Molecular geneticist Professor Noreen Murray died last year aged 76, leaving an estate worth £9 million.
In the early 1970s, she and her husband, Sir Kenneth Murray, led the development of genetic engineering.
The couple also helped to develop the first vaccination against hepatitis B approved for use in humans.
Their work put Edinburgh and the UK at the head of a revolution in scientific research.
Mrs Murray was born in Read, near Burnley in Lancashire, in 1935 and grew up in Bolton le Sands. She left the £2m to the Royal Society in London.