The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) is a leading entity of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) with responsibility for establishing international standards in stratigraphy, such as the Geological Time Scale and the International Chronostratigraphical Scale, defined by Global Stratotype Section and Points (GSSPs).

Stratigraphy is the core discipline of the geological sciences, concerned with the relationships in time and space of rocks (not just sedimentary, but also igneous and metamorphic rocks) and the varied processes that have formed and affected them. Results and interpretations deriving from other disciplines can only be integrated into a coherent all-embracing geological history if they are based on sound stratigraphy.

About our Prizes

To emphasise this key role of stratigraphy, the International Commission on Stratigraphy awards two ICS Prizes to outstanding geoscientists every four years during an International Geological Congress, and since 2015 during the ICS’ STRATI conferences.

The awards are made at two levels:

  1. The Digby McLaren Medal is awarded to honour a significant body of internationally important contributions to stratigraphy sustained over a number of years. The contributions can be in research (through publication of papers, monographs or books) or in education (through development of influential educational material or resources). It is expected that a major proportion of this work will have been published in an international language. The medal is named in honour of the Canadian geologist Digby McLaren who was influential in developing the key “golden spike” concept of a GSSP with reference to the Silurian– Devonian boundary, and a major force behind the International Geological Correlation Programme (IGCP) of UNESCO.

  2. The ICS Medal is awarded to honour high-quality research in stratigraphy by recognizing a single major achievement in advancing stratigraphical knowledge. The research can be in a) the development of new methods of analysis, b) the presentation of significant discoveries, or c) the interpretation of the geological history of a particular area or time interval. There are no limitations to the size or scale of the subject matter. The geographical scope of the work need not be international, but the work should be of an international scientific calibre. The language of publication of the work is not a criterion, and it may comprise a single paper of distinction or a series of papers that have similar impact.

Nominations and Selection

Nominations for either of the awards are solicited from any source, not restricted to members of the Commission or other entities within IUGS. Nominations should include a brief biographical background of the Nominee, a reasoned case based on the Nominee’s contributions, and, if necessary, translation into English of at least abstracts of this material so that independent judgement can be made.

The ICS has established a committee to elicit and evaluate nominations for the two prizes, and afterwards to make recommendations to all members of ICS, who must then approve the nominations by a clear majority vote. The committee includes Laia Alegret (University of Zaragoza, Spain), Lucia Angiolini (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy), Marissa Betts (University of New England, Australia), Thomas Servais (University of Lille, France) and Shuzhong Shen (Nanjing University, China, and Vice-Chair of ICS).

Nomination documents should be submitted to:

Dr. Laia Alegret,
Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad de Zaragoza,
Calle Pedro Cerbuna, 12,
E-50009 Zaragoza,

Tel: 0034 876553465 e-mail:

Nomination deadline: 13 February 2023

For further information please contact a member of the committee.

Previous Winners



Digby McLaren Medal
Phil Gibbard

Cambridge, UK
See details


ICS Medal
Shuzhong Shen

Nanjing, China
See details



Digby McLaren Medal
Andrew Miall

Toronto, Canada
See details


ICS Medal
Aitor Payros

Bilbao, Spain
See details



Digby McLaren Medal
Stig Bergström

Columbus, Ohio, USA
See details


ICS Medal
Peter Sadler

Riverside, California, USA
See details



Digby McLaren Medal
Carlton Brett

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
See details


ICS Medal
József Pálfy

Budapest, Hungary
See details



Digby McLaren Medal
Jan Hardenbol

Houston, Texas, USA
See details


ICS Medal
Stephen Hesselbo

Oxford, United Kingdom
See details