Written by Alan Barker: writer, coach, training consultant and academic proofreader. Find out more about his work here.

Notable past winners include Richard Wiseman (2002), Professor Brian Cox (2006), and Maggie Aderin-Pocock. You could be among the next. Alan Barker fills in the details.

The lectures sit centre stage at the British Science Festival, which lights up a different city each year to promote an open and informed public conversation about science. In September 2018, the festival heads to Hull.

As an Award Lecturer, you’ll have the chance to promote your research to a wide audience. You’ll enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to the whole festival, a £250 honorarium and an invitation to the festival dinner. You’ll also be offered the prospect of presenting your lecture at other science festivals around the UK. The networking and media opportunities are no less inviting.

I’ve worked with Award Lecturers since 2015. Together, we attend the festival launch in London in mid-June, and work for a day and a half exploring our material, sharing ideas, and developing lecture plans. This initial get-together is a chance to meet your fellow lecturers and the festival team, who are there to support you all the way.

(This post gives you an idea of the approach we take.)

To get an idea of what it's like to be an Award Lecturer, check out posts by Hazel Gibson (2015) and Rob Malkin (2016) on the BSA blog.

So: you’re interested. Questions?

How do I apply?

You can find the nomination form here.

How many lectures are there?

There are seven Award Lectures.

  • Margaret Mead - social sciences
  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel - engineering, technology and industry 
  • Charles Lyell - environmental sciences
  • Charles Darwin - agricultural, biological and medical sciences
  • Rosalind Franklin - physical sciences and mathematics
  • Daphne Oram - digital innovation
  • Jacob Bronowski - science and the arts

What if I’m not certain which category to apply for? 

The same panel reviews all nominations, so if they feel that your lecture might sit better in another category, they’ll simply transfer it. The panel views interdisciplinary work very favourably: they understand that many researchers are working in areas that might fit into more than one category.

Who nominates me?

Choose someone who knows your work well: an academic supervisor or a public engagement officer at your institution. And no, you can’t nominate yourself.

If you have more questions, take a look at the Award Lecture FAQs.

If you do submit a nomination, the BSA will be in touch with a decision by April. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Anna Woolman at the BSA.

See the full list of Award Lectures since 1990.  And if you’d like a taste of recent lectures, take a look at these posts from the BSA website.

Charles Darwin Award: agricultural, biological and medical sciences

2016: Carolyn McGettigan

2017: Pankaj Chandak // Interview


Jacob Bronowski Award: science and the arts

2015: Julie Wertz

2016: Daisy Fancourt // Article

2017: Emily Cross // Interview


Charles Lyell Award: environmental sciences

2015: Hazel Gibson

2016: Tamsin Edwards

2017: Rebecca Williams // Interview


Margaret Mead Award: social sciences

2016: Sarah Bate

2017: Harriet Over // Interview


Rosalind Franklin Award: physical sciences and mathematics

2016: Adam Kucharski

2017: Imogen Riddell // Interview


Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award: engineering, technology and industry

2015: Radu Sporea

2016: Rob Malkin

2017: Richard Middlemiss // Interview


Daphne Oram Award: digital innovation

2015: Alex McLean

2016: Rebecca Stewart

2017: Joanne Armitage // Interview