Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize

From 2023, the Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize will now be offered on two levels. The undergraduate prize rewards a BSc or MSc student of any UK University or Research Institution who has shown outstanding performance in the area of quantitative or population genetics within the current academic year. The post-graduate prize rewards a PhD student for the same.

The £500 prizes will be awarded annually and pertain to a project report, dissertation or thesis submitted during the academic year in question.

Exceptionally for the 2023 postgraduate prize, theses submitted in the academic year 2021-22 will also be eligible for nomination.

The winner of the undergraduate prize will be invited to present their work, usually at the Genetics Society sponsored “Pop Group” meeting, or another meeting if the topic is better suited.  The winner of the post-graduate prize will be invited to present their work at a suitably themed Genetics Society meeting.

Nominations for the prize should be sent to by midnight 1st September 2023, with the name of the award included in the subject line:

•    a two-page nominee CV, including publications
•    a one-page letter of recommendation outlining their contributions and suitability for the prize
•    a draft or completed copy of the nominees thesis

Self-nominations are not accepted and the nominator must be a Genetics Society member.

Previous winners

2023    Nick Fradgley (NIAB and the University of Cambridge)
2022    Sam Mitchell (University of Edinburgh)
2021    Robert Hillary (University of Edinburgh)
2020    Rosa Cheesman (Kings College, London)
2019    Gonçalo Faria (University of St. Andrews)
2018    Rosina Savisaar (University of Bath)
2017    Danag Crysnanto (University of Edinburgh)
2016    Jessica King (University of Edinburgh)
2015    Robert Power (Wellcome Trust Africa Centre for Population Health)
2014    Tom Booker (University of Edinburgh) and Simon Martin (University of Cambridge)
2013    Laura Corbin (Roslin Institute) and Xiachi Xin (University of Edinburgh)
2012    Holly Trochet (University of Edinburgh)
2011    Ben Longdon (University of Edinburgh) and Gibran Hemani (Roslin Institute)
2010    Kay Boulton (University of Edinburgh)
2009    Kreepa Kooblall (University of Birmingham)
2008    Mark Adams (University of Edinburgh)


Sir Kenneth Mather was an Honorary Professor of Genetics at the University of Birmingham, a member of the Royal Society and a past president of The Genetics Society.  His career began at the University of Manchester, where he was awarded a BSc in Botany in 1931. He then went on to study for his PhD at the University of London.   Mather had an illustrious career, influenced strongly by Ronald Fisher from whom he gained experience in statistical analysis.  He gained a fellowship to the Rockerfeller Institute in 1937 and returned to head genetics research at the John Innes Institute.  In 1948 he became the first professor of Genetics at the University of Birmingham and established a unit dedicated to biometrical genetics.  He spent some time during the 1960’s as Vice chancellor at the University of Southampton where he established a new medical school, returning to Birmingham in 1971.  In later years he received several honorary degrees from British Universities and was knighted in 1979.  Building variously on the work of Galton, Pearson, Fisher and Haldane that Mendelian genetics did not provide the answers to continuous variation and evolution, Sir Kenneth was passionate about biometrical genetics, producing 283 scientific papers, giving 24 broadcasts and publishing 10 books based on the subject.

Following his death in 1990, the University of Birmingham established a prize fund from donations to commemorate the life and work of Professor Sir Kenneth Mather.  The prize is awarded annually to encourage research in the pure and applied aspects of biometric or population genetics to a student showing outstanding merit in this field.