The John Scott Legacy Medal and Premium, created in 1816, is a medal presented to men and women whose inventions improved the "comfort, welfare, and happiness of human kind" in a significant way. Since 1919 the Board of Directors of City Trusts of Philadelphia provide this award, recommended by an advisory committee.
In 1822 the first awards were given to thirteen people by the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture entrusted by the "Corporation of the city of Philadelphia".
The druggist John Scott of Edinburgh organized a $4,000 fund which, after his death in 1815 was administered by a merchant until the first award, a copper medal and "an amount not to exceed twenty dollars", was given in 1822. (At the time, $20 could buy one ox or a 12-volume encyclopedia.) Several hundred recipients have since been selected by the City Council of Philadelphia, which decides from the annual list of nominees made by the Franklin Institute.
Most awards have been given for inventions in science and medicine. Famous recipients include Madame Curie, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, Nikola Tesla, Edwin Land, Jonas Salk, Irving Langmuir, Benoît Mandelbrot, Robert Burns Woodward, Glenn Seaborg, Edgar Sharp McFadden, Frederick G. Banting, Humberto Fernandez Moran, Luis W. Alvarez, Guglielmo Marconi, William T. Bovie, John Bardeen, Kary B. Mullis, Alexander Fleming, Lyle Goodhue, Ralph L. Brinster, and Professor Richard E. Smalley.
In 2010, the award went to Christian J. Lambertsen.
In 2013, the award was given to biochemist and biophysicist P. Leslie Dutton and to two physicians working with birth defects, N. Scott Adzick and Robert L. Brent.