John Maynard Smith Prize

Every year the European Society for Evolutionary Biology distinguishes an outstanding young evolutionary biologist with the John Maynard Smith Prize.

The prize is named after John Maynard Smith (1920 - 2004), eminent evolutionary biologist, and author of many books on evolution, both for scientists and the general public. He was professor at the University of Sussex, UK, Fellow of the Royal Society, winner of the Darwin Medal, laureate of the Crafoord Prize of the Swedish Academy of Sciences, and President of ESEB. See the interview by Robert Wright for an account of his life long fascination with evolution, and here for a biography.


The prize is open to any field of evolutionary biology. The candidates for the 2015 prize must have begun their PhD study after January 1, 2008. Candidates for the prize may be nominated by a colleague or self-nominated. The nominations should be sent as a single PDF file to Ute Friedrich at the ESEB office. The nomination should include a brief justification, the candidate's CV and list of publications (indicating three most significant papers), a short description of future research plans, and a letter from the candidate approving the nomination. A letter of reference from another colleague (or two in case of self-nomination) should be sent directly to Ute Friedrich (

Nominations should arrive no later than January 15, 2015. Please take care to limit the size of attachments (total < 10 MB) in any one email.

The nomination committee, chaired by ESEB Vice President Dieter Ebert, will evaluate the nominations and inform the winner approximately by the end of February 2015.

The prize winner is expected to attend the next ESEB congress in Lausanne, Switzerland (10 - 14 August, 2015), where he or she will deliver the John Maynard Smith Lecture.
The Society will cover registration, accommodation, and travel expenses (economy fare). The JMS Prize comes with a monetary prize of 2500 € and the possibility of a Junior Fellowship of generally 3 months at the Institute of Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin, Germany.
Further Junior Fellowships may be awarded to other JMS Prize nominees. For more information on the Wissenschaftskolleg, see Institute of Advanced Study or contact Paul Schmid-Hempel, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Current and previous winners of the JMS Prize are listed below.

Winner 2014

Picture Laurie StevisonLaurie Stevison is an evolutionary geneticist interested in speciation, recombination rate evolution and hybridization. She researched hybridization in macaques for her masterís degree at Rice University with Michael Kohn. During her doctoral research, she studied how chromosomal inversions reduce recombination between species of Drosophila, increasing interspecies nucleotide divergence and facilitating speciation.
After completing her PhD at Duke University with Mohamed Noor, she joined the lab of Jeff Wall at UCSF where she now studies comparative recombination rate variation in great apes.

Laurie's prize will be celebrated at the XV ESEB Congress in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she will give the John Maynard Smith Prize 2014 Lecture.

Previous winners



Last updated October 1, 2014. For suggestions or comments please send an e-mail .