A WELL-KNOWN historian and a space exploration pioneer are among the first winners of new awards recognising talent among senior experts and academics, entrepreneurs, artists and professionals at the early stages of their career.

Professor Tom Devine, the renowned historian, Professor Geoffrey Gadd, world pioneer in the growing field of geomicrobiology, and Professor Colin McInnes, a key player in developing sails for space missions were the first three senior winners of The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s RSE Prize.

The award incorporates most of the previous annual awards the society offered, while keeping some separate accolades in specific areas.

The society updated its awards structure after the formation of the RSE Young Academy, which was set up last year for innovative younger academics and business people with the aim of harnessing their talent.

The RSE/Makdougall Brisbane Medal, recognising achievements of early career researchers in the physical sciences, was  jointly awarded. Dr Sharon Ashbrook, reader in physical chemistry at St Andrews, University, was recognised for her outstanding scientific quality and leadership record and for her commitment to excellence in all areas of academic life.

Dr Rob Jenkins, senior lecturer at the School of Psychology, at Glasgow University, was recognised for his outstanding scientific creativity, the inter-disciplinary reach of his research and his passion for science communication.