The Bicentenary Medal

Bicentenary Medal

Recognising outstanding contributions in design since 1954.

The RSA Bicentenary Medal was instituted in 1954 to commemorate the founding of the RSA over two hundred years earlier and has been awarded to a variety of individuals for their outstanding contributions to the advancement of design in industry and society.

The RSA Bicentenary Medal was instituted in 1954 to commemorate the founding of the RSA over two hundred years earlier and has been awarded to a variety of individuals for their outstanding contributions to the advancement of design in industry and society.

For over 260 years, we have been at the forefront of promoting design through its competitions and awards, social and public improvement initiatives, education and professional training, furthering of the arts, and lobbying of government.

We remain, more than ever, committed to championing design as an enabler for creating a world where everyone can participate to create a better future. The Bicentenary Medal is one way of continuing to do just that. Historically, the medal has been awarded to inspirational designers because of their outstanding contribution to society. These include Andrea Siodmok in 2015, Sir John Sorrell CBE in 1998, Sir Terence Conran in 1982 and Daniel Christian Wahl in 2021.

In 2022, the medal was awarded to a person who has made an outstanding and demonstrable contribution, through their design practice, towards an equitable and regenerative world where people and planet flourish hand-in-hand in the long-term.

This aligns with our evolving ambitions for where design’s application is most needed today, and our recently launched Design for Life mission and change programme, which seeks to unlock the potential in human, social and natural capital to achieve a more resilient, rebalanced, and regenerative future for all.

2022 medalist – Janine Benyus

Janine Benyus is a biologist, innovation consultant, and author of six books, including Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Since the book’s 1997 release, Janine’s work as a global thought leader has evolved the practice of biomimicry from a meme to a movement, inspiring clients and innovators around the world to learn from the genius of nature.

In 1998, Janine co-founded the world’s first bio-inspired consultancy, Biomimicry 3.8, bringing nature’s designs to clients including Boeing, Colgate-Palmolive, Nike and General Electric. In 2006, she co-founded the Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit dedicated to making biology a natural part of the design process. The Institute hosts annual global biomimicry design challenges on massive sustainability problems, mobilizing tens of thousands of students and practitioners through the Global Biomimicry Network to solve those challenges, and providing those practitioners with the world’s most comprehensive biomimicry inspiration database, Ask Nature.

Learn more about Janine and her work, and explore nature-inspired solutions to some of humanity’s biggest design challenges.

Medal award ceremony: 29 November 2022

Janine Benyus will be awarded the Bicentenary Medal and deliver an acceptance address in an online event on Tuesday 29 November 2022.

The nomination process

As part of The RSA’s ongoing journey to adopt more inclusive and equitable practices, in 2021 we launched a semi-open nomination and review process. We invited a group of 10 nominators across our global community of Fellows and partners to nominate up to three potential medallists each. Nominations are reviewed by a panel that includes a Fellowship Councillor, a Master Royal Designer for Industry, a partner, Student Design Awards alumni, and members of The RSA leadership team. A recommendation is made to the RSA’s Nominations and Governance Panel for final approval.

Regenerative Futures

Discover more about this RSA programme which explores how we can create a future where people and planet flourish hand-in-hand.

Past Bicentenary Medal winners

From 1954 to present day, explore previous winners who have been recognised for their outstanding contribution in design.