The Linnean Medal

Awarded to scientists for their contribution to the natural sciences.

Awarded annually by Council alternately to a scientist (in any field), as an expression of the Society's esteem and appreciation for service to science. Any biologist, irrespective of nationality, who is not at the time a member of Council, is eligible to receive the Medal, which is presented at the annual Anniversary Meeting by the President, who specifies the grounds on which the medal has been awarded.

Nominations are now open. Please send your completed form to by 30 September 2024.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Open to any scientist, of any nationality or age, in any field of academic research relating to the natural sciences (e.g., taxonomy, systematics, phylogenetics, evolution, ecology)
  • For their significant contribution to the science of natural history (and to the wider natural sciences community)
  • 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

The Linnean Medal was instituted in May 1888 in connection with the Centenary of the Society that year. The medal was gold up to 1976 and therefore sometimes was referred to as the Linnean Gold Medal. Since 1976 the medal has been made of an alloy and is different from the Linnean Gold Medal currently awarded for services to the Society.

Nominations should be submitted by completing the downloadable form and sending to by 30 September.

Linnean Medal Recipient 2024

Professor Paul Upchurch standing in front of a dinosaur skeleton
Credit: UCL

Professor Paul Upchurch, Linnean Medal 2024

Professor Paul Upchurch has made an outstanding contribution to the fields of palaeobiology, systematics and phylogenetics. He is globally renowned for transforming our understanding of the taxonomy and phylogenetic relationships of sauropod dinosaurs, having been the first to tackle the subject in the early 1990s. He has also made important phylogenetic and taxonomic contributions to other dinosaurian and tetrapod groups, contributing to numerous studies of diversity patterns in the fossil record. As a scientist with a severe visual impairment, Paul (a member of the Royal Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and chair of its disability subcommittee) has brought a strong voice to promoting diversity in science, particularly disabilities.

Previous Recipients of the Linnean Medal*

  • Professor Sandra Díaz (2023)
  • Rohan Pethiyagoda (Zoology, 2022)
  • Professor Sebsebe Demissew (Botany, 2022)
  • Dr Mary Jane West-Eberhard (Zoology, 2021)
  • Dr Shahina Ghazanfar (Botany, 2021)
  • Professor Ben Sheldon (Zoology, 2020)
  • Professor Juliet Brodie (Botany, 2020)
  • Professor Samuel Turvey (Zoology, 2019)
  • Dr Vicki Funk (Botany, 2019)

* Until 2022, the Linnean Medal was awarded in Botany and Zoology each year. As of 2023, only one medal is awarded covering all fields of natural science.