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2016 John Maddox Prize

John Maddox

Nominations are now open for the 2016 John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science. Now in its fifth year, the prize recognises the work of an individual anywhere in the world who promotes sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest, facing difficulty or hostility in doing so. The closing date for nominations is 1st August 2016. Winners will be announced at a reception in London, as well as in Nature, and will receive £2,000.

Nominations for the 2016 John Maddox Prize for standing up for science have now closed.


Researchers in any area of science or engineering, or those who work to address misleading information and bring evidence to the public, are eligible to be nominated. The prize is open to nominations for any kind of public activity, including all forms of writing, speaking and public engagement. Nominations of active researchers who have yet to receive recognition for their public-interest work are particularly welcomed.

Nominations now open for an individual anywhere in the world who promotes sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest:

… despite challenge, difficulty or adversity

… taking responsibility for public discussion beyond what would be expected of someone in their position

… and being effective

Nominations must be made online: they include a letter of recommendation; biographical information on the candidate and a description of the candidate’s work in standing up for science. The nominator should be an individual who is familiar with the work of the candidate but self-nomination will be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Permission must be sought from the nominee. The individual nominated, the referee, and the nominator may be contacted for more information including references after the deadline has passed.
Staff, trustees and directors of the supporting organisations 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 people who have published with or worked with either organisation as contributors, advisers or in other collaborations. 

More about the prize

The prize is a joint initiative of Nature, where Sir John was editor for 22 years; the Kohn Foundation, whose founder Sir Ralph Kohn was a personal friend of Sir John's, particularly through their Fellowship of the Royal Society; and Sense About Science, where Sir John served as a trustee until his death in 2009.  A passionate and tireless communicator and defender of science, Maddox engaged with difficult debates, 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.

Previous winners

Past winners of the John Maddox Prize have one thing in common – going beyond expectations or professional requirements to bring sound science and evidence to the public. Winners have variously embodied the spirit of the prize, not yet received recognition for their work, and shown courage in bringing science and evidence to the public. Previous winners are: Professor Edzard Ernst, Professor Susan Jebb (2015); Dr Emily Willingham, Dr David Robert Grimes (2014); Professor David Nutt (2013); Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Shi-min Fang (2012).  

Judging Panel and Process

The 2016 judging panel will be: Professor Colin Blakemore FRS, Tracey Brown (Sense About Science), Sir Philip Campbell PhD (Nature), Natasha Loder (The Economist) and Lord Rees of Ludlow OM FRS. The judges sit in a personal capacity.

Candidates will be judged on the strength of their nomination based on these criteria:

  • How clearly the individual communicated good science, despite adversity.
  • The level of responsibility they took for public debate, and going above and beyond their job requirements.
  • How effectively they placed the evidence in the wider debate and engaged others.

Nature                 Kohn Foundation