John Maddox Prize

Country: United Kingdom;

Deadline: 14.06.2021

 

The John Maddox Prize recognises the work of an individual to promote sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest, facing difficulty or hostility in doing so. The prize advocates for the value of an open and honest environment for societies to discuss scientific evidence.

An initiative of the charity Sense about Science and the scientific journal Nature and now in its tenth year, the John Maddox Prize is awarded to one or two people each year for standing up for sound science in public. An additional award is also made to someone who in the opinion of the judges is at an early stage of their career.

Nominations illustrate a wide variety of circumstances faced by researchers and communicators around the world, and judges consider these in the round. They also consider:

  • The significance of an individual’s effort to advance the discussion of sound science in the public sphere.
  • The nature of the challenge(s) faced by the individual, whether they persevered and whether those challenges were beyond what would be expected in their position.
  • How well they placed the evidence in the wider debate and engaged others.

Sir John Maddox, whose name this prize commemorates, was a passionate and tireless champion and defender of science, engaging with difficult debates and inspiring others to do the same. As a writer and editor, he changed attitudes and perceptions, and strove for better understanding and appreciation of science throughout his long working life.

The John Maddox Prize awards evening is hosted at Wellcome Collection, London in November. Winners receive £3000 (winners in public office usually waive this).

Candidates for the John Maddox Prize must be nominated.

This is a global prize: people from any country and in any field can be nominated.

The winner is chosen by a judging panel, not by Sense about Science or Nature.

The 2021 judges are:

  • Professor Lord Martin Rees – Astronomer Royal
  • Ms Natasha Loder – Health Policy Editor, The economist
  • Professor Sir Colin Blakemore – Yeung Kin Man Professor of Neuroscience and Senior Fellow of the Hong Kong Institute for Advanced Study
  • Ms Tracey Brown OBE – Director, Sense about Science
  • Dr Magdalena Skipper – Editor-in-chief, Nature
  • Professor Terrence Forrester – Chief Scientist & Managing Director, UWI Solutions for Developing Countries at the University of the West Indies
  • Professor Dennis Lo – Director, Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences
  • Ms Anin Luo (judge for the early career award) – Princeton University.

Judges sit in a personal capacity.

The prize will be awarded for specific achievements, and the decision will be final and not open to appeal.

INFORMATION FOR NOMINATORS

 

Staff, trustees and directors of the partnering organisations, previous winners and previous or current members of the judging panel and their direct relations are not eligible for nomination for the prize, though they may nominate. It is open to anyone else, including those commended or nominated in previous years and people who have published with or worked with partnering organisations as contributors, advisers or in other collaborations.

As a nominator you should normally be an individual who is familiar with the work of the candidate but self-nomination will be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Nominations are to take the form of a letter of recommendation and include biographical information on the candidate and a description of the candidate’s work in standing up for science. Permission must be sought from the nominee. If possible, a supporting referee should be included in the nomination form.

If you think the individual is at an early stage in their career then please highlight this on the nomination form as they will be eligible for the additional prize.

Nominations and supporting references must be submitted in English. The individual nominated, the referee, and the nominator may be contacted for more information including references.

Questions? Please contact maddoxprize@senseaboutscience.org

 

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