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Details and previous winners of the RES Award for Insect Conservation.

Award topicDescription
Award criteriaFor an outstanding contribution to insect conservation; on the basis of ‘lifetime achievement’, or ‘considerable and exemplary contribution’ to a significant project or undertaking.
Prize£400 and Certificate.
EligibilityAny person whose contribution to insect conservation meets the criteria.
CycleAnnual, nominations accepted until 31st December, winners announced in following year.
AdjudicationShortlisting by RES Science, Policy and Society Committee
EntryDetails to Follow March 1st 2024

2022 Winners

Dr Úna Fitzpatrick

Dr Úna Fitzpatrick, from the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Ireland, has been instrumental in increasing insect knowledge and capacity, in particular for bees and other pollinators. In addition to managing the national database of records for bees and hoverflies, Una has had a leading role in training and capacity building of biological recorders. She regularly blogs and interacts with the media to spread awareness about biodiversity and insect recording in Ireland to the general public.

Una has been involved in insect conservation in Ireland and globally for almost 20 years, and has had a huge and transformative role in recording, promoting and conserving insects in that time. Una has had an impressive and varied career to date bridging the gap between ecology, citizen science, the general public and conservation.

Following a degree in Botany, her PhD focussed on plant genetics based on islands in the South Pacific. On finishing her PhD she became also interested in insects, and worked to produce some of the seminal work on bee diversity in Ireland, including the first National Red List of bees ever published (Fitzpatrick et al. 2006) as well as some of the first published literature on bee decline in Ireland (Fitzpatrick et al. 2007b, Fitzpatrick et al. 2007a).

Since 2007, Una has worked as an Ecologist and then Senior Ecologist at the National Biodiversity Data Centre – Ireland’s central repository for national biodiversity data and GBIF node ( Since this time, Una has been an inspiration to biodiversity recorders and citizen scientists around Ireland, and a driving force in national interest in biodiversity, biodiversity monitoring and conservation.

Dr Robert Pyle

Dr Robert (Bob) Pyle Hon.FRES is a poet and general author of note, winner of various literary prizes including a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is an American lepidopterist, writer, teacher, and founder of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Much of his life story is told in the 2020 feature film The Dark Divide, where Pyle is played by David Cross.

Among the books where he brings art and literature to insect natural history are The Art of the Butterfly; Nabokov’s Butterflies; and Chasing Monarchs: A Migration with the Butterflies of Passage (1999), the last an unusual combination of original research presented as a popular book, in which he tracked the southerly migration of western Monarchs over many weeks, thereby demonstrating for the first time that certain individuals crossed the Rockies, providing mixing of the eastern and western populations, which had hitherto been considered separate and more vulnerable.

During three years in 1979-82 at the IUCN/WWF’s international Conservation Monitoring Centre at Cambridge, UK, Bob co-compiled (with Sue Wells) and co-authored the first IUCN Invertebrate Red Data Book, which laid the blueprint for all subsequent global assessments. He then spent two years establishing butterfly conservation in Papua New Guinea – where it was pretty much unknown – including the sustainable breeding of common species for butterfly farms and the conservation of Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing. In Australia, Bob Pyle is revered as one of the ‘big three’ pioneers of global butterfly conservation. He has also taught, lectured and inspired others repeatedly across Europe, as various nations ‘discovered’ and grew concerned about declining butterfly populations.

2021 Winner

Photograph of Professor Claire Kremen, of The University of British Columbia, standing in woodland
Professor Claire Kremen, The University of British Columbia

Professor Claire Kremen Hon.FRES, The University of British Columbia, for her outstanding contribution to insect conservation on the basis of lifetime achievement.

Prof Kremen is an ecologist and applied conservation biologist working on how to reconcile agricultural land use with biodiversity conservation.

2020 Winners

Professor Teja Tscharntke, University of Gottingen, for his outstanding contribution to insect conservation on the basis of lifetime achievement.

Most of Prof Tscharntke’s researches are focused on insects and their ecosystem functions (pollination, biological pest control) with the ultimate aim of their conservation, starting with basic researches such as studies on gall-inducing insect communities of common reed in his early career, and spanning to multidisciplinary studies linking socioeconomic with ecological approaches also in the tropics. He was the first major inventor of trap nests in ecological researches forstdying interactions, such as pollination, parasitism and predation.

Joint award to Dr Mark Young and the late David Barbour – for their outstanding contributions to insect conservation on the basis of lifetime achievement.

Dr Mark Young is seen, without doubt, as Scotland’s foremost microlepidopterist and one of the most eminent microlepidopterists in the UK. He has made significant contributions to understanding the ecology, distributions and conservation of microlepidoptera across the UK but particularly in Scotland (e.g. Young 1996:; Langmaid et al. 2018). Mark has acted as moth recorder for Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire for more than forty years – contributing and verifying thousands of records for the national recording scheme and North East Scotland Biological Records Centre (NESBReC). As one of Scotland’s leading insect conservationalists, Mark’s knowledge and opinion is greatly valued.He is also passionate about passing on his knowledge to younger generations of lepidopterists and entomologists by leading field course and identification workshops and through initiatives such as the Conservation Volunteers and Aberdeen Entomological LCub.

David Barbour was an entomologist who made a major contribution to the conservation of Scottish butterflies and moths, notably the New Forest burnet Zygoena ciciae. Thought to be extinct, probably as a result of excessive collecting in the New Forest, a population was discovered in Argyll in the 1960’s. After a serious decline in the 1980’s, intervention by David and Mark Young resulted in its successful recovery, and it remains the only known population in the UK (Young and Barbour, 2004: Mark Young pers. comm.). David worked as an independent consultant for many years after leaving the Forestry Commssion. His understanding of forestry and land management generally made him well aware of the pressures on biodiversitty and the need to find practical solutions for insect conservation alongside other land uses.

2019 Winner

Professor Michael Samways, University of Stellenbosch, for his outstanding contribution to insect conservation on the basis of lifetime achievement.

Professor Samways focuses on all aspects of insect conservation, both nationally, and internationally. He has been named as one of the Legends of South African Science by the South African Academy of Science of South Africa.

2018 Winners

Mr Mike Edwards for his outstanding contribution to insect conservation on the basis of lifetime achievement.

Mike Edwards has been at the forefront of the study of the aculeate Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants) for the best part of 40 years and has been hugely involved with the popularisation of the group, as well as making a substantial contribution to the conservation of other insects.

Professor Vojtech Novotny, Overseas winner, for his outstanding contribution to insect conservation on the basis of lifetime achievement.

Professor Novotny is an entomologist at the Czech Academy of Sciences, Ceske Budejovice. He divides his time between his home institution in the Czech Republic and the New Guinea Binatang Research Centre (BRC), near Madang, Papua New Guine (PNG). Professor Novotny has directed BRC since the 1990’s and has built the country’s premier field research facility.

2017 winner

Dr Mike Morris for his outstanding contribution to insect conservation on the basis of lifetime achievement.

After 3 years as the V H Blackman Research Scholar in East Malling Research Station, Mike joined the Nature Conservancy’s new research lab at Monks Wood (later NERC’s Institute of Terrestrial Ecology), where he spent 15 years (1961-76) on research into conservation ecology, notably devising innovative field experiments to explore how different types of grassland management can restore and maintain distinctive species-rich-assemblages of insects, especially on lowland calcareous soils.

For the rest of his career – 1976 to retirement in 1994 at the then obligatory age in government service of 60 – Mike Morris was Head of Furzebrook Research Station and ultimately Acting Director of ITE, as well as ITE’s Head of Invertebrate Ecology since 1976. During this second, more managerial period of career, he nevertheless published a stream of important papers in high-ranking journals describing his continuing experiments to maximise insect biodiversity in UK grasslands. In addition, he was exceedingly effective in pursuing ‘extra-mural’ conservation initiatives focused on insects via a series of key positions in learned societies etc, several involving the Royal Entomological Society.

After retirement, Mike became ever more involved in these latter activities and was also appointed (honorary) Scientific Associate at The Natural History Museum, London, combining research and curation of Coleoptera collections, a position he holds to this day. During this time he has pursued his first love of studying ecology, distribution, status and especially taxonomy of British and European weevils, exemplified by his five acclaimed RES Handbooks for the identification of British Insects, each devoted to a major group within this huge super-family (Curculionoidea) of beetles. His important private collection of the weevils of Europe and the Canary Islands has been accepted for incorporation into that of the NHM after death.

2016 winner

Dr Phil Sterling

2015 winner

Dr David Sheppard

2014 winner

The Malloch Society 

2013 winner

Mr Peter Harvey

2012 winner

Mr Steven Falk

2011 winner

Dr Steve Cham

2010 winner

Dr Roger Key

2009 winner

Dr David Lonsdale

2008 winner

Professor Garth Foster

2007 winner

Dr Martin Speight

2006 winner

Dr Martin Warren

2005 winner

Dr Keith Alexander

2004 winner

Mr Alan Stubbs

2003 winner

Dr Tim New

2002 winner

Dr Norman Moore

See also