The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy, announces nine recipients of its esteemed medals, which recognise exceptional contribution and achievement across all academic disciplines.
Professor Sir John Ball, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
The RSE’s prestigious medals, which are nominated by RSE Fellows, are awarded to recognise truly outstanding accomplishments. Representing a range of fields, this year’s medallists join a remarkable group of pioneers whose work advances our knowledge and helps to improve lives all over the world. Their achievements highlight the depth and breadth of the UK’s research talent. I congratulate them all.”
This year’s medallists have been awarded under the revised RSE Medal programme, which has seen the creation of new medals to honour eminent women and their significant input to the sciences, arts, and letters in Scotland. High attainment in earth and environmental sciences, and teamwork and collaborative endeavour–previously unrepresented sectors–is also recognised in the newly created medals.
The 2023 RSE medallists are:
RSE Dame Anne McLaren Medal
Dr Mattie Pawlowic
Principal Investigator, Lecturer, Sir Henry Dale Fellow, University of Dundee
The RSE Dame Anne McLaren Medal is awarded to Dr Mattie Pawlowic, Principal Investigator, Lecturer, Sir Henry Dale Fellow, University of Dundee, for her commitment to teaching, training and research aimed at tacking cryptosporidiosis, an emerging disease with largely unexplored biology in need of investment in drug discovery. Her efforts in combating the disease are set to deliver new interventions against cryptosporidiosis.
Dr Mattie Pawlowic said, “I am really honoured to receive this medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, named for such a pioneering woman in science, Dame Anne McLaren. Scotland is home to world-leading science, and I’m proud to be a part of it at the University of Dundee.”
RSE JAMES HUTTON MEDAL
Professor Jenni Barclay
Professor of Volcanology, University of East Anglia
A RSE James Hutton Medal is awarded to Professor Jenni Barclay, Professor of Volcanology, University of East Anglia, who has made outstanding contributions to the emerging field of social volcanology and in engaging with communities in Ecuador, Colombia and the Caribbean to reduce risks. Her work has set new agendas and standards in understanding and mitigating volcanic risk, which has produced exemplars for working with affected communities around themes of risk and resilience.
Professor Jenni Barclay said, “Wow! I am absolutely delighted and grateful to receive the RSE James Hutton Medal named after such a remarkable pioneer in understanding our environment, especially geology. Hutton was a polymath and learned with and from many colleagues and friends along the way. I’m excited to receive this medal for following in that tradition!”
RSE JAMES HUTTON MEDAL
Professor Lorna Dawson CBE, FRSE
Head of the Soil Forensics Group, James Hutton Institute
Another RSE James Hutton Medal is awarded to Professor Lorna Dawson, Head of the Soil Forensics Group, James Hutton Institute, who has made exceptional achievements both academically and in public engagement within soil and environmental science. In the field of the science and application of soil forensics, Professor Dawson is a recognised international expert for her academic achievements, demonstrated by her work with police forces across the world and with the National Crime Agency.
Professor Lorna Dawson said, “I am honoured to be a recipient of the RSE James Hutton Medal. It is particularly poignant that I work at the institute in Scotland that bears his name–the James Hutton Institute–a world leading environmental institution. I have been privileged to work with wonderful colleagues over the years across Scottish Institutes, Universities, and in particular, Robert Gordon University, where I am a visiting professor in forensic science, and with colleagues from a broad spectrum of agencies and security services, including Police Scotland, COPFS and the National Crime Agency.
The RSE is a prestigious institution, and it is an honour to receive this award from them. I have many colleagues both at home and abroad to thank for their invaluable contribution to this success–and my family for unconditional support. It is those people and recognitions such as this award that motivates me to continue to support the criminal justice system and champion the earth sciences, including soil, agriculture, and the environment. It is such an exciting time where advances in science such as in the earth and environmental sciences can truly contribute to society, justice, security, and the wellbeing of our planet. The importance of making science useful and communicating those messages effectively with society has always been important to me, and I will continue to pursue new ways of communication and engagement, providing evidence from the earth, to hopefully pursue the legacy of James Hutton.”
RSE Lady Margaret Moir Medal
Dr Emily Draper, YAS Member
Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, University of Glasgow
The RSE Lady Margaret Moir Medal is awarded to Dr Emily Draper, Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow, for her highly innovative research concerning the development of an understanding of self-assembly phenomena as applied to organic electronics and small angle neutron scattering (SANS). Dr Draper has also undertaken a considerable amount of work within the supramolecular Chemistry community concerning equality, diversity, inclusion and accessibility of marginalised chemists.
Dr Emily Draper said, “I am delighted to have received the RSE Lady Margaret Moir Medal. Lady Moir was an inspirational woman so to have my work recognised with a medal in her name is a real honour.”
RSE Lord Kelvin Medal
Professor Sharon Ashbrook FRSE
Deputy Head of School, School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews
The RSE Lord Kelvin Medal is awarded to Professor Sharon Ashbrook, Deputy Head of School, School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews, for her pioneering work using solid-state NMR spectroscopy to understand the local structure, disorder and chemical reactivity in inorganic materials. She is one of the world leaders in the emerging field of NMR crystallography. In addition to her scientific excellence, Ashbrook is also committed to extraordinary service to the community.
Professor Sharon Ashbrook said, “I am delighted and honoured to receive this medal, and very pleased that our work on NMR spectroscopy and NMR crystallography has been recognised in this way. This award also recognises the hard work of all the PhD students, postdocs and undergraduate students I have worked with over the last few years, as well as the great collaborators I have been fortunate enough to work alongside.”
RSE Rosemary Hutton Medal
Dr Lara Kalnins
Royal Society of Edinburgh Independent Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh
The RSE Rosemary Hutton Medal is awarded to Dr Lara Kalnins, Royal Society of Edinburgh Independent Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh, for her work in addressing fundamental geodynamic problems by combining new data, analysis and modelling, forging collaborations with colleagues in many different fields, bringing extraordinary depth and insight to her investigations. She has also co-authored many publications with her research students, demonstrating real support to young academics.
Dr Kalnins said, “I am honoured and delighted to receive the RSE Rosemary Hutton Medal. I am particularly grateful for this recognition of the potential and power of the integrative style of research that I do. It can sometimes feel like I am connecting other people’s work, rather than doing my own, so this award is a very timely reminder that working through those connections is also research. My thanks as well to all my collaborators and students–as always, science is a team effort, and I could not have done my part without theirs.”
RSE Sir Walter Scott Medal
Professor Richard Bradley FSA, HonFSAScot, FBA
Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, University of Reading
The RSE Sir Walter Scott Medal is awarded to Professor Richard Bradley, Professor Emeritus of Archaeology, University of Reading, for his outstanding and sustained contribution to Scottish prehistoric archaeology through his fieldwork, service to scholarship and paradigm-changing publications. By integrating Scottish prehistory into broader narratives of British, Irish, and Continental European prehistory, he has drawn international attention to Scottish prehistory. His support for early-career researchers has also ensured that the next generation of archaeologists thrives.
Professor Richard Bradley said, “I have been undertaking fieldwork in Scotland for almost thirty years and intend to continue doing so. I am delighted that through this RSE Sir Walter Scott Medal, the value of this work is being acknowledged.”
RSE MARY SOMERVILLE MEDAL
EAVE II Team
A RSE Mary Somerville Medal is awarded to the EAVE II Team, who has generated scientific analyses and insights that have supported evidence-informed policy and public health response throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Comprising of public health experts, academics, data scientists and public members across Scotland, the interdisciplinary team developed a real-time surveillance platform to monitor and forecast the evolving pandemic in Scotland.
Dr Victoria Hammersley, University of Edinburgh, EAVE II Project Manager said, “It has been an absolute privilege to work with wonderful colleagues from across Scotland and beyond to contribute to the fight against the pandemic. The way in which our highly interdisciplinary EAVE II team, including professional services staff, public health experts, academics and members of the public, came together in the national interest was both humbling and inspiring. Our EAVE II team enabled Scotland to make vitally important contributions to the pandemic that now allow us collectively to begin to consider a post-pandemic future. I feel very proud to have had the opportunity to work behind the scenes and contribute to this major pan-Scotland effort.”
RSE MARY SOMERVILLE MEDAL
Another RSE Mary Somerville Medal is awarded to the PeaceRep Team, who is represented by Scottish researchers and international collaborators conducting research, policy and impact work on peace and conflict studies at both the local and the global scales. The team has played a pivotal role in networking peace and conflict organisations across Scotland and Northern England, and in supporting the establishment of digital peace processes, including in Yemen.
Professor Christine Bell FBA FRSE, University of Edinburgh, PeaceRep Executive Director; Principal Investigator said, “At a time when the world seems perilously engaged in war, this medal affirms the importance of continual peace-making in dark and dangerous moments. Our team at the University of Edinburgh–many of whom started their careers with this project–has been privileged to work as part of a wider team of groups in Scotland, but also including local peacebuilders in contexts as varied as Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Iraq and Yemen. The award of the medal will encourage us, and we hope others, to continue to explore how new technologies can be used to harness innovation in research and practice. We are honoured to accept it, and in turn pay our tribute to those we work with who are struggling to address the violent conflicts in which they live.”