08 September 2020
Professor Robert Plomin, an international leader in behavioural genetics, is the 2020 recipient of the BPS Lifetime Achievement Award.
For more than 45 years Professor Plomin has worked to involve genetics and genomics in our understanding of psychological development. Born in America, he moved to the UK in 1994 to work as the first Medical Research Council Research Professor and start his most famous study: the Twins Early Development Study. This involved more than 10,000 twins, was launched in 1995 and is still running today.
Since then he has been instrumental in developing our understanding of the relationship between genetics, early development and educational achievement. The professor has always maintained that the debate should be nature and nurture rather than nature versus nurture.
With lifetime research achievement awards from every major association related to his research, Professor Plomin is also widely considered to be responsible for the acceptance of genetics within mainstream psychology. This acceptance was proved by his 2017 American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions.
The Research Board also awarded Professor Daniel Freeman the 2020 BPS Presidents’ Award.
Professor Daryl O’Connor, chair of the Research Board said:
"The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Presidents’ Award are two of the highest and most prestigious honours the Society can bestow on its members.
This year we received a large number of incredibly high calibre nominations reflecting excellence in the areas of research, education and practice.
As a result, the Award Committee had a very difficult time deciding upon the winners, but after much deliberation and discussion, we have awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to Professor Robert Plomin and the Presidents’ Award 2020 to Professor Daniel Freeman.
Many congratulations to both winners who have made such distinctive and exemplary contributions to psychological knowledge over a sustained period of time.”