The Bicentenary Medal

Awarded to an early-career scientist, in recognition of excellent research in the natural sciences.

Struck in silver to commemorate the 200th anniversary in 1978 of the death of Linnaeus, the Bicentenary Medal is awarded annually in recognition of work done by a scientist with less than 10 years of research experience since their PhD.

Nominations are now closed. Sign up to our newsletter, Linnean News, for updates on events, grants, awards and news from the Linnean Society of London.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Nominee must have fewer than 10 years of FTE research experience since the award of their PhD. This time period does not need to be continuous - the award is open to nominees who have taken career breaks or extended leave, e.g., parental or long-term sick leave.”

  • Open to any scientist of any nationality, in any field of the natural sciences (e.g. taxonomy, systematics, phylogenetics, evolution, ecology)
  • For their excellent biological research, and contribution to the wider natural history community, e.g. editorial and/or committee/policy work/public engagement)
  • Nominee cannot, at the time of nomination, be a member of Council
  • Nominee does not need to be a Fellow of the Society
  • We do not accept self-nominations
Dr Tanisha Williams
Photo credit: Emily Paine

Dr Tanisha Williams, Bucknell University, Bicentenary Medal 2023

Dr Tanisha Williams' doctoral work studied the response of South African Pelargonium species to climate change, including a substantial portion doing fieldwork abroad and generating an impressive long-term phenological dataset from a century's worth of herbarium collections. She has since won several awards for her work in science and outreach, having expanded plant-related research opportunities for students through her expertise in climate change biology and population genomics, as well as making it more inclusive for those who are otherwise marginalised in its study.

Dr James Rosindell

Dr James Rosindell, Imperial College London, Bicentenary Medal 2022

James Rosidell’s research is best characterised by the introduction of elegantly simple ideas that have substantial impact. He pioneered the ‘protracted speciation’ model that resolved problems with a prominent model of community ecology; recognising that speciation takes time rather than being an instantaneous event. This has now become an established part of macroevolutionary theory. In the face of current debate over the intertwined roles of habit fragmentation and loss, Rosindell’s work proposed elegant ‘effective connectivity’ and ‘effective area’ metrics that characterise future extinctions in a simplified model, laying the foundations for the concept of extinction debt. His work with fractal geometry led him to invent the ‘OneZoom’ tree of life explorer, which makes the complete tree of life accessible as a public good, which had now attracted nearly 1.5 million online users including educators, students and members of the public.

Scott A Taylor

Dr Scott A. Taylor, University of Colorado, Boulder, Bicentenary Medal 2021

Scott Taylor is an evolutionary biologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who uses natural hybrid zones and recent radiations in birds to understand the genetic bases of traits involved in reproductive isolation, population divergence, speciation, and the impacts of anthropogenic change, including climate change, on species distributions, interactions, and evolution. He has a record of highly visible and field-advancing academic research in evolutionary biology using genomics integrated with field biology and natural history. He has established a productive and independent research program focused on avian hybridization and speciation and is recognized as a leader in the field of ornithology—he was awarded the Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award by the American Ornithological Society in 2018, which acknowledges contributions to ornithological research by an early career individual. Dr. Taylor has a demonstrated record of academic achievement in the form of a strong publication record and multiple funded grants from the National Science Foundation and other granting agencies.

He is fascinated by natural history and the intersections between art and science and is committed to doing his part to increase diversity and make the STEM community inclusive and supportive. He was recently recognized for his leadership in DEI with the University of Colorado at Boulder’s 2020 Faculty Excellence and Equity Award.

Dr Taylor is committed to, and has a demonstrated record of, advancing both professional and public understanding of birds and their habitats. His ability to communicate effectively about science and natural history has led to success at public outreach as evidenced by his engagement with events ranging from academic conferences to educational vacations with Cornell's Adult University to public venues including TedXBoulder and Story Collider.

Prof Kayla King

Professor Kayla King, University of Oxford, Bicentenary Medal 2020

Professor King is an evolutionary ecologist who explores the coevolution of species interactions across snails, insects and worms to bacteria and viruses; to across environments from terrestrial to freshwater, sparking a re-think of how species interact in nature over evolutionary time. Her work has made major contributions to our understanding of two areas, namely antagonistic coevolution and diversity (providing some of the best experimental evidence supporting the Red Queen Hypothesis), and mutualistic coevolution and protection.

She has shown that genetic diversity limits disease, fuels coevolution, and can be enhanced by polyploidization and hybridization. Her work suggests a diversity of enemies yield high speciation rates observed in biodiversity hotspots. She found that symbiotic microbes can evolve to be harmful – driving wasp populations to extinction – or be mutualistic – protecting nematode hosts from infectious disease.

Using field work and experimental evolution, she directly challenges the conventional wisdom on infectious disease, showing the potential for rapidly evolving microbial defences. She has observed that parasites can retaliate, boosting their transmissibility, but at a cost to virulence. In her experiments, hosts coevolve to accommodate protective symbionts, in an unprecedented show of the adaptive processes involved in mutualism.

Professor King’s wider contributions are demonstrated by numerous scientific presentations, editorial board positions and her work with organisations such as the Young Academy of Europe to inform science policy on climate change. She is mentor to numerous young women in science, and chairs committees on diversity and inclusiveness.

Dr Steve Portugal, Medal winner 2019
Dr Steve Portugal, Medal winner 2019