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Society medals and awards

Since 1832, our prestigious medals and awards have recognised excellence in geographical research and fieldwork, teaching and public engagement.

Our prestigious medals and awards recognise excellence in geographical research, fieldwork, teaching, policy, and public engagement. They are presented annually in recognition of those who have made outstanding contributions. Any Fellow or Member of the Society may make a nomination.

His Majesty The King approves the award of two Gold Medals every year. They originated in 1831, as an annual gift of 50 guineas from King William IV.

In 1839, the Society decided that this sum should be converted into two gold medals of equal value, to be designated the Founder’s Medal and the Patron’s Medal.

Today, the Society's Gold Medals are among the highest international accolades and are awarded for the encouragement and promotion of geography, science and discovery.


The following awards are currently given:

Gold Medal

Founder’s and Patron’s Medals for the encouragement and promotion of geographical science and discovery. The two Gold Medals are both approved by His Majesty The King.

Victoria Medal

For conspicuous merit in research in geography.

Busk Medal

For conservation research or for fieldwork abroad in geography or in a geographical aspect of an allied science.

Cherry Kearton Medal and Award

For a traveller concerned with the study or practice of natural history, with a preference for those with an interest in nature photography, art or cinematography.

Murchison Award

For publications judged to contribute most to geographical science in preceding recent years.

Back Award

For applied or scientific geographical studies which make an outstanding contribution to the development of national or international public policy.

Cuthbert Peek Award

For those advancing geographical knowledge of human impact on the environment through the application of contemporary methods, including those of earth observation and mapping.

Gill Memorial Award

For the encouragement of geographical research in early career researchers* who have shown great potential (*defined as within 10 years of completing their PhD).

Ordnance Survey Awards

In recognition of excellence in geography education at the secondary level.

Taylor and Francis Award

For excellence in the promotion and practice of teaching and learning in higher education.

Ness Award

For travellers, particularly those who have successfully popularised geography and the wider understanding of our world and its environments.

Fordham Award

For distinguished contributions to the field of cartobibliography.

Geographical Award

For a company or individual that had provided outstanding (non-commercial) support for individuals or groups learning through scientific expeditions; or for an expedition(s) that has had a significant impact in inspiring and raising the understanding of geographical issues among schools or the public.

Honorary Fellowship

For service to the cause of geography or to the work of the Society.* (*It is expected that a recipient’s activities over a number of years will have resulted in a substantive benefit to the discipline of geography or to the Society, beyond any contribution arising from the recipient’s regular employment).

Honorary Membership

For outstanding services and contributions to a geographical dimension of public life.

Professional Geography Award

For recognition of excellence in the use of geography in professional practice.

Geographical Engagement Award

To recognise excellence in public engagement in relation to geographical issues and/or geography through the media, design or other means.