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 medal and 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 Prize is funded by a donation from the Government of the British Antarctic Territory Polar Regions Department.

The BAS Club undertakes the administration of the fund, whilst the award is made by the Awards Committee. The Government of The British Antarctic Territories generously provides an annual grant in support of this award.

The Medal

Awards Committee

The composition of the Committee is:

  • Chair, Professor Eric Wolff, FRS
  • Professor Andrew Clarke, Committee member
  • Professor Dame Jane Francis, Director of BAS
  • Dr Anna Jones, Director of Science, BAS
  • Mr M Pinnock, BAS Club Representative

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 26 April 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.


Closed for this year.

The Prize

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

Past recipients of the Laws Prize

2023 Peter Davis Physical Oceanographer
Victoria Warwick-Evans Marine Ecologist
2022 Kaitlin Naughten Ocean Modeller
Arlie McCarthy Benthic Ecologist
2021 Dan Jones Physical Oceanographer
2020 Elise Biersma Evolutionary Biologist
2019 Anna Belcher Biochemical Ecologist
2018 Kelly Hogan Marine Geophysicist
Alex Brearley NERC Independent Research Fellow
2017 Scott Hosking Global Climate Modeller
2016 Jan De Rydt Glaciologist
2015 Andrew Meijers Physical Oceanographer
2014 Liz Thomas Ice Core Analyst
Tom Bracegirdle Palaeoclimatologist
2013 Alastair Graham Marine Geomorphologist
Tom Jordan Aerogeophysicist
2012 Paul Holland Ocean Modeller
2011 Huw Griffiths Marine Biogeographer (Summary available)
James Smith Marine Geologist (Summary available)
2010 Louise Sime Palaeoclimate Modeller
2009 Hamish Pritchard Glaciologist
2008 Joanne Johnson Geologist
Daniel Smaale Marine Biologist
2007 No Award
2006 Andrew Hirst Biological Oceanographer
2005 Robert Arthern Glaciologist
2004 Teal Riley Geologist
2003 Ian Renfrew Meteorologist
2002 Dominic Hodgson Terrestrial Biologist
2001 Gareth Chisham Upper Atmosphere Physicist
2000 Anna Jones Chemist
1999 Andrew Brierley Marine Biologist
1998 Keith Reid Marine Biologist
1997 David Cantrill Palaeobotanist
1996 Alan Vaughan Geologist
1995 David Barnes Marine Biologist
1994 Mark Clilverd Upper Atmosphere Physicist
1993 Martin Davey Terrestrial Biologist
1992 Adrian Jenkins Glaciologist
1991 Angus Atkinson Marine Biologist
1990 Duncan Pirrie Geologist
1989 Malcolm Hole Geologist