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Awards, Medals and Prizes

The Society presents several awards, medals and prizes as part of its remit to support and encourage scientists working in the fields of astronomy and geophysics. Some are aimed at young scientists, while others recognise many years of dedicated service to our sciences. Here you can find details of the various honours, lists of previous winners, and nomination forms. More

 

Fellowships

The Society supports a number of Fellowships, including the Sir Norman Lockyer Fellowship (to enable an outstanding research worker to conduct a self-directed programme of research in any astronomical topic), RAS Research Fellowships (to provide support for early career research astronomers and geophysicists) and Daphne Jackson Fellowships (from The Daphne Jackson Trust, flexible, part-time fellowships to assist talented scientists into a career following a break of at least two years). More

 

Grants for Studies in Astronomy and Geophysics

The RAS awards grants in support of studies in astronomy and geophysics. Applications are assessed on a competitive basis, and successful proposals receive awards drawn from the Society's Research and Grants Funds. Here you can find details of the various grants available, previous grants awarded, and application forms. More

Legacies

david southwood ma smallMuch of the Society's activities – particularly awards and grants – are only possible thanks to legacy donations from Fellows. Here you'll find an invitation to help the Society from the President, Professor David Southwood, plus details of how you can amend your will. More

  • Awards, Medals and Prizes

    The Society bestows several honours, in the form of Medals, Prizes, Honorary Fellowships and Lectureships. See below for the lists of Awards in Astronomy, Awards in Geophysics and Awards in Instrumentation; records of previous Award winners are also available.

     

    How to nominate for an Award

    Anyone can make an Award nomination. With the exception of Thesis Prizes, it is not necessary to be a Fellow of the Society. When making a nomination, please include all information requested, and address the criteria of the Award in your nomination statement. All nominations are made in strict confidence; nominees should not be informed of submissions in order to avoid unnecessary disappointment.

     

    Nominations should use the forms links below and be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . If you submit your nomination in PDF format, please do not lock this file.

     

    Closing dates:

    Astronomy and Geophysics Thesis Prizes: 31 January for theses submitted the previous year

    Undergraduate and Thesis Prizes in Instrumentation: 31 May (note that this may be revised in 2014)

    Patrick Moore Medal: Last Friday in September for the following year's award

    All other awards: 31 July for the next year's awards

     

    How Awards are made

    The Council sets up from among the Fellows two Awards Committees to advise on the merits of candidates nominated for Awards. The recommendations of the Awards Committees are then presented to Council for their approval.

     

    In some cases, where nominees are felt to be very deserving candidates but nevertheless miss out on an award, the nominations may be rolled over to the next awards round, for a maximum of three rounds. If a nomination rolls over, the person who made the nomination will be informed. They will be asked to refresh the nomination material for the next round if appropriate, which is particularly important in the case of early-career awards.

     

    The Awards Committees make their decisions on recommendations in strict confidence, and therefore it is inappropriate to provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates.

     

    The remit of the 'A' Awards Committee is astronomy and astrophysics, broadly defined, and including cosmology, astroparticle physics, astrobiology and astrochemistry.


    The remit of the 'G' Awards Committee is geophysics, solar physics, solar-terrestrial physics, and planetary and meteoritic sciences.

     

    Exceptionally, the Patrick Moore Medal is considered by a different panel chosen from Fellows with a particular interest in and connection to education.

     

    Queries should be addressed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

     


    Astronomy Awards


    The Gold Medal (A)

    The Society's highest honour. More information and to nominate


    The Eddington Medal

    Awarded for single investigations of outstanding merit in theoretical astrophysics. More information and to nominate


    The Herschel Medal

    Awarded for single investigations of outstanding merit in observational astrophysics. More information and to nominate


    The Jackson-Gwilt Medal

    Awarded for single investigations of outstanding merit in either:

      • History of astronomy (one year in five)
      • Invention, improvement, or development of astronomical instrumentation or techniques or for achievement in observational astronomy (four years in five)

    More information and to nominate

     

    The Patrick Moore Medal

    Awarded annually, for a particularly noteworthy contribution to teaching astronomy or geophysics at secondary level. More information and to nominate


    The Fowler Award (A)

    Awarded to individuals who have made a particularly noteworthy contribution to astronomy or geophysics at an early stage of their research career. In nomal circumstances, nominees should be within 10 years (excluding long or short career breaks) of passing their viva. More information and to nominate


    The Winton Capital Award (A)

    Funded  by the Winton Capital Investment House in recognition of the skills provided to the financial services sector by trained astronomers and geophysicists, the Winton Capital awards are for research by a Post Doctoral Fellow in a UK institution in astronomy or geophysics whose career has shown the most promising development. In nomal circumstances, nominees should be within 5 years (excluding long or short career breaks) of passing their viva. More information and to nominate


    The Group Award (A)

    Awarded for outstanding achievement by large consortia. More information and to nominate

     

    The Service Award (A)

    Awarded to individuals who, through outstanding or exceptional work, have promoted, facilitated or encouraged the science of astronomy and developed their role in the life of the nation but whose achievement does not fall within the criteria of the Society's other awards. More information and to nominate


    George Darwin Lectureship
    A lecture given annually by a distinguished speaker on a suitable topic in astronomy. More information and to nominate


    Gerald Whitrow Lectureship
    A lecture given every two years by a distinguished speaker on a topic in cosmology, usually with particular reference to philosophical apects. More information and to nominate


    Honorary Fellowships (A)
    Honorary Fellowships may be awarded to any foreign national based overseas, eminent in the fields of astronomy or geophysics, providing they are not already a Fellow of the Society. Honorary Fellowship is typically awarded for distinguished leadership of a school, observatory, or laboratory; outstanding services to national or international scientific organizations; exceptionally important work in editing scientific publications; influential work in education and public outreach; or outstanding work in the history of these sciences. More information and to nominate


    Michael Penston Thesis Prize
    Awarded annually for the best doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics. More information and to nominate


    National Honours
    Anyone can nominate a candidate for a National Honour to the Ceremonial Secretariat at the Cabinet Office. However, in appropriate cases the RAS will be prepared to add its weight to a candidature by making the nomination in the name of the Society. It will do this where the proposed candidate is pre-eminent in his or her field of astronomy or geophysics through research, teaching or service to the scientific community. More information



    Geophysics Awards


    The Gold Medal (G)

    The Society's highest honour. More information and to nominate


    The Chapman Medal

    Awarded for single investigations of outstanding merit in solar-terrestrial physics including geomagnetism and aeronomy. More information and to nominate


    The Price Medal

    Awarded for single investigations of outstanding merit in solid-earth geophysics, oceanography, or planetary sciences. More information and to nominate


    The Patrick Moore Medal

    Available for award annually, for a particularly noteworthy contribution to teaching astronomy or geophysics at secondary level. More information and to nominate


    The Fowler Award (G)

    Awarded to individuals who have made a particularly noteworthy contribution to astronomy or geophysics at an early stage of their research career. In nomal circumstances, nominees should be within 10 years (excluding long or short career breaks) of passing their viva. More information and to nominate


    The Winton Capital Award (G)

    Funded  by the Winton Capital Investment House in recognition of the skills provided to the financial services sector by trained astronomers and geophysicists, the Winton Capital awards are for research by a Post Doctoral Fellow in a UK institution in astronomy or geophysics whose career has shown the most promising development. In nomal circumstances, nominees should be within 5 years (excluding long or short career breaks) of passing their viva. More information and to nominate


    The Group Award (G)

    Awarded for outstanding achievement by large consortia. More information and to nominate


    The Service Award (G)

    Awarded to individuals who, through outstanding or exceptional work, have promoted, facilitated or encouraged the science of geophysics and developed their role in the life of the nation but whose achievement does not fall within the criteria of the Society's other awards. More information and to nominate


    Harold Jeffreys Lectureship
    A lecture given annually by a distinguished speaker on a suitable topic in geophysics, covering topics concerning the interior structure, formation and composition of the Earth and/or planets. More information and to nominate


    James Dungey Lectureship
    A lecture given annually by a distinguished speaker on a suitable topic in geophysics, covering topics concerning the science of the Sun, solar environment, planetary environments or solar-terrestrial science. More information and to nominate


    Honorary Fellowships (G)
    Honorary Fellowships may be awarded to any foreign national based overseas, eminent in the fields of astronomy or geophysics, providing they are not already a Fellow of the Society. Honorary Fellowship is typically awarded for distinguished leadership of a school, observatory, or laboratory; outstanding services to national or international scientific organizations; exceptionally important work in editing scientific publications; influential work in education and public outreach; or outstanding work in the history of these sciences. More information and to nominate


    Keith Runcorn Thesis Prize
    Awarded annually for the best doctoral thesis in geophysics, including exploration geophysics, physics of the Earth's atmosphere, ionosphere or magnetosphere, planetary physics, solar physics and solid-Earth geophysics. More information and to nominate


    National Honours
    Anyone can nominate a candidate for a National Honour to the Ceremonial Secretariat at the Cabinet Office. However, in appropriate cases the RAS will be prepared to add its weight to a candidature by making the nomination in the name of the Society. It will do this where the proposed candidate is pre-eminent in his or her field of astronomy or geophysics through research, teaching or service to the scientific community. More information


     

     


    Instrumentation Awards

     

    The Jackson-Gwilt Medal

     

    Awarded for single investigations of outstanding merit in either:

      • History of astronomy (one year in five)
      • Invention, improvement, or development of astronomical instrumentation or techniques or for achievement in observational astronomy (four years in five)

    More information and to nominate


    Patricia Tomkins Thesis Prize
    Awarded annually for the best doctoral thesis in instrumentation science for astronomy or geophysics. More information and to nominate


    Patricia Tomkins Undergraduate Prize
    Awarded for excellent laboratory work on instrumentation undertaken as part of a course related to astronomy or geophysics. More information and to nominate

     


     

      J Silk

    Prof. J. Silk being presented with the Gold Medal ('A') at the National Astronomy Meeting in Belfast on 3 April 2008 by the President, Prof. Michael Rowan-Robinson.

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  • Grants for Studies

    The RAS awards grants in support of studies in astronomy and geophysics. Applications are assessed on a competitive basis, and successful proposals receive awards drawn from the Society's Research and Grants Funds supported by the generosity of our benefactors.

     

    Applications are assessed twice a year; the deadlines for these grants rounds are 15 February and 15 August. Applications received by these deadlines will be reviewed shortly afterwards, and awards announced within two months. If you require a decision before 15 October, you should apply by 15 February, and if you require a decision before 15 April you should apply by 15 August the previous year. Only in exceptional circumstances will applications be considered outside this deadline.

     

    In addition, the RAS:

    Many of the Society's grants are only available thanks to legacies. You may wish to make your own legacy to support the Society's work.

     
    How to apply for a grant from the Research and Grants Fund

     

    Please see Applying for a grant for the application form and detailed instructions.

     

    Benefactors

     

    The Society's Research and Grants Funds are indebted to the following generous benefactors:

    • The C. A. G. Bearpark Trust
    • Mrs Jelley's Bequest
    • The E. W. Brown Trust
    • The Plummer Bequest
    • The A. G. Stillhammer Trust
    • The Victor Nadarov Fund
    • The William McCrea Fund
    • The Hosie Bequest
    • The Patricia Tomkins Foundation

     


     

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  • Fellowships

    The Society supports a number of Fellowships.

     

    Sir Norman Lockyer Fellowship

    This postdoctoral Fellowship, tenable in the UK, provides support for 3 years  to enable an outstanding research worker to conduct a self-directed programme of research in any astronomical topic (including Solar System Science and Planetary Science). The Sir Norman Lockyer Fellowship is open to those who hold a doctorate from a recognized institution of higher education at the time of taking up the award. Fellows will normally be 30 years of age or younger on 1 October of the year of appointment. Applications for Fellowships starting in 2014 are due by 18 October 2013.

     

    RAS Research Fellowships

    These postdoctoral Fellowships, tenable in the UK, provide support for up to 3 years for early career research astronomers and geophysicists. Applications are restricted to candidates who have a recognized PhD (or equivalent) otained no more than 5 years previous to 1 October of the year of appointment or who will have taken their viva by the application deadline and expect to be awarded a PhD by 1 October of the year of appointment. Applications for Fellowships starting in 2014 are due by 18 October 2013.

     

    Royal Astronomical Society Daphne Jackson Fellowship (RASDJF)

    The Daphne Jackson Trust offers flexible, part-time, paid Fellowships, normally for two years, to assist talented scientists into a career following a break of at least two years. Fellows undertake a challenging research project and a retraining programme. Candidates in astronomy and geophysics eligible for the RASDJF should apply via the Trust at http://www.daphnejackson.org/ .

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