Skip to main content

The Edinburgh Award 2023

04 Sep 2023

The Capital is once again searching for a worthy recipient of the coveted Edinburgh Award, with nominations for the 2023 Award now open.

To broaden the range of nominees it has been agreed to widen the eligibility criteria to include people who have ‘a substantial association with Edinburgh’. The update was approved at a meeting of the City of Edinburgh Council last week (Thursday 31 August).  

Previously, some nominations received have been excluded due to an individual not having been born or lived in Edinburgh. Consequently, the Edinburgh Award Panel agreed unanimously to reflect this by adding in ‘substantial association with Edinburgh’ and the panel is particularly keen to welcome nominations which reflect the diversity of the city.

Since 2007, the Edinburgh Award has celebrated an individual who has made a truly unique contribution to the city. With the new criteria it means that someone can now be nominated - whether or not they were born or lived in Edinburgh - if they have gained national and international recognition for Scotland’s Capital through their work.

The 2022 recipient was Sir Geoff Palmer, in recognition of his ground-breaking contributions to academia, his indefatigable defence of human rights in Edinburgh and beyond, and most recently his work heading up the Edinburgh Slavery and Colonialism Legacy Review Group. Sir Geoff was presented with an engraved Loving Cup from the Lord Provost and had his handprints set in stone at the City Chambers quadrangle.

Edinburgh has four weeks to cast nominations for this year’s award, before a recipient is selected by a panel chaired by the Lord Provost.

The Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Robert Aldridge, has urged individuals and businesses in the Capital to nominate someone for the Award:

“I am delighted that common sense has prevailed and someone who clearly has a substantial association to Edinburgh will be eligible to receive the Edinburgh Award.

“Edinburgh has been a global force in many fields, for over two centuries and this is down to the character, achievement, and excellence of our citizens. The Edinburgh Award represents an opportunity to celebrate exceptional individuals who make Edinburgh the fantastic city we see today and have enhanced the city’s reputation nationally and internationally.

“By nominating someone you can help us showcase these people and give that person the recognition and praise they deserve.

“From outstanding individual feats to the work of community groups, as Lord Provost I am consistently inspired by the ways in which the citizens of Edinburgh calmly persevere and look out for one another. This speaks to the very heart of our capital city and is a source of huge personal pride. If this reminds you of someone, I urge you to put forward a nomination.

“Edinburgh, its reputation, and its enduring global appeal is down to its people. Now looking for its 17th recipient, The Edinburgh Award needs the help of our communities, citizens and businesses to come together and find a worthy winner.”

Nominations for the Edinburgh Award 2023 are now open until 5pm on Monday 2 October 2023.  

More details about the criteria for the Edinburgh Award 2023 and to submit a nomination can be found on the Council website


    Submit a nomination for the Edinburgh Award 2023


    Nominations are invited for an individual who you think deserves to be presented with the award and meets the following criteria:

    • Was born in Edinburgh, has lived in the city for the past 12 months or has a substantial association with Edinburgh
    • Has not previously been awarded The Freedom of the City
    • Is not a previous recipient of The Edinburgh Award
    • Is not a serving politician

    Edinburgh Award recipients

    2022 Sir Geoff Palmer
    2021 Fergus Linehan
    2020 Alexander McCall Smith
    2019 Ann Budge
    2018 Doddie Weir
    2017 Sir Timothy O'Shea
    2016 Ken Buchanan MBE
    2015 Sir Tom Farmer 
    2014 Thomas Gilzean
    2013 Richard Demarco
    2012 Dame Elizabeth Blackadder
    2011 Professor Peter Higgs
    2010 George Kerr CBE
    2009 Sir Chris Hoy MBE
    2008 JK Rowling OBE
    2007 Ian Rankin OBE

    The Edinburgh Award was established in 2007 and is now a prestigious annual award to honour an outstanding individual who has made a positive impact on the city and gained national and international recognition for Edinburgh. 

    The recipient is presented with an engraved Loving Cup at a ceremony hosted by the Lord Provost and has their hand prints reproduced on a flagstone in the City Chambers quadrangle.