British academy

British Academy and Wiley-Blackwell announce major new prize in psychology
Martin Seligman is named as first prizewinner

The British Academy has joined forces with Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons Inc., to create a major new prize for an outstanding contribution to Psychology.

The Academy’s new Wiley Prize in Psychology, worth £5,000, to be awarded annually, will recognise excellence in research in psychology – alternately rewarding lifetime achievement by an outstanding international scholar and promising early career work by a UK-based psychologist.

The first award, for 2009, will be awarded to one of the world’s leading pioneers of modern psychology – Professor Martin Seligman, currently Albert A Fox Leadership Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the University’s Positive Psychology Center.

Professor Seligman, who was born in New York in 1942, is a world-renowned expert on depression and happiness.  His most recent work has been groundbreaking in helping establish the scientific foundations of human happiness.  His best-selling books include What You Can Change and What You Can’t (1993), The Optimistic Child (1995) and, in 2002, Authentic Happiness.  He has served as President of the American Psychological Association and is founding editor-in-chief of the APA journal Prevention and Treatment Magazine.

Martin Seligman will receive the first Wiley Prize for Psychology in September 2009 at the British Academy’s annual ceremony of prizes and medals, which celebrates outstanding achievement in the social sciences and humanities. The prize is administered by the Academy’s Psychology Section, which comprises 34 Fellows elected for their eminence as psychology scholars and practitioners.  He will also give the 2009 British Academy/British Psychology Society’s Annual Lecture.

The 2010 Wiley Prize will be awarded to a UK-based psychologist whose early career (defined as within five years of receipt of doctorate) shows outstanding promise. Nominations are invited for the 2010 prize (forms are available from:

The President of the British Academy, Baroness O’Neill, said, "I am delighted to be able to announce this important new collaboration between the British Academy and Wiley-Blackwell.  It is vitally important that we celebrate major scholarly achievements in fields such as psychology, which has such a profound impact on all our lives.  And no-one demonstrates that better than Martin Seligman.”

Philip Carpenter, Managing Director, Social Science and Humanities publishing at Wiley-Blackwell, said, "We offer our warmest congratulations to Martin Seligman, whose influence on modern psychology has been immense. And we are very pleased to be joining with the British Academy to recognise and foster ongoing excellence in the field of psychology.  Through this award Wiley seeks to acknowledge the contributions of this community to the Company’s success.”

Martin Seligman said:  “I am grateful for this splendid honour.”


Notes for Editors

The British Academy is the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in these disciplines throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value. For more information about the Academy please go to our website at   

About Wiley: Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. has been a valued source of information and understanding for more than 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfil their aspirations. Wiley and its acquired companies have published the works of more than 350 Nobel laureates in all categories: Literature, Economics, Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, and Peace.

Our core businesses publish scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, encyclopaedias, books, and online products and services; professional/trade books, subscription products, training materials, and online applications and Web sites; and educational materials for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners. Wiley's global headquarters are located in Hoboken, New Jersey, with operations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. The Company's Web site can be accessed at The Company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbols JWa and JWb.

Wiley-Blackwell: Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world’s leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes over 1,400 peer-reviewed journals as well as 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit or

  • For further information on this award please contact Tim Brassell at the British Academy on (UK):  020 7969 5253 or  e-mail:
  • or Susan Spilka at Wiley on + 201 748 6147 or e-mail: