Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize

In a change to previous years, The Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize has been increased to £500, and now rewards either a BSc or MSc (not PhD) 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.  PhD theses can now be submitted for the Bruce Cattanach and Edith Rebecca Saunders awards.

The prize is awarded annually and pertains to a project report or dissertation submitted during the academic year in question.

The winner will be invited to present their work, usually at the Genetics Society sponsored “Pop Group” meeting.

Call for Nominations

To be eligible, dissertations/project reports should be submitted by the student to the nominating University or Institution in the academic year 1st September 2021 and 31st August 2022.

Nominations for the 2022 award should be submitted to the Honorary Secretary by the student’s supervisor to The Genetics Society electronically using the link below, before October 31st, 2022. 

Nominators should supply their Genetics Society membership number on the application form.

Nominations will be assessed by a panel of two people with experience in the area of quantitative/population genetics, one from the University of Birmingham, and the other nominated by the Genetics Society.  Nominations should include a cover letter from the proposer, a CV of the nominee and an electronic copy of the student’s project report, dissertation or thesis.

Submit an application

Please note, the Genetics Society does not accept self-nominations for this award.

Past Winners

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.