The medal is awarded by The Royal Society, the independent scientific academy of the United Kingdom with a Fellowship of some 1,600 of the world’s most eminent scientists, dedicated to promoting excellence in science for the benefit of humanity.
The Croonian Medal and Lecture was awarded to Professor Holmes for being a global authority on virus evolution and emergence, including playing a key role in the discovery and characterisation of SARS-CoV-2 and the first to publicly release the genome sequence.
Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Sydney Professor Mark Scott, said, “I warmly congratulate Professor Holmes on this outstanding achievement, a fitting tribute to his dedicated work on viruses over decades, with lasting and profound benefits to society.
“The motto of the Royal Society translates to ‘take nobody’s word for it’ which includes an undertaking to verify statements by facts determined by experiment. Professor Holmes and legions of his academic colleagues exemplify what such a commitment contributes to the common good.”
The Croonian Medal has been awarded by the Royal Society since 1738, and past recipients include Francis Crick, who identified DNA and the double helix; Joseph Lister, the pioneer of antiseptic surgery and Howard Florey, the developer of penicillin. In 2022 it was awarded to Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser for playing a central role in two of the most important discoveries regarding the nature and perception of plant hormones, and for contributions to gender equality in science.