MRC Millennium Medal

The MRC Millennium Medal is MRC’s most prestigious personal prize. It is presented annually to an exceptional scientist who has made a major contribution towards MRC’s mission to improve human health through world-class medical research.

We are inviting nominations from higher education institutions (HEIs) and independent research organisations (IROs) for outstanding scientists who have currently or previously received MRC funding for their research.

Nominations must be endorsed by a member of the institution’s senior management team.

Nominees should demonstrate outstanding scientific excellence, impact and wider contributions to improving the research environment and culture.

The winner will:

  • receive a prestigious medal, specially created by The Royal Mint
  • be listed amongst the most highly influential and impactful researchers in the UK
  • deliver a lecture and have their research and achievements showcased at an awards ceremony in spring 2023 where they will receive the medal.

A full list of previous winners is outlined in the ‘past winners’ section.

Nomination opening and closing dates

The competition is open for nominations from 23 May 2022 for 10 weeks.

Nominations will close on 29 July 2022 at 17:00.

Who can submit a nomination

Higher education institutions (HEIs) and independent research organisations (IROs) are invited to submit nominations which must be endorsed by a member of the institution’s senior management team. For example:

  • the Vice Provost, Vice Principal or Pro-Vice Chancellor for Health or Research
  • the Director for IROs.

Each organisation can nominate a maximum of three current or former employees.

Nominees must meet the criteria set out in ‘who you can nominate’.

Who you can nominate

Nominees are eligible if their work is, or has previously been, supported by MRC. This could be through grant funding or work being based within an MRC centre, unit or institute. MRC funding should have provided a significant contributing factor to the research for which they are nominated.

Nominations can be made for someone who:

  • has made an outstanding contribution to MRC’s mission to improve human health through world-class medical research
  • demonstrates scientific excellence and impact, and has international recognition in their field. Their achievements may have contributed towards breaking barriers in research, forging new fields of research, or enabling new frontiers for the way that science is conducted
  • has improved the wider research environment by enabling national or global research capabilities. For example, through championing research integrity, development of infrastructure and influencing policy and practice
  • has advanced research culture. For example, through training, advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in the research community, or fostering team science.

The research for which the individual is nominated for can be for basic, clinical or applied research (or any combination of these) that has made an outstanding contribution to MRC’s mission to improve health.

The work can be contemporary, showing clear potential to revolutionise the field, or work which has already had a major impact. A wide variety of research outputs and impacts will be considered, including the development of resources (such as datasets and reagents), and influence on policy and practice.

The prize recipient could be someone whose scientific achievements have already been well recognised in other ways. However, we particularly encourage nominations for those whose work or support for the research community has not gained the attention it merits outside their immediate research community.

There is a resubmission policy of one year, meaning individuals can only be nominated once every two years.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. We especially encourage nominations for people who are currently under-represented in some sectors of the research and innovation community. This includes:

  • women
  • those with a disability
  • members of minority ethnic groups.

Higher education institutions (HEIs) and independent research organisations (IROs) can nominate a maximum of three individuals and are strongly encouraged to consider the diversity of their nominations.

How to make a nomination

Higher education institutions (HEIs) and independent research organisations (IROs) should submit:

  • a nomination form
  • a CV of no more than two sides of A4.

The nomination form will be available when nominations open on 23 May 2022.

Nomination form

The nomination form must:

  • detail the nominee’s research achievements and their significance and impact
  • demonstrate the nominee’s activities dedicated to improving both the research environment  and research culture, for example via championing equality, diversity and inclusion in the research community
  • summarise the overall contribution of the nominee to MRC’s mission and how the nominee embodies the characteristics to be the next MRC Millennium Medal winner.

The nomination form must have been endorsed by a member of the institution’s senior management team, for example the:

  • Vice Provost, Vice Principal or Pro-Vice Chancellor for Health or Research
  • Director for IROs.

The form must include an explanation of the local process that led to the selection of the nominee from a diverse pool of researchers taking into account equality, diversity and inclusion and mitigation of bias during the selection process.

How we will assess nominations

A dedicated MR prize committee oversees the MRC Millennium Medal competition.

The committee is chaired by the MRC Executive Chair and comprised of 24 members from:

  • MRC boards, panels and overview groups
  • MRC strategy board
  • MRC council
  • industry and external representation.

The committee will review and score nominations against the following five areas:

  • scientific excellence
  • science impact
  • dedication to improving the research environment
  • dedication to improving research culture
  • contributions towards MRC’s mission.

The committee will select the winner who will be announced in December 2022. The prize will be awarded at an MRC awards ceremony in spring 2023.

Past winners

Since its launch more than 20 years ago, the MRC Millennium Medal has been presented to truly outstanding individuals, spanning the full breath of medical research and innovation. Several of these researchers have also gone on to receive a Nobel Prize or be listed on the Queen’s Honours list for scientific excellence in their field.

Timeline of the past MRC Millennium Medal winners between 2000 and 2021:

  • 2000: Dr César Milstein, pioneered work on monoclonal antibodies
  • 2002: Professor Tom Meade, contribution to UK health, particularly in cardiovascular disease
  • 2004: Sir Peter Mansfield, development of MRI imaging
  • 2006: Professor Sir Edwin Southern, invention of the southern blotting technique and DNA microarray technology
  • 2013: Professor Sir Philip Cohen, outstanding collaborative work with the pharmaceutical industry
  • 2013: Professor Sir Gregory Winter, development of humanised monoclonal antibodies
  • 2015: Professor Sir Brian Greenwood, reinventing field research in tropical medicine
  • 2017: Professor Janet Darbyshire, transformative work on clinical trials, resulting in major advances in diseases including tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS, and cancer
  • 2020: Professor Sir Rory Collins, transformative contributions to cardiovascular disease and visionary leadership of UK Biobank
  • 2021: Professor Sharon Peacock, pioneering work in pathogen sequencing, visionary leadership of COVID-19 Genomics UK consortium (COG-UK) and outstanding contributions to advance equality, diversity and inclusion in research.


For more information email the MRC Millennium Medal team.


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