The Palaeontographical Society

Research Funding - Details of Awards/Grants

1. The Edward Forbes Prize

The Palaeontographical Society invites applications for the Edward Forbes Prize*, which aims to recognise outstanding contributions by early career researchers in the field of taxonomic and systematic palaeontology (encompassing invertebrates, vertebrates, palaeobotany and microfossils). The Prize, which is to be awarded for publication excellence, comprises £250 and a one-year membership of the Society. The Prize will be awarded at the Society’s Annual General Meeting each year.

Criteria for eligibility:

1. Papers should deal with the taxonomy and/or systematics of a group of fossil organisms from the British Isles and must appear in a peer-reviewed publication, such as a journal, monograph series or book chapter. In some cases, applicants may need to provide evidence that an article was peer-reviewed (in the case of some book chapters, for example). Papers whose primary focus is on a related subject area (e.g., palaeoceanography, palaeoclimatology, geochemistry) will not be considered.

2. Papers should either be the sole work of the applicant or the applicant should be the lead author on the publication. Where there is more than one author, the applicant must produce letters from the other co-authors stating that the lead author was responsible for leading the work. These letters should be submitted with the main application.

3. Early career stage researchers are considered to be those currently engaged in post-graduate research (Master’s or PhD), under the age of 35, or within 10 years of the completion date of the Ph D. Letters of support are required from the supervisor of the work to confirm the applicant’s eligibility. Such letters should be submitted with the main application.

4. Submitted papers must be written in English and sent to the Prize Committee as either a reprint-quality PDF (preferred) or as a hard copy (four copies required in the latter instance).

We invite submissions for the 2022 award on the basis of any eligible article that was published in 2021. Applications should be addressed to the Secretary, Nigel Ainsworth, and must be received by the closing date of 28th February 2022. The decision of the Prize Committee will be announced at the Society’s AGM in April 2022. The successful applicant will be informed in advance, so that they may attend the meeting if they wish.

*Edward Forbes (1815–1854) was an early supporter of the Palaeontographical Society, and palaeontologist to the fledgling Geological Survey before taking up the Professorship of Natural History at Edinburgh University. His beautifully illustrated publications in the Memoirs of the Geological Survey and his Palaeontographical Society monograph were milestones in the documentation of British fossil invertebrates.

2. The Richard Owen Research Fund

The Palaeontographical Society awards small financial Grants to assist palaeontological research (travel, visits to museums, fieldwork, etc.) within the Society’s remit of describing the fossil fauna and flora of the British Isles.

The Society aims to provide awards in the region of £500 for research on the UK fossil flora and fauna. No definite age limit or other restriction is applied, although preference will be given to applicants at the start of their careers or those without alternative sources of funding. The award is open to both amateur and professional palaeontologists, but preference will be given to members of the Society engaged in the production of a monographic piece of work.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted electronically to the Secretary, Nigel Ainsworth. The application should comprise a short CV (including details of publications, appointments and distinctions: no longer than three sides of A4), an account of research aims and objectives (5,000 characters maximum), and a breakdown of the proposed expenditure. Each application should be accompanied by the name and contact details of an appropriate scientific referee. Failure to provide a complete application will result in disqualification. 


Applications must be received by the 28th February 2022 and successful applicants will be informed shortly after the Annual General Meeting of Council in April, 2022.


On completion of the work, successful candidates must produce a short report (500-1000 words) for the Palaeontographical Society Newsletter and website, and will be expected to submit receipts for expenditure encurred. Applicants are also asked to consider publication of their research results in the Palaeontographical Society’s monograph series.

3. The Bulman Fund

The Bulman Fund exists to help in the preparation of illustrations for monographs of the Society that have been accepted and are in an advanced stage of preparation. Small grants of up to £300 are available to offset the costs of line drawings or other illustrations deemed essential for the monograph being prepared. Authors wishing to apply for this fund should contact the secretary.

4. The Palaeontographical Society Medal

The biennial award of the Palaeontographical Society Medal is intended to recognise a sustained and important series of contributions to taxonomic and systematic palaeontology. In particular, the Society seeks to honour those who have made an exceptional contribution to the micropalaeontology, palaeobotany, or invertebrate or vertebrate palaeontology of the British Isles, including those who have applied these data to solve problems of palaeogeography, palaeoecology and phylogeny. Recipients will not be limited to palaeontologists based in the British Isles, although it is anticipated that this region will form an important element of their research programme. Nominations for the 2022 award should be sent to the Secretary, Nigel Ainsworth), by the 15th November 2022.

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