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The British Academy President's Medal

The President’s Medals are awarded annually, designed to recognise outstanding service to the cause of the humanities and social sciences, and are awarded for academic-related activity rather than academic achievement alone.

Service may be to one or more disciplines, but preference may be given to breadth of service. The Medals were first awarded in 2010.


There is no defined limit on what may qualify as outstanding service. Examples could include accurate and insightful journalism contributing to public understanding; meritorious use of research-based advice within the policymaking process; public leadership concerning the value and interests of research in humanities and social science; creative forms of support for humanities and social science within an institutional context; providing or securing resource to invest in research in these disciplines. Recipients of the medal may be anyone (likely to be UK-based, but overseas candidates are not excluded) who has done or achieved something suitably meritorious, either recently or over a longer period, which the Academy sees fit to recognise and reward. Recipients cannot be Fellows of the British Academy but could be individuals (academics, members of the media or business worlds, or policymakers) or organisations (universities, corporations, charities). 

How to nominate

The President of the British Academy will initiate and invite suggestions separately via Section Chairs and Committees, and then will formally make nominations to be considered by the Communications and Engagement Committee. If you have a suggestion, please make it via your Section Chair until Monday 17 February 2020.

For more information, please contact

2019 Winner 
Dr Ben Goldacre

 Dr Ben GoldacreDr Ben Goldacre is a clinician, academic, campaigner and best-selling author. He wrote the ‘Bad Science’ column in the Guardian for a decade, fighting the misuse of science by everyone from politicians to journalists and researchers; his books have sold over 600,000 copies in 30 languages.

He co-founded the AllTrials campaign for transparency around clinical research, and has worked on better use of data and evidence with the Cabinet Office, Department of Health, Department for Education and the Ministry of Justice. He currently runs the DataLab at the University of Oxford.

"This is very kind. It’s sad to say that the work I do with colleagues – evaluating and generating evidence – can sometimes be very unpopular. So for this medal, and the very fact that your medals exist, many thanks: I feel grateful, and ever more motivated!” - Dr Ben Goldacre, July 2019

Previous Winners

2018  Zeinab Badawi, Journalist and President of the Royal African Society 

2018  John Hemming, Author and explorer

2018  Andreas Gestrich 

2018  William Dalrymple, Author and Co-Founder of ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival

2018  Dame Frances Cairncross, Chair of the Court, Herriot Watt University

2017  Claudia Hammond, BBC Radio 4

2017  Katie Mitchell

2017  Jimmy Wales, Wikimedia Foundation

2017  Professor James Stevens Curl, University of Ulster

2017  Professor Helga Nowotny, ETH Zurich

2016  Dr Roger Bland, University of Leicester

2016  Dr Leofranc Holford-Strevens, classical scholar and polymath

2016  Dame Hilary Mantel, auhthor 

2016  Professor Sir Stanley Wells CBE, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

2015  Dr Peter V Addyman, formerly York Archaeological Trust and Jorvik Viking Centre

2015  Darren Henley, Arts Council England

2015  Dr Elizabeth Livingstone, theologian

2015  Professor Michael Wood, University of Manchester

2014  Peter Brook, Centre International de Créations Théâtrales

2014  Sir Paul Collier, University of Oxford

2014  Dame Jane Goodall, Jane Goodall Institute

2014  Clive James, author, broadcaster and poet

2013  Ms Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty

2013  Baroness Jean Coussins, House of Lords

2013  Sir Peter Stothard, Editor of the Times Literary Supplement 

2013  Lord Williams of Oystermouth FBA, Magdalene College, Cambridge

2012  Professor Warwick Gould, Institute of English Studies, University of London

2012  The Right Reverend Professor Lord Harries of Pentregarth

2012  Professor Lisa Jardine, University College London

2012  Professor Sir John Vickers FBA, University of Oxford

2011  Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director of the Barbican Centre

2011  Dr Gillian Tett, Assistant Editor, Financial Times

2011  Ms Sharon Witherspoon, Deputy Director of the Nuffield Foundation

2010  Dr Sarah Tyacke, Distinguished Research Fellow, School of Advanced Study, University of London

2010  Professor Michael Worton, Vice Provost (Academic and International) and Fielden Professor of French Language and Literature, University College London

2010  Rt Hon Peter Riddell, Institute for Government