The Ross Harrison Prize was established in 1981 to recognize scientists whose contributions have significantly advanced the field of developmental biology, and has come to be acknowledged as the premier recognition of achievement in the field. The Harrison Prize is awarded once every four years at a ceremony at the ISDB Congress. The recipient of the Harrison Award delivers a lecture at the ISDB meeting and is presented with the Harrison Medal. The first Harrison Prize was awarded in 1981 to Donald D. Brown for his molecular approach to the elucidation of developmental mechanisms in the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis.
The Harrison Medal shows an image of Ross Granville Harrison (1870-1959), based on a picture of Harrison (courtesy of Judy Cebra-Thomas and Scott Gilbert) on one side, and pictures of cells taken from a paper by Harrison (Harrison (1910) The outgrowth of the nerve fiber as a model of protoplasmic movement. J Exp Zool, 9: 787-846) on the other side. Ross Granville Harrison is credited as the first to successfully grow cells in vitro and by making important contributions to embryology and the symmetries during limb development, using Ambystoma punctatum (salamander, in the picture). The medal was designed by Claudio Stern (ISDB president 2010-2014).