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Awards and recognition

The MRC is proud to present a series of awards to recognise the exceptional and high-quality research being carried out by MRC scientists. The MRC holds two annual competitions for MRC-funded researchers, including the prestigious Millennium Medal presented to mid- to senior-level researchers, as well as the Max Perutz Science Writing Award for PhD Students. Many of our researchers have also been recognised by prestigious external awards, such as the Nobel Prize.

MRC Millennium Medal 2020 logo

MRC Millennium Medal

This year, we are delighted to announce the 20th Anniversary of the Millennium Medal, the MRC’s most prestigious personal award presented annually to an exceptional scientist who has made a major contribution towards the MRC’s mission to improve health, quality of life and wealth creation.

We are inviting nominations for outstanding scientists that have currently or previously received MRC funding for their research. The winner will receive a prestigious medal that is specially created by The Royal Mint and will be listed amongst the most highly influential and impactful researchers in the UK. The recipient will deliver a lecture and be presented with the medal at an awards ceremony, the last one being held at the House of Commons and presented to Professor Janet Darbyshire in 2018. A full list of previous winners is below.

The competition will be open for nominations from 24 August 2020 for 6 weeks and will close on 2 October 2020 at 17:00. The MRC’s Strategy Board will review the nominations and recommend a winner to MRC Council to be announced in January 2021. The winner will be presented with the medal at a dedicated award’s ceremony in Spring 2021.

Eligibility

Higher education institutions (HEIs) and independent research organisations (IROs) are invited to submit nominations for individuals meeting the below criteria. Nominations must be endorsed by a member of the institution’s senior management team (e.g. the Vice Provost, Vice Principal or Pro-Vice Chancellor for Health or Research, or the Director for IROs). Each organisation may submit nominations for current or former employees.

  • An individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the MRC mission to improve health, quality of life and wealth creation.
  • Any individual whose work is, or has in the past been, supported by the MRC. This could be through grant funding or based within an MRC Centre, Unit or Institute. MRC funding should have provided a significant contributing factor to the research for which they are nominated.
  • The nomination may be for basic, clinical or applied research, or any combination of these, that has made an outstanding contribution to the MRC mission to improve health.
  • Nominees should demonstrate scientific excellence and have international recognition in their field. They may be mid-career or more senior researchers.
  • The nomination may be made for contemporary work that shows clear potential to revolutionise the field, or for work that has already had a major impact. A wide variety of research outputs and impacts will be considered, including the development of resources such as datasets and reagents and influence on policy and practice.
  • Nominations are particularly encouraged for those who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the research environment, for example through supporting change in research culture or championing research integrity; or developing the research base, for example through training or fostering collaborations.
  • The MRC is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and welcomes nominations from all. Nominations for women, those with a disability and members of minority ethnic groups, who are currently under-represented in some sectors of the research and innovation community, are therefore especially encouraged.
  • The award may be made to someone whose scientific achievements have already been well recognised in other ways, or to someone whose work or support for the research community has not gained the attention it merits outside their immediate research community.

Nomination Process

HEIs and IROs should submit a nomination form (DOCX, 380KB) which has been endorsed by a member of the institution’s senior management team (e.g. the Vice Provost, Vice Principal or Pro-Vice Chancellor for Health or Research, or the Director for IROs) to medal@mrc.ukri.org detailing the following information:

  • a citation detailing the research for which they are nominated, including the impact of this and other relevant activity such as contributions to capacity building and research culture.
  • the nature of their MRC funding and how this contributed to the achievements for which they are nominated.
  • A short (2 page) CV.
  • List of up to ten top research achievements which can include research publications, preprints, training delivered, contribution to consortia, sharing of key datasets and novel assays and reagents, with a short narrative (max 50 words per entry) explaining each achievement’s significance.

The nomination form should be submitted as a PDF format. If you have any questions, then please email medal@mrc.ukri.org.

Past Winners

Since its launch over 20 years ago, the MRC Millennium Medal has been presented to eight truly outstanding individuals, spanning the full breath of medical research and innovation. Several of these researchers have also gone on to receive a Nobel Prize for scientific excellence in their field.  

Timeline of the past MRC Millennium Medal winners between 2000-2017

Timeline of the past MRC Millennium Medal winners between 2000 – 2017:

  • 2000: Dr César Milstein - Pioneered work on monoclonal antibodies
  • 2002: Professor Tom Meade - Contribution to UK health, particularly in cardiovascular disease
  • 2004: Sir Peter Mansfield - Development of MRI imaging
  • 2006: Professor Sir Edwin Southern - Invention of the Southern Blotting technique and DNA microarray technology
  • 2013: Professor Sir Philip Cohen - Outstanding collaborative work with the pharmaceutical industry
    2013: Professor Sir Gregory Winter - Development of humanised monoclonal antibodies
  • 2015: Professor Sir Brian Greenwood - Reinventing field research in tropical medicine
  • 2017: Professor Janet Darbyshire - Transformative work on clinical trials, resulting in major advances in diseases including tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS, and cancer

Max Perutz Science Writing Award

The Max Perutz Science Writing Award aims to support the career development of our current MRC PhD students, helping them build their skills to become tomorrow’s leaders in discovery science. It also aims to encourage and recognise outstanding written communication. More information about the Max Perutz Science Writing Award.

Nobel Prize Winners

Since the MRC was set up in 1913, 24 Nobel prizes have been awarded to MRC-supported scientists, shared among 33 individuals. Our prize winners have been spread across the Nobel categories of Physiology or Medicine and Chemistry. The links on the right-hand side of the page give more information about each of our Nobel Prize winners.