Award for Distinguished Contribution to Practice

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

Applications/nominations are now open.

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.


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

Nomination criteria

Nominees for the Award for Distinguished Contribution should be:

  • Members of the society
  • Current or retired practitioners in any area of professional applied psychology

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.

Making a Nomination

Nominators for the Distinguished Contribution to Practice Award:

  • can be members or non-members
  • based in the UK or internationally
  • must complete an application form to show how the candidate meets the criteria.
  • must provide the names and e-mail addresses of two potential referees (three for self-nominees), 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

Nominations for the 2025 award will open soon.

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
  • Involvement in equality, diversity and inclusion forums through practice and challenging the barriers that marginalised communities face in access to psychology

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.
  • Involvement in equality, diversity and inclusion forums, groups, practice and research in furthering best practice and inclusivity


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

Judging will be made using the following scoring criteria:

Demonstrated Professional Practice
  • Demonstrated best practice including methodological rigour and ethics
  • Showed personal commitment
  • Demonstrated a sustained contribution to a particular area/project
  • Impact in particular area outside of primary job role
  • A pioneer/showed innovation in practice
Invested in Psychology
  • Improved psychological understanding/knowledge
  • Contributed to the work of the society in particular area
  • Positive leader of a project, service or organisation
  • Collaborated with other professionals in a particular area
Impacted on people/organisations/communities
  • Collaboration with the public/clients/experts by experience
  • Positive impact on individuals/groups and/or communities
  • National and/or international impact
Equality Diversity and Inclusion
  • Challenged social inequalities through management, practice, or research
  • Demonstrated impact on EDI in psychology within own organisation
  • Demonstrated impact on EDI in psychology within the wider community
  • Has embedded EDI into their own work

Each member of the Board will score each criterion 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 70 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.

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.

How to apply

Please follow the link below to access and complete the application form.

Submit an application now

The deadline for applications/nominations is 10 October 2024.

Please note: we cannot accept late nominations.

Contact us

If you encounter any issues when completing the application form, or require any further clarification, please email [email protected].

Previous recipients

Note that recipients prior to 2017 will have received the 'Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in Practice Award'.


  • Dee Anand
  • Lisa Cameron MP  
  • Professor Kate Tchanturia


  • Rona Moss Morris


  • Ernesto Spinelli
  • Vivien Swanson


  • Dr Joanna North


  • No award


  • Guy Holmes


  • No award


  • No award


  • Nimisha Patel


  • Rosamund (Roz) Shafran


  • David Lane
  • Graham Turpin


  • Paul Chadwick


  • Tommy Mackay


  • Mark Hayward




  • Graham Towl



  • Michael Carroll


  • Gus Baker
  • John Coleman
  • Sue McGraw
  • Rea Reason
  • Peter Saville
  • Barbara Wilson