Essay award

Announcing the 6th Notes and Records Essay Award

Notes and Records reports on current research and archival activities throughout the field of history of science, technology and medicine. The Essay Award is open to researchers in the history of science who have completed a postgraduate degree within the last five years. The previously unpublished essay of up to 8,000 words should be based on original research and it may relate to any aspect of the history of science, technology and medicine in any period.

The winning entry is chosen using the journal's standard criteria for selection (i.e. excellence and interest to a wide audience) and will be published in the journal.

The 2019 Essay Award Patrick Luiz De Oliveira for his entryMartyrs made in the sky: The Zénith balloon tragedy and the construction of the French Third Republic’s first scientific heroes.

The award consists of:

  • A cash prize of £500
  • A runner-up prize of £250
  • Three honourable mentions will each receive £100
  • Publication of the winning entry in Notes and Records
  • All winners will receive a one year online subscription to Notes and Records


Deadline for submission of an essay is 28 February 2021

Terms and conditions

This award is organised by The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge (known simply as 'The Royal Society') of 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG, registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales under number 207043.

How to enter

The opening date for entries is 00.01 on 1 September 2020. The closing date of the prize draw is 23.59 on 28 February 2021. Entries received after this time will not be accepted.

The essay must be submitted electronically to 

The award is free to enter and no purchase is necessary.

The Royal Society will not accept:
(a) responsibility for entries that are lost, mislaid, damaged or delayed in transit, regardless of cause, including, for example, as a result of any postal failure, equipment failure, technical malfunction, systems, satellite, network, server, computer hardware or software failure of any kind; or
(b) proof of posting or transmission as proof of receipt of entry to the award.

The essay should be no more than 8000 words in length, including references, and should reflect the style guidelines of the journal.

The submission must be accompanied by a covering message confirming the postgraduate degree title and where and when it was awarded.

By submitting an entry, you are agreeing to be bound by these terms and conditions.

The Royal Society reserves the right to refuse entry, or refuse to award the prize to anyone in breach of these terms and conditions.


The award is open to all researchers in the history of science who have completed a postgraduate degree within the last five years, except employees of the Royal Society, their families, agents or any third party directly associated with administration of the award.

In entering the award, you confirm that you are eligible to do so and eligible to claim any prize you may win. The Royal Society may require you to provide proof that you are eligible to enter the award.

The essay should not be under consideration for publication elsewhere. It must be written in English.

Only one entry per person is permitted.

The Royal Society reserves all rights to disqualify you if your conduct is contrary to the spirit or intention of the award.

The award

Entries will be subject to the normal standards of refereeing and editorial review.

Authors other than the winner may be invited to publish their work in Notes and Records, if the judges of the essay award and the editorial board consider such work to be of sufficient quality.

If no essay is deemed of a suitable standard, no award will be made. The judges' decision will be final.

Any entry must be your original work and it must not infringe the rights of third parties including copyright, trade mark, trade secrets, privacy, publicity, personal or proprietary rights.  You agree to indemnify the Royal Society against any claim from any third party for any breach of this clause.

Data protection and publicity

The Royal Society is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and will only use your personal information in accordance with these Terms and Conditions and the Royal Society's Privacy Policy which is available on our website: https://royalsociety.org/about-us/terms-conditions-policies/privacy-policy/#authors.

By entering the award, you agree that any personal information provided by you with your entry may be held and used by the Royal Society or its agents and suppliers to administer the competition.

Winners may be required to participate in publicity related to the award which may include the publication of their name and photograph in any media. You agree that your personal data may be used for this purpose.

Governing law

The award will be governed by English law and entrants to the prize draw submit to the jurisdiction of the English courts.

The Royal Society reserves the right to update these Terms and Conditions from time to time and any updated version will be effective as soon as it is published on the website.