The SHNH site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our privacy policy.


Society for the History of Natural History

Awards, Honours and Medals

Awards, Honours and Medals

The Society for the History of Natural History (SHNH) promotes its objectives by making awards for excellence in the fields of the history and  bibliography of natural history

SHNH President’s Award

Stearn Student Essay Prize 2023

The SHNH President’s Award recognises an individual or team’s contribution and impact in promoting and improving accessibility, inclusivity and diversity to the study of the history of natural history. The winner receives the President’s Medal and £100, to be presented at the Annual General Meeting of the Society. Read more.

SHNH Founders’ Medal

The SHNH Founders’ Medal is awarded to persons who have made a substantial contribution to the study of the history or bibliography of natural history. Read more.

SHNH Natural History Book Prize (John Thackray Medal)

The prize is awarded for the best book published on the history or bibliography of natural history in the preceding two years. Winners receive the John Thackray Medal, instituted in 2000 to commemorate the life and work of John Thackray, a Past President of the Society. Read more.

SHNH Patron’s Review

The SHNH Patron’s Review, in association with the Society’s patron Sir David Attenborough OM CH FRS, is an opportunity for an outstanding young scholar, nominated by Council, and invited by the Society’s Patron to write a review that advances the Society’s objects, namely “the historical and bibliographical study of the growth of all branches of natural history in all periods and cultures”. Read more.

SHNH William T. Stearn Student Essay Prize

Instituted in 2007 to commemorate the work of  William T. Stearn (1911–2001), a scholar whose work contributed much to the field and to this Society, the prize is awarded to the best original, unpublished essay in the history of natural history. The competition is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students worldwide in full- or part-time education, and to postdoctoral students within two years of the award of their doctorate. It is not limited to members of SHNH. The winner will receive £300 and the winning essay will normally be published in the Society’s journal Archives of Natural History, subject to the normal editorial process. Read more.


The SHNH Small Research Fund

The purpose of the Small Research Fund is to provide financial support to members of the SHNH in all fields covered by the society’s charitable purpose in carrying out research to benefit the scholarly community. Priority will be given to Early Career Researchers (ECRs), people who have had a career break, and independent scholars. An early career researcher is defined by the Society as an individual who is within two years of the award of their PhD or equivalent professional training. Read more.


SHNH Honorary Membership

Persons who have performed signal services to the Society may be elected as Honorary Members, and shall not be required to pay an annual subscription. The number of Honorary Members is limited to ten.