The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has established an annual award for history of medicine research. The aim of this award is to support and develop the study of the history of medicine in Scotland. Scotland’s medical past has shaped Scotland’s medical present, so the positive changes - and the missteps in our history - are key to understanding how we work now, and how we develop in the future.

Scotland has played a crucial role in the development of medical theory and practice at an international level, from the innovations of the Scottish Enlightenment to advances in tuberculosis and cancer treatments in the twentieth and twenty first centuries. The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh played a pivotal role in many of these developments, so it seems only fitting that the College should encourage study and research into Scotland’s medical past.

This award is open to all researchers in the history of medicine, or related social and cultural history fields. Researchers can be based in the United Kingdom or overseas.

Finalists will be asked to present their research on Friday 19th October 2018. This is a public event, to encourage engagement with the history of medicine in Scotland. The keynote speaker and main judge for this event will be Dr. Richard Barnett who is author of many widely-praised books, including The Sick Rose.

The prize for this award is £500. In addition, award finalists will have their travel and accommodation for the event on 19th October financed by the College. The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh will publish the winning paper.

Dr. Richard Barnett, award judge, said:

“I'm delighted to see one of Britain's oldest and most illustrious medical institutions encouraging a new generation of medical historians. In judging the McCarthy Award we'll be looking for original and rigorous research, compelling arguments, and lucid exposition - three qualities at the heart of all good history writing.”

Iain Milne, the College’s Head of Heritage, said:

“The aim of this award is to encourage research into Scotland’s medical history. We want to promote the use of the College’s extensive library and archives, but also other collections across the country. Scotland has such a rich medical and scientific history and this is a great opportunity for those who are interested in this history to research and write about this and, if they’re shortlisted, it’s an opportunity to present their findings at a public event. We’re looking forward to finding out what exciting new ideas people come up with.”


Paul Gillen

Contact: Paul Gillen 0131 247 3658