Paton Prize

Sir William Paton left BTS a bequest to encourage scholarships in the historical aspects of toxicology.  This donation was matched by the BTS and the Paton Prize established with the aim to promote interest in the history of scientific experiments and ideas. The Paton Prize has come to be associated with a distinguished leader in the field who is able to give first hand accounts of ground breaking toxicological discoveries. The successful awardee will be an invited guest at the BTS Annual Congress, where they will receive their award and deliver the Paton Prize lecture.

Candidate Attributes

Awarded to a distinguished leader in the profession of toxicology, safety science and associated disciplines, having made significant scientific contributions in research, teaching, safety assessment and/or regulation.


Biennially in even numbered years

  • Invitation to deliver the Paton Prize Lecture at the Annual Congress
  • Commemorative plaque
  • Registration, accommodation, and travel for the Annual Congress in line with BTS Travel Policy

Normally awarded to a longstanding BTS member who is a distinguished leader in toxicology, independent of age or place of employment.

Application requirements

The nominator should send the following information to the BTS Secretariat:

  • Full CV of the candidate
  • Description (of no more than 1000 words) of the candidate’s career and contributions to national and international toxicology.
  • Brief summary of the reason for the nomination (no more than 250 words), including how the individual fulfils the eligibility for the award
  • Nominations for the award can be made by any member of the BTS
  • Applications should be submitted to the BTS Secretariat in response to a call to the Membership in the year preceding the relevant Annual Congress
  • Applications will be reviewed by the Nominations Sub-Committee (NSC), which makes recommendations for ratification by the Executive Committee
  • The successful awardee will be notified by the President by the end of February preceding the Annual Congress

Portrait of Sir William PatonAbout Sir William Paton (1917-1993)

Wellcome Institute 

Sir William Paton’s career focused on experimental pharmacology, during which he pioneered research on the drug therapy of hypertension, the pathophysiology and treatment of diving sickness and the pharmacology of smooth muscle relaxants. Paton also had a special interest in the history of medicine, serving on the British National Committee for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology to promote high standards in, and a sense of responsibility for, the communication and understanding of science history. He left the BTS a bequest to encourage scholarship in historical aspects of toxicology, and so the Paton Prize was established.

Read about his life and work in his obituary: Bynum (1994) Medical History, 38(2), 207

1998 Prof R Smith

2000 Prof P N Magee

2002 Prof R Estabrook

2004 Prof I Purchase

2006 Prof J Ashby

2008 Prof G G Gibson and Prof P S Goldfarb

2010 Dr F M Sullivan

2012 Dr G Cohen

2014 Prof Sir Colin Berry

2016 Prof T Lock

2018 Prof L Smith

2020 Prof Brian Lake

2022 Prof Faith Williams