Prize Lectures

Each year, the Microbiology Society awards five Prize Lectures in recognition of significant contributions to microbiology. All members are invited to nominate an outstanding microbiologist for a Microbiology Society Prize.

Nominations for the 2022 Prize Lectures and the 2023 Prize Medal are now open, and will close on 27 May 2021. Further details on how to make a nomination can be found below.  

What are the Prize Lectures?

How do I make a nomination?

To nominate someone for a Prize Lecture, please visit the relevant Prize Lecture page to find out more about its remit, judging criteria and past winners of the Prize. You will also be able to download the nomination form on this page.

After you’ve read the form to determine what to include, you and your fellow nominator should contact the person you’d like to nominate so that you can work with them. Nominators should be members of the Society, but the candidate does not have to be one. We have provided example nomination forms to demonstrate the level of detail required for nominations.

Marjory Stephenson Prize Lecture: example nomination


Peter Wildy Prize Lecture: example nomination


Prize Medal: example nomination


Unilever Colworth Prize Lecture: example nomination

If you have any queries, would like to be put in touch with a second nominator, or would like to talk through your ideas for a nomination, you can contact the Microbiology Society Prizes team for support via email at [email protected].

When you, your fellow nominator and the nominee are satisfied with the completed nomination form, please submit it via email to [email protected]. Please include the name of the Prize Lecture in the subject line.

What happens to my nomination after submission?

Checks and Balances

After the deadline, we review nominations and check membership details of nominators. We also review the nominations and decide if a deadline extension is required due to a lack of diversity of nominations.

When we have received sufficient nominations, we check them for subject area (virus, prokaryote, eukaryote) and institution, and a panel is convened to have fair representation across all Society Divisions. The institution of nominees is considered to exclude institutional conflicts of interest for the panel.

Reviewing nominations

Prize award panel members review and rank nominations in isolation against the advertised guidance and Prize Lecture rules. The individual rankings are then returned to the office, collated and recirculated ahead of an in-person meeting to discuss the results.

At the start of the meeting, an unconscious bias refresher is made to remind panellists of the importance of sound decision-making.

The panel reaches a consensus and makes recommendations to Council, which are discussed and accepted at its September meeting.


Successful nominees are contacted with a letter from the Chief Executive. Successful nominators are notified when the nominee has accepted the award and the obligation to give a lecture at the relevant Annual Conference.

Unsuccessful nominators are contacted and advised that their nomination will be considered again according to the rules advertised on the relevant Prize Lecture page. They will also be advised if their nomination was received for the wrong prize and encouraged to resubmit appropriately. It is up to the nominator to notify the nominee.

The Prize Award Panel

All Prize Lecture nominations are considered by a panel of members, chaired by the Society’s General Secretary. Each year, we ask for volunteers from the membership to participate in the Prize Award Panel, to consider a shortlist for the Prize Medal and a recommendation for all other Prize winners for Council to accept when they meet in September. Members of the Prize Award Panel serve a one-year term, during which time they are not eligible to nominate or be nominated.

The 2021 Prizes Panel will convene on 22 June 2021 at the University of Leeds or via videoconference to review nominations for the 2022 Prize Lectures and 2023 Prize Medal.  Prospective panel members should ensure they are available to attend this meeting.

To express an interest in participating in the 2021 Prize Award Panel, judging nominations for 2022 Prizes and the 2023 Prize Medal, please contact [email protected] with your name, job title, affiliation, area of expertise and brief summary of your suitability as a member of the panel (max. 250 words) by 30 March 2021

The General Secretary will review expressions of interest and appoint a panel of six members who will be notified by 22 April. A reserve list will also be created, in case of conflicts of interest – this will be determined after the Prize Lecture nomination deadline on 27 May 2021.

Prize Lecture rules

The rules for all Prize Lectures are the same and are listed below. If you have any questions regarding the Prize nominations process, please contact [email protected].

  1. Prizes are awarded on the conditions that the work comprising the subject matter of the nomination has been conducted in good faith and to the highest professional and ethical standards, and that all information and documentation in support of the same, and in support of any nomination in connection with the same, are true, factual and not misleading. The Society reserves the right to withdraw any prize awarded if the Society considers any of the aforementioned conditions not to have been satisfied or if the Society, in its absolute discretion, considers that withdrawing any prize awarded, would be in the best interests of the Society and/or the integrity of the prize in question.
  2. All Prizes are awarded annually.
  3. Nominations should be made by any two members of the Society; the nominee need not be a member of the Society.
  4. Nominations may require accompanying documentation; please see individual Prize pages for requirements. Nominations will only be considered if all documentation is received before the advertised deadline.
  5. Recipients of Prizes may not be nominated for the same Prize Lecture on a subsequent occasion, however unsuccessful nominees will automatically be considered for a further two years. If the period expires and the nomination remains unsuccessful, individuals may be nominated again after a one-year period. This is in place to protect the nominee as they may wish to withdraw from the process. This does not apply to the Fleming Prize, as nominations will be reconsidered for the entire duration of the candidate’s eligibility, after this period they would be ineligible.
  6. Prize winners will be expected to present a lecture based on their work at the following Microbiology Society Annual Conference. Expenses of the Prize Lecturer will be paid by the Society. Prize winners should contact the Society at their earliest convenience should circumstances change, resulting in conference attendance no longer being possible.
  7. At the discretion of the Editors of the Society’s journals, Prize recipients may be encouraged to publish the lecture in a suitable journal.
  8. A discrete travel bursary shall be provided to successful nominators of all Prizes to enable them to attend the Prize Lecture of their successful nominee in recognition of their efforts.
  9. Unless otherwise stipulated by the criteria, there shall be no restriction by means of age, nationality, geography or gender of those eligible for Microbiology Society Prizes. As our data show that 45% of our members are women and 55% are men, we expect that where activities are drawing from our community, those involved will show fair gender representation. In order to inform you of the wider composition of the community, we have also provided data on the proportion of the membership which identifies as from a minority ethnic group, and those who disclose a known disability or impairment.
  10. The decision of the Prizes Award Panel is final.