Distinctions, Major Prizes, and Grants awarded to ESEB members

Our academic members are highly active and successful researchers at all career levels, and their scientific excellence is often recognized by specific distinctions. Below you will find an overview of major prizes, grants, and distinctions awarded to ESEB members within the last three decades. Please do not hesitate to update our list by sending an email to the ESEB office (office@eseb.org) at any time.

Prizes & Awards


International prize, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (crafoordprize.se)

1999 – John Maynard Smith, UK

Darwin-Wallace Medal

International prize, awarded by the Linnean Society of London (linnean.org)

2018 – Josephine Pemberton, UK

2015 – Roger Butlin, UK

2013 – Godfrey Hewitt, UK

2012 – Loren H. Rieseberg, CA

2010 – Brian Charlesworth, UK

2009 – Nick Barton, AT; John Maynard Smith, UK


International prize, awarded by the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (leopoldina.org)

2015 – Detlef Weigel, DE

2013 – Nick Barton, AT

Hamilton Award

International prize, awarded by the International Union for the Study of Social Insects (iussi.org/)

2018 – Jacobus J. (Koos) Boomsma, DK

Humboldt Research Award

International prize, awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (humboldt-foundation.de)

2001 – Jacobus J. (Koos) Boomsma, DK

Karl Ritter von Frisch-Medal

International prize, awarded by the German Zoological Society (dzg-ev.de)

2016 – Diethard Tautz, DE

Lilly Award in Biomedical Science

Spanish science award, awarded by the Fundación Lilly (fundacionlilly.com)

2013 – Andrés Moya, ES

Linnean Medal

International prize, awarded by the Linnean Society of London (linnean.org)

1995 – John Maynard Smith (†2004), UK

Marcel Benoist Prize

Swiss science prize, awarded by the Marcel Benoist Foundation (marcel-benoist.ch)

2015 – Laurent Keller, CH

Mexico Award for Science and Technology

Iberian-American science prize, awarded by the Mexican Government (ccc.gob.mx/premiomx/)

2015 – Andrés Moya, ES

National Latsis Prize

Swiss science prize, awarded by the Fondation Latsis Internationale (fondationlatsis.org)

2000 – Laurent Keller, CH

1988 – Paul Schmid-Hempel, CH

NISTEP Award (The Researchers with Nice Step)

Japanese Science and Technology Prize, awarded by the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP), Japan (nistep.go.jp/en)

2015 – Kentaro K. Shimizu, CH

Premio Nacional de Genética (National Genetics Award)

Spanish Science Prize, awarded by the Sociedad Española de Genética (segenetica.es)

2012 – Andrés Moya, ES

Elected EMBO Members

Siv Andersson, SE | Nicholas H. Barton, AT | Paul Brakefield, UK | Brian Charlesworth, UK| Deborah Charlesworth, UK | Dieter Ebert, CH | Santiago Elena, SP | Laurent Keller, CH | Loeske Kruuk, AU| Isabelle Olivieri (†2016), FR | Josephine Pemberton, UK | Nina Wedell, UK | Stuart West, UK

Honorary doctorates

2016 – Andrés Moya, ES – Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP)

2015 – Stephen Stearns, US – University of Zurich

2010 – Jacobus J. (Koos) Boomsma , DK – University of Helsinki


European Research Council (ERC) Grants

ERC Grants are one of the most prestigious science awards in Europe and are presented by the European Research Council annually. There are three main grant types: Starting Grants for “young research talents with proven potential of becoming independent researchers”, Consolidator Grants for “excellent mid-career scientists to consolidate their research team”, and Advanced Grants for “top independent research leaders to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects”. All ERC grant types offer substantial funds that allow the winners to tackle more complex research projects over the 5-year funding period.

Until 2016, about 4% of the senior ESEB members received one of the ERC grants. For further information on each of the listed projects, please click on the acronym of the project title and follow the link.

Advanced ERC Grant Recipients

Nicolas Barton, AT: SelectionInformation – Limits to Selection in Biology and in Evolutionary Computation

Jacobus J. (Koos) Boomsma, SE: ANTS – Attine ANT SymbiomeS

Paul Brakefield, UK: EMARES – Exploring Morphospaces in Adaptive Radiations to unravel Ecological Speciation

Roger Butlin, UK: BARRIERS – The evolution of barriers to gene exchange

Deborah Charlesworth, UK: GUPPYSEX – Evolutionary genetics of guppy sex chromosomes

Dieter Ebert, CH: MicrobiotaEvolution – A phylogenetic and experimental approach to understand the evolution of microbiota

John Endler, UK: SensoryEvolution – Using Sensory Biology and Environmental Conditions to Predict the direction of Evolution

Tatiana Giraud, FR: EvolSexChrom – Testing new hypotheses on the evolution of sex-related chromosomes

Christopher Jiggins, UK: SpeciationGenetics – The genomic architecture of speciation in tropical butterflies

Laurent Keller, CH: Social life – The evolution of social life and division of labour

Laurent Keller, CH: ResiliANT – Resilience in ant societies

Josephine Pemberton, UK: WEG – Wild Evolutionary Genomics

Craig Primmer, FI: MATURATION – Age at maturity in Atlantic salmon: molecular and ecological dissection of an adaptive trait

Christian Schlötterer, AT: ArchAdapt – The architecture of adaptation to novel environments

Paul Schmid-Hempel, CH: RESIST – Resistance systems and population structure of parasites

Diethard Tautz, DE: NewGenes – The role of de novo evolution in the emergence of new genes

Marcel E. Visser, NL: E-Response – Evolutionary responses to a warming world: physiological genomics of seasonal timing

Franz Weissing, NL: AdaptiveResponse – The evolution of adaptive response mechanisms

Stuart West, UK: Cooperation – Evolutionary explanations for cooperation: microbes to humans

Stuart West, UK: Division – Division of Labour and the Evolution of Complexity

Rolf Zeller, CH: INTEGRAL – Signal Integration by Gene Regulatory Landscapes


Consolidator ERC Grant Recipients

Samuel Alizon, FR: EVOLPROOF – Are HPV vaccines ‘evolution-proof’? Multilevel evolutionary ecology of human oncoviruses

Andrea J Betancourt, UK: TE_INVASION – The evolutionary genetics of transposable element invasions

Rita Covas, PT: COOPERATIVE PARTNER – Partner choice and the evolution of cooperation

Sylvia Cremer-Sixt, AT: EPIDEMICSonCHIP – EPIDEMICS in ant societies ON a CHIP

Julien Cote, FR: ECOFEED – Altered eco-evolutionary feedbacks in a future climate

Juliette De Meaux, DE: AdaptoSCOPE – Using cis-regulatory mutations to highlight polygenic adaptation in natural plant systems

Toni Gabaldon, ES: RETVOLUTION – Reticulate evolution: patterns and impacts of non-vertical inheritance in eukaryotic genomes.

Andy Gardner, UK: SOCIOCOMPLEXITY – Sociocomplexity — new paradigms for understanding complex group-level adaptation

Ashleigh Griffin, UK: SESE – Social Evolution and Social Engineering of bacterial Infections

Felicity Jones, UK: EvolRecombAdapt – Recombination in Adaptive Evolution

Rolf Kümmerli, CH: BactInd – Bacterial cooperation at the individual cell level

Anna-Liisa Laine, FI: RESISTANCE – Resistance evolution in response to spatially variable pathogen communities

Virpi Lummaa, UK: Elephant Project – How elephants grow old

Sara Magalhâes, PT: COMPCON – Competition under (niche) construction

Alexei Maklakov, SE: GermlineAgeingSoma – Getting to the root of ageing: somatic decay as a cost of germline maintenance

Judith Mank, UK: GuppY – Recombination, sex-specific adaptation and evolution of the poeciliid sex chromosomes

Yehu Moran, IL: AntiViralEvo – Unravelling the evolution of antiviral sensors and response systems in animals using the phylum Cnidari

Benoit François Pujol, UK: ANGI – Adaptive significance of Non Genetic Inheritance

Tanja Schwander, CH: No Sex No Conflict  – Evolutionary Consequences of Arrested Genomic Conflict in Asexual Species

Mehmet Somel, TR: NEOGENE – Archaeogenomic analysis of genetic and cultural interactions in Neolithic Anatolian societies

Gavin Thomas, UK: ToLERates – Understanding evolutionary rates on the Tree of Life in time and space

Karine Van Doninck, BE: RHEARotifers Highlight the Evolution of Asexuals: the mechanisms of genome evolution in the absence of meiosis


Starting ERC Grant Recipients

Jessica Abbott, SE: ComplexSex – Sex-limited experimental evolution of natural and novel sex chromosomes: the role of sex in shaping complex traits

Thomas Bataillon, DK: ADAPT – Origins and factors governing adaptation: Insights from experimental evolution and population genomic data

Trine Bilde, DK: EcoGenomicInbreeding – Comparative studies of inbreeding effects on evolutionary processes in non-model animal populations

Michael Brockhurst, UK: COEVOCON – Coevolution of bacteria and conjugative plasmids

Yingguang Frank Chan, DE: HybridMiX – Genetic Mapping of Evolutionary Developmental Variation using Hybrid Mouse in vitro Crosses

Anne Charmantier, FR: SHE – Multi-Level Selection in a Heterogeneous Environment

Sylvia Cremer-Sixt, AT: SocialVaccines – Social Vaccination in Ant Colonies: from Individual Mechanisms to Society Effects

Philipp Engel, CH: MicroBeeOme – Evolution of the honey bee gut microbiome through bacterial diversification

Isabel Gordo, PT: ECOADAPT – Microbial adaptation within ecosystems

Angela Hancock, DE: CVI_ADAPT – Unraveling the history of adaptation in an island model: Cape Verde Arabidopsis

Simone Immler Maklakov, SE: HapSelA – Haploid selection in animals: investigating the importance of genetic and epigenetic effects in sperm

Jeffrey Jensen, US: DETECT – Describing Evolution with Theoretical, Empirical, and Computational Tools

Tobias Kaiser, DE: EVOCLOCK – From Evolution to Clockworks:Unravelling the molecular basis of circalunar clocks

Kayla King, UK: COEVOPRO – Drivers and consequences of coevolution in protective symbiosis

Sara Mitri, CH: EVOMICROCOMM – Evolving interactions in microbial communities

Anna-Liisa Laine, FI: PATHEVOL – Linking Pathogen Evolution and Epidemiology

Virpi Lummaa, UK: Human lifespan – Mothers, grandmothers and the evolution of prolonged lifespan in humans

Roderick Craig MacLean, UK: RESISTEVO – The evolution of antibiotic resistance: integrating molecular mechanisms of resistance and evolutionary context

Alexei Maklakov, SE: AGINGSEXDIFF – Aging Differently: Understanding Sex Differences in Reproductive, Demographic and Functional Senescence

Judith Mank, UK: Avian Dimorphism – The genomic and transcriptomic locus of sex-specific selection in birds

Alistair McGregor, UK: ESED – Evolution of sensory organ morphology: genetic analysis of eye size evolution in Drosophila

Frederic Mery, FR: GEVM – Genetic and Environmental Variation of Memory phases

Sara Mitri, CH: EVOMICROCOMM – Evolving interactions in microbial communities

Stephen Montgomery, UK: MuBoEx – Mushroom Body Expansion in Heliconius butterflies

Edward Morrow, UK: 2Sexes_1Genome – Sex-specific genetic effects on fitness and human disease

Jane Reid, UK: PolyInbreed – Coevolutionary Quantitative Genetics of Polyandry and Inbreeding in the Wild: New Theory and Test

Jens Rolff, DE: EvoResIn – Multidrug resistance and the evolutionary ecology of insect immunity

Laura Ross, UK: PGErepro – How to break Mendel’s laws? The role of sexual conflict in the evolution of unusual transmission genetics

Marjo Saastamoinen, FI: META-STRESS – Unravelling life-history responses and underlying mechanisms to environmental stress in wild populations

Florian Schiestl, CH: FLORSIGNALS – Evolution and consequences of floral signaling in plants

Jon Slate, UK: AVIANEGG – Evolutionary genetics in a ‘classical’ avian study system by high throughput transcriptome sequencing and SNP genotyping

Tanja Slotte, SE: SuperGenE – Supergene evolution in a classic plant system – bringing the study of distyly into the genomic era

Olivier Tenaillon, FR: GENPHENBACT – Genetic and Phenotypic Modelling of Bacterial Evolution

Karin Westerdahl, SE: Optimal-Immunity – Optimal diversity in immunity – to overcome pathogens and maximize fitness; moving from correlative associations to a more mechanistic understanding using wild songbirds.

Beatriz Vicoso, AT: SexAntag – Prevalence and Influence of Sexual Antagonism on Genome Evolution