Linda Mealey Awards

Each year, ISHE gives up to five Linda Mealey awards to junior scientists for new research of high quality in human ethology reported at each biennial Congress. The research will be within the ethological paradigm. Work reporting, or well founded in, direct observation of behaviour will be favoured. Work on non-human species will be considered if clearly relevant to the ethological study of human behaviour.

The award consists of:

  • US$2000.
  • full membership in ISHE for 2 years
  • waiving the conference fee to either the next summer school or the next ISHE conference
  • waiving basic accommodation costs (i.e. room in the equivalent of a University dorm ) to that event (either the summer school or conference)
  • free ticket to the banquet at that event
  • contribution to travel costs to the congress or summer school (up to a certain amount)
  • a certificate recording the award


The researcher should have been a graduate student (i.e. not yet having a PhD), when the work reported was carried out, and currently still be a pre doctoral student or post doctoral for less than one year. Candidates may enter for an LMA more than once, but may only win one award.


To apply for an LMA, the student should do the following:

  • Submit a paper to the conference in the usual way, noting that they wish to enter the LMA competition.

If the paper is accepted:

  • Send a longer abstract of no more than 2500 words at least 3 weeks before the conference. This enables judges to become familiar with the paper and properly to assess the project.
  • Send a very brief CV showing education and academic degrees with the longer abstract.
  • Present the paper at the conference.

Criteria for Evaluation

At least three judges, appointed by ISHE, will read all submissions and see oral presentations. They judge the papers and presentations on the following criteria:

1. Scientific quality:

  • Clear description of the issues being researched
  • Good knowledge of the relevant scholarly literature
  • The study design fits the problem well, it reflects an appropriate level of sophistication in design/method
  • The execution is competent
  • Conclusion is soundly based on empirical findings.

Judges share comments on proposals and rate each out of 10: a 10 rating means that it could not be improved on; a 1 rating means abysmal quality.

2. Ethological relevance

  • Does this research relate to directly observed behaviour in natural environments?
  • Is the research set within an ethological / evolutionary theoretical context?
  • Originality of topic, the question, and the method.
  • Contribution to the field.

Again comments are shared and a rating out of 10 is made: a 10 rating means that it represents the best of the ethological approach.

3. Presentation

  • Quality of written presentation.
  • Quality of oral presentation.
  • Clarity of presentation of background, methods, data, conclusions and ideas.
  • Audience engagement and response to its questions.

Here judges give a rating out of 5. They make allowance if the presenter is not a native English speaker.

The ratings are collated and the judges confer and come to a consensus as to which presentations will be awarded an LMA. Winners are announced towards the end of the conference, usually at the banquet.

After the award

  • Winners of awards contact the Treasurer of ISHE to arrange payment of the award.
  • ISHE encourages some aspect of the research to be submitted to the Society’s Online Journal, The Human Ethology Bulletin.
  • The winner can decide to optimize the value of the travel award in order to participate to an ISHE congress or Summer School in which she/he would not have the chance to participate otherwise. The limit to use up the travel award is 4 years from the time the LMA has been granted.