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Award for Distinguished Contribution to Practice

This award is aimed at practitioner psychologists for work that has made an outstanding and lasting contribution to a particular area (rather than a culmination of a career in psychology) for the benefit of people or organisations.

This award will likely be made to a psychologist in mid to late career.

The award will confer a commemorative certificate to be presented to the recipient.

Nomination Criteria

Nominees for the Award for Distinguished Contribution should be:

  • current or retired practitioners in any area of professional applied psychology
  • members of the society

Nominations are not limited to UK residents and need not be from society members.

Self-nominations will be accepted; however, an extra referee will be required.

Submit a nomination now.

Assessment Criteria

Nominees will have:

  • Demonstrated Professional Practice in making a major outstanding contribution in one particular work stream or project area (rather than a culmination of a career in psychology.)
  • Invested in Psychology by improving psychological knowledge and understanding in the particular area
  • Impacted on people, organisations or communities
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

This may include:

  • an innovative contribution to the development of what has proved to be an effective therapeutic technique
  • a major contribution towards developing a psychological service that has become a model for the delivery of professional services which others have followed
  • developing and implementing a selection system in a major organisation that increased the validity, utility and fairness of selection and was held up as a model for other organisations to adopt
  • leadership of an initiative which has resulted in policy relating to services such as education, employee selection, decisions on parole, or care of the elderly becoming based on sound psychological principles
  • a pioneering and sustained contribution to the development of a local psychological service which has for instance saved disadvantaged children from a life of crime in a specific local area or provided a model for best practice in dealing with the victims of violence.


Nominations will be considered by the Practice Board at the first meeting in each year.

Judging will be made using the below scoring matrix:

Demonstrated Professional Practice
  • demonstrated best practice including methodological rigour/ethical
  • demonstrated a sustained contribution to a particular area/project
  • a pioneer/showed innovation in practice
  • creative and original achievement
  • showed personal commitment
Invested in Psychology
  • improved psychological understanding/knowledge
  • positive leader of a project, service or organisation
  • collaborated with other professionals in a particular area
  • contributed to the work of the society in particular area
Impacted on people/organisations/communities
  • improved public understanding
  • positive impact on individuals/groups and/or communities
  • national and/or international impact
  • collaboration with the public/clients/experts by experience
Equality Diversity and Inclusion
  • challenged social inequalities (in relation to gender, race, ethnic origin, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability or age)
  • work has directly had significant and continued impact for people from marginalised and oppressed social groups
  • impact in the support of EDI in psychology both within own organisation and in the wider psychology community.
  • has embedded EDI into their own work
  • evidence of contribution to governance and/or taking leadership in EDI

Each member of the Board will complete the matrix by scoring each criteria between 1 and 7 (where 1 = weak, 4/5 = Good and 7 = exceptional).

The scores will be aggregated and averaged for each nominee.

None of the criteria are essential however, a total score of at least 45 will be required to confer an award.

The Board may award up to 3 distinguished contribution awards or equally may decide not to make an award in any given year.


Members are invited to put forward names for the award.

Member networks represented on the Practice Board may each also nominate a candidate.

Please note:

  • Nominators must send a narrative (1000 words maximum) highlighting the candidate’s achievements and the grounds for nomination.
  • Nominators must also send a full curriculum vitae of the candidate.
  • Nominators must also provide the names and addresses of two potential referees (three for selfnominees), to include at least one current/former work colleague of the candidate, who may be an employer and not necessarily a psychologist (the nominator should not be a referee).
  • Relevant supporting documentary evidence (e.g. an account reported in the media of a professional unit for which the candidate is responsible) may be included.
  • Nominators should assume that the judges have no prior knowledge of the person and project and provide clear information and evidence of how they meet the criteria.
  • Nominators should use active language, and where the work is carried out as part of a team, make it clear what the individual contributed and how this differed from others.

Conflicts of Interest

Nominators must declare all personal and professional conflicts of interest – e.g. if nominating a spouse/partner or other relation.

Conflict of interest will not prevent acceptance of the nomination, but will be borne in mind by the awarding panel when considering the award.

If there is found to be a conflict of interest that has not been declared, the nomination will be withdrawn.

Previous recipients

Please note: recipients prior to 2017 will have received the 'Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in Practice Award'.

  • Dee Anand
  • Lisa Cameron MP  
  • Professor Kate Tchanturia
2019 Rona Moss Morris
  • Ernesto Spinelli
  • Vivien Swanson
2016 Dr Joanna North
2015 No award
2014 Guy Holmes
2013 No award
2012 No award
2011 Nimisha Patel
2010 Rosamund (Roz) Shafran
2009 David Lane and Graham Turpin
2008 Paul Chadwick
2007 Tommy Mackay
2006 Mark Hayward
2005 Gill Aitken
2004 David Bartram
2003 Graham Towl
2002 Irvine S. Girsch
2001 Michael Carroll
2000 Gus Baker, John Coleman, Sue McGraw, Rea Reason, Peter Saville and Barbara Wilson
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