scott Medal recognises exceptional achievements in arts, humanities and social science by a senior 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.

Senior-career definition: academics who are normally beyond 15 years from the award of their doctorate. This terminology takes no account of either an applicant’s age or current status in determining eligibility for this award. This does not include career breaks.


  • 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


Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet. He was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. Sir Walter Scott was the third President of the RSE from 1820 to 1832. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.


YearName(s)Institution Awarded
2021Professor John Peter RenwickUniversity of EdinburghOne of the world’s leading experts on the French Enlightenment in recognition for the monumental and ground-breaking contribution he made to the 140-volume Complete Works of Voltaire, and his responsibility in the scholarly resurrection of the highly significant figure, Jean-François Marmontel.
2020No award made.
2019Professor Kathryn RudyUniversity of St Andrewsfor their outstanding contribution to art history, where her capacity for lateral thinking has meant she has been able to examine a large corpus of manuscripts in ways unexplored by previous scholars.
2018Professor Duncan Macmillan FRSEUniversity of Edinburghfor their outstanding contribution to the appreciation of Scottish Art and its place within the European Tradition.
2017Professor Robert Bartlett FBA FRSEUniversity of St Andrewsfor their outstanding work as one of the world’s leading historians and his communication to a mass audience through his rigorous, imaginative and highly original research.
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