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.

History of the prize

President's Medals 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; or 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

Nominations for this award are open from 1 December 2023 to 31 January 2024 and may only be made by Fellows of the British Academy. Entries should be submitted electronically to [email protected].

In the body of the email, clearly state:

  • Name of the prize or medal
  • Name of nominee
  • Nominee’s position/institution and email address
  • Nominee’s principal area of academic distinction
  • Supporting statement (250 words)
  • Nominator’s name and your British Academy section
  • Declaration of any institutional or personal interest

The deadline for submissions is 31 January each year. Nominations will be reviewed, and the winner selected, by the relevant panel.

If you have any queries submitting a nomination, please email [email protected].

2022 winner

View of the Full Fact team from balcony

The Academy has awarded the 2022 President’s Medal to Full Fact in recognition of its work finding, exposing and countering misinformation and misleading claims and to the organisation, rather than any one individual, to highlight the importance of effective teamwork and collaboration. Founded in 2008 by a cross-party group, Full Fact is a team of independent fact checkers and campaigners who seek to safeguard democracy by countering the spread of mis- and disinformation in the public sphere.

“We are thrilled that the Academy has shown such leadership in choosing to give the award to a team for the first time. We think this message from the Academy is timely and important. Full Fact's team has had to respond to all kinds of challenges in the past few years – including UK politics, the pandemic, and the invasion of Ukraine – and risen to them all. This recognition is well timed to celebrate all that.”

- Will Moy, Chief Executive of Full Fact, 2022

Previous winners

2021 David Olusoga, British-Nigerian historian, writer, broadcaster and filmmaker

2020 Margaret Atwood, author, novelist, poet and cultural and environmental activist

2019 Ben Goldacre, clinician, academic and best-selling author

2018 Zeinab Badawi, Journalist and President of the Royal African Society; John Hemming, Author and explorer; Andreas Gestrich; William Dalrymple, Author and Co-Founder of ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival; Dame Frances Cairncross, Chair of the Court, Herriot Watt University

2017 Claudia Hammond, BBC Radio 4; Katie Mitchell; Jimmy Wales, Wikimedia Foundation; Professor James Stevens Curl, University of Ulster; Professor Helga Nowotny, ETH Zurich

2016  Dr Roger Bland, University of Leicester; Dr Leofranc Holford-Strevens, classical scholar and polymath; Dame Hilary Mantel, author;
Professor Sir Stanley Wells CBE, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

2015  Dr Peter V Addyman, formerly York Archaeological Trust and Jorvik Viking Centre; Darren Henley, Arts Council England; Dr Elizabeth Livingstone, theologian; Professor Michael Wood, University of Manchester

2014  Peter Brook, Centre International de Créations Théâtrales; Sir Paul Collier, University of Oxford; Dame Jane Goodall, Jane Goodall Institute; Clive James, author, broadcaster and poet

2013  Ms Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty; Baroness Jean Coussins, House of Lords; Sir Peter Stothard, Editor of the Times Literary SupplementLord Williams of Oystermouth FBA, Magdalene College, Cambridge

2012  Professor Warwick Gould, Institute of English Studies, University of London; The Right Reverend Professor Lord Harries of PentregarthProfessor Lisa Jardine, University College London; Professor Sir John Vickers FBA, University of Oxford

2011  Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director of the Barbican Centre; Dr Gillian Tett, Assistant Editor, Financial Times; Ms Sharon Witherspoon, Deputy Director of the Nuffield Foundation

2010  Dr Sarah Tyacke, Distinguished Research Fellow, School of Advanced Study, University of London; Professor Michael Worton, Vice Provost (Academic and International) and Fielden Professor of French Language and Literature, University College London; Rt Hon Peter Riddell, Institute for Government

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