Young Scientist Research Prizes

The Royal Society of Victoria has established four prestigious, competitive prizes open to post-graduate, doctoral students in all areas of the Biomedical & Health Sciences, Biological Sciences (Non-human), Earth Sciences and Physical Sciences.

YSRP finalists 2020
2019 Finalists with RSV officers.

The Society is grateful for the generosity of our members, past and present, in supporting these prizes. The Biological Sciences (Non-human) prize and Earth Sciences Prize are supported by the legacy of previous Presidents, Edmund D Gill and Neil Archbold respectively.

The category of Biomedical and Health Sciences includes the fields of Endocrinology, Epidemiology, Genetics, Human Physiology, Human Anatomy, Immunology, Medical Parasitology, Microbiology, Neurology, Nuclear Medicine, Pathology, Pharmacology, Radiology and related human sciences apart from clinical trials.

The category of Biological Sciences (Non-human) includes the fields of Agriculture, Biochemistry, Botany, Cell Biology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Forestry, Zoology, and related non-human science.

The category of Earth Sciences includes the fields of Geochemistry, Geochronology, Geology, Geophysics, Planetary Physics, Meteorology, Oceanography, Palaeontology, Physical Geography and related sciences.

The category of Physical Sciences includes the fields of Astronomy, Astrophysics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, all branches of Engineering and related sciences.


Victoria Coyle presentingApplications are open to candidates enrolled in the final year of their doctoral candidature at universities in the State of Victoria at the time of application, and who are members of the Royal Society of Victoria. Candidates who have submitted, or will submit their thesis before 31 May 2021 are ineligible.

In order to promote the interests of young people starting their first careers, we are limiting applications to doctoral candidates under 40 years of age.

Applicants who are not already members are required to join the Society (see below). RSV student membership for eligible applicants in 2021 is free.


Applications for the 2021 round opened on 1 March and closed at 5:00pm on 31 May, 2021.

Candidates should nominate themselves.

The application for a prize should consist of:

  • An application form (incorporating your extended abstract) to be submitted electronically, then printed (from your confirmation email), co-signed by your Supervisor or Head of Department (to ratify your contribution to your doctoral research, particularly if it is a team research project) and submitted along with your RSV Membership Form (if required).
  • An extended abstract presenting a succinct summary of your research work. This is incorporated in the body of the application form to guide structure and length, and includes a title, rationale for the study, aims, methods, results, conclusions and significance, indicating why your research is important and of scientific interest.


Submission of the prize application form and abstract should be co-signed with your supervisor and received as a single file via email marked for the attention of the Chief Executive Officer at [email protected] before the closing time and date, being 5:00pm on 31 May, 2021. All late submissions will be deemed ineligible.


If you are not already a member of the Royal Society of Victoria, please submit (as a separate document) a completed Royal Society of Victoria Membership Application Form for 2021 Prize applicants. Student membership for all eligible Prize applicants will be free of charge for the remainder of 2021.

The Royal Society of Victoria may re-classify the field of an application if it fits best in a field other than the one nominated by the applicant.

The Society reserves the right not to consider applications that do not comply with the above requirements and not to make an award if there is no suitable candidate.


On the basis of the written abstracts, the judges will select a short list of two candidates in each of the four fields of Biomedical and Health, Biological (Non-human), Earth Sciences and Physical Sciences.

The award is based on demonstration of the applicant’s excellence in scientific research, ability to communicate scientific information clearly and succinctly to an audience of scientists and members of the general public on their particular research field and to answer questions from the audience.

Finalists from the 2020 competition with RSV leaders.

Anticipating the continuation of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on gatherings in 2021, each of the short-listed candidates will be required to give a 10 minute oral presentation to camera at the Society’s premises during July, followed by 5 minutes of discussion with a general audience of scientists and members at the Society at an online conference, to be livestreamed during National Science Week on the evening of Thursday, 19th August, 2021 commencing from 6:30pm. Finalists who are unable to present cannot be considered for an award. The order of speaking is decided by ballot on the night. Attendance at the presentations are open to supervisors, fellow students, friends and families as well as Members of the Society and the general public.

The winners will be judged and announced on the night, when the prize and a certificate will be presented by the Society’s President.

The Awards:

Radhika De Silva
Radhika De Silva with RSV President David Zerman in 2018.

The successful candidates will each receive a certificate and a prize of $1000. Winners will also receive free student membership of the Royal Society of Victoria for a period of two years and the opportunity to participate in the Society’s programs and access our professional networks for mentoring and collaboration as desired. The runners-up each receive a certificate and a prize of $500 plus free student membership of the Royal Society of Victoria for a period of two years.


Chief Executive Officer, The Royal Society of Victoria, 8 La Trobe Street, Melbourne 3000 Telephone: (03) 9663 5259 or email .