On the retirement of Dr R M Laws CBE, FRS as Director of the British Antarctic Survey in May 1987, a fund was established for a Prize to be awarded annually in his name. In view of Dr Laws’ major contribution to scientific knowledge, it was decided that the Prize should be awarded to outstanding young scientists of the British Antarctic Survey in recognition of their achievements, whilst fulfilling the primary purpose of the British Antarctic Survey.

The BAS Club undertakes the administration of the fund, whilst the award is made by and Awards Committee, assisted by Alison Teague.

Awards Committee

The composition of the Committee is:

  • Chair, Professor E W Wolff, FRS
  • Professor J E Francis, BAS Director
  • Professor D G Vaughan, BAS Director of Science
  • Mr M Pinnock, BAS Club Representative
  • Professor D W H Walton, Secretary

The Committee is empowered to co-opt consultants, with expertise relevant to the fields of the candidates nominated in a given year.



The Prize will be awarded to early career researchers of the British Antarctic Survey for research work which is worthy of recognition in the field of polar research. The nominee must be within 10 years of graduation for a PhD on 27 March in the year of the original nomination (a note of the candidate’s PhD graduation date should be included with any submission). Work submitted in support of the nomination must have been accepted for publication (but not necessarily published) before the closing date for nomination. In cases where the eligibility of a candidate may be uncertain the nomination will be at the discretion of the Committee. The Prize will not necessarily be awarded each year if candidates of sufficient calibre are not nominated. Exceptionally, more than one Prize may be awarded per year.


  • Candidates should be nominated through the Science Leaders (for Science Programmes) or Tim Stockings (for Operations and Engineering). Only one nomination should be made per Science Programme in a given year.
  • Nominations should be accompanied by a resumé of the importance of the work, a list of the candidate’s publications, brief (one paragraph) assessments of the two most significant publications and copies of these two papers.
  • The nominator should provide, as far as possible, lists of invited lectures, awards, workshops and meetings organised and public outreach activities to provide a broader view of the community contribution by each of the candidates. They should also provide some indications of future potential for the candidate.
  • Nominations may be made at any time of the year, but should be sent to Alison Teague, alag@bas.ac.uk BAS Cambridge to be received by the Secretary.
  • Unsuccessful nominations may be reconsidered the following year, the candidate’s date of PhD graduation being taken as that at the time of the initial nomination.
  • After two years, a nomination will be deemed to have lapsed and will require re-nomination for further consideration.
  • Members of the Awards Committee may not nominate candidates but may stimulate others to do so.

The Prize

The Laws Prize will consist of books, software or electronic equipment to a value decided annually by the Awards Committee.


Please address any queries in confidence to:

Professor D W H Walton
Laws Prize Secretary
British Antarctic Survey
High Cross
Madingley Road
Cambridge CB3 0ET

Past recipients of the Laws Prize

2018Kelly HoganMarine Geophysicist
Alex BrearleyNERC Independent Research Fellow
2017Scott HoskingGlobal Climate Modeller
2016Jan De RydtGlaciologist
2015Andrew MeijersPhysical Oceanographer
2014Liz ThomasIce Core Analyst
Tom BracegirdlePalaeoclimatologist
2013Alastair GrahamMarine Geomorphologist
Tom JordanAerogeophysicist
2012Paul HollandOcean Modeller
2011Huw GriffithsMarine Biogeographer (Summary available)
James SmithMarine Geologist (Summary available)
2010Louise SimePalaeoclimate Modeller
2009Hamish PritchardGlaciologist
2008Joanne JohnsonGeologist
Daniel SmaaleMarine Biologist
2007No Award
2006Andrew HirstBiological Oceanographer
2005Robert ArthernGlaciologist
2004Teal RileyGeologist
2003Ian RenfrewMeteorologist
2002Dominic HodgsonTerrestrial Biologist
2001Gareth ChishamUpper Atmosphere Physicist
2000Anna JonesChemist
1999Andrew BrierleyMarine Biologist
1998Keith ReidMarine Biologist
1997David CantrillPalaeobotanist
1996Alan VaughanGeologist
1995David BarnesMarine Biologist
1994Mark ClilverdUpper Atmosphere Physicist
1993Martin DaveyTerrestrial Biologist
1992Adrian JenkinsGlaciologist
1991Angus AtkinsonMarine Biologist
1990Duncan PirrieGeologist
1989Malcolm HoleGeologist