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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. There is an additional prize for early career researchers.

Nominations for the 2021 John Maddox Prize are open until 16 May. 

The John Maddox prize is a joint initiative of the charity Sense about Science and the leading international scientific journal Nature. The Prize has been awarded annually since 2012.

The prize:

  • Recognises individuals who stand up for science and evidence, advancing the public discussion of difficult topics despite challenges or hostility 
  • Brings to attention the difficulty faced by many who fight to share the results of research evidence, and inspires and encourages people the world over to do the same 
  • Represents the fact that we don’t yet live in a world where it is safe for researchers to speak out openly and honestly about research findings 
  • Advocates positive change towards an environment in which researchers can engage society in difficult conversations about scientific evidence without fear of professional or personal consequences. 


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 award is presented at a reception hosted at Wellcome Collection on 26 October.

Previous winners include Anthony Fauci and Salim Abdool Karim (US Health Advisors to the Government), and Susan Jebb (Primary Health Sciences, Oxford).

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.

Individuals should be nominated by someone who is familiar with the work of the candidate, though in exceptional cases self-nominations will be considered.

Nominations are via an electronic form.

Full details and nominate