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Innovations in Palaeontology Lecture Series and the PalAss Exceptional Lecturer

The Innovations in Palaeontology Lecture Series, to be delivered by the PalAss Exceptional Lecturer, aims to promote palaeontology to the wider academic community and to recognize excellence in research among palaeontologists. The PalAss Exceptional Lecturer is selected in a competitive process.

This scheme aims to:

  • Disseminate innovative palaeontological research to the broader academic community.
  • Raise the profile of palaeontology within the Earth sciences and related fields.
  • Recognize outstanding research and science communication in palaeontology among members of the Association.

What we are looking for:

  • A topic that showcases palaeontology as a progressive and innovative subject that engages with related subject areas such as various branches of biology, geography, environmental science, engineering, or any other field. 
  • An enthusiastic and engaging communicator with a proven track record, commensurate with experience, of scientific achievement in the chosen topic.
  • We encourage applications from candidates at any career stage who have a demonstrable track record of independent and innovative scientific achievement, which is normally demonstrated by having completed a PhD in palaeontology or a related field, and innovative scientific publications.  

Format of the scheme:

  • One PalAss Exceptional Lecturer will be selected each year in a competitive process.
  • The PalAss Exceptional Lecturer is expected to give five lectures at five different institutions over a nine-month period. Our expectation is that these lectures will be a combination of in person and on-line/virtual; the precise combination can be worked out with the successful applicant, but a willingness to deliver via both formats is necessary. 
  • In addition, the Exceptional Lecturer will deliver the Innovations in Palaeontology lecture at the Annual Meeting (or a similar event), which may be livestreamed on the Association's YouTube channel or similar.
  • The successful applicant will receive the Innovations in Palaeontology Lecture Series Grant, which will be administered by the home institution of the PalAss Exceptional Lecturer.
  • The Grant may only be used to pay the reasonable travel costs incurred by the PalAss Exceptional Lecturer to visit each of the host institutions (up to £2,000 for the total Innovations in Palaeontology Lecture Series with a maximum of £500 for any individual in person lecture). The host institutions will cover costs for accommodation (where necessary) and hospitality.
  • Any academic institution (universities and/or museums) from any country can apply to participate in the Innovations in Palaeontology Lecture Series as a host institution.
  • Host institutions will be selected by the Exceptional Lecturer and the Association with the goal to maximise the scheme’s impact.
  • Any unused funds must be returned to PalAss after delivery of the final lecture. Should the PalAss Exceptional Lecturer move institutions within the timeframe of the lecture series, any unspent funds must remain available to the PalAss Exceptional Lecturer.

Eligibility and application procedure:

  • Eligible candidates can demonstrate (e.g. their publication record) significant innovative scientific work in palaeontology.
  • Applicants can reside in any country, but must be members of the Association.
  • Candidates must self-nominate.
  • To self-nominate, candidates must provide via our online submission form:
    • a brief abstract (max. 300 words) and title for their proposed lecture which outlines the subject matter of the proposed lecture and details how it communicates innovation in palaeontology as a science that is of interest to related academic disciplines.
    • a brief summary of their educational history 
    • list up to five of their publications that are relevant to the proposed lecture 
  • After review of the submissions, short-listed applicants will be invited to present a five-minute lightning talk to the Association’s Exceptional Lecturer committee to demonstrate their ability to communicate their chosen topic in an engaging manner and to clearly articulate how this topic is innovative and of broad interest to one or more related discipline(s).  

Selection of the Exceptional Lecturer:

  • All applications will be evaluated by the Association’s Exceptional Lecturer committee, which is composed of the meeting coordinator and at least two other Council members.
  • Short listed applicants will be invited to a five-minute lightning talk at a designated time and date.
  • Lightning talks will be evaluated based on the ability of the applicant to communicate in an engaging way and how the subject matter demonstrates that palaeontology is a progressive and innovative subject that is relevant to other fields.
  • The educational history of applicants will only be consulted when the committee cannot decide between two or more candidates. In such cases, the Association aims to support applicants from earlier career stages and underrepresented groups. 


  • 15th of November, 23:59 GMT: Deadline for nominations for the PalAss Exceptional Lecturer.
  • Late November: Lightning talks of applicants to the Exceptional Lecturer committee
  • December: The PalAss Exceptional Lecturer will be announced at the Annual General Meeting.
  • January – 1st of May: Call for host institutions to apply to host the Exceptional Lecturer
  • December: The PalAss Exceptional Lecturer will be announced at the Annual Meeting.
  • September – May: Delivery of lectures.


Apply for the PalAss Exceptional Lecturer 

Register interest as host institution for the Innovations in Palaeontology Lecture Series

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