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Pioneering surgeon honoured at Palace

Thursday 15 February 2001

A second Queen's Anniversary Prize will be presented by Her Majesty The Queen to Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine for outstanding contribution in the area of research and training in surgery at an award ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 15 February.

It recognises the work of the Academic Surgical Unit, led by Professor Ara Darzi, Head of the Department of Surgical Oncology and Technology, Division of Surgery, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Imperial College School of Medicine.

Professor Ara Darzi
Professor Ara Darzi honoured at Buckingham Palace

Professor Darzi and his team at St Mary's hospital, Paddington, are internationally respected for their innovative work in the advancement of Minimal Invasive Surgery (keyhole) and in the development and use of allied technologies such as advanced robotics, and so called Image Guided Surgery.

In addition to its busy clinical activities, the Department is renowned for its world class achievements in developing new technologies and applying them for advanced clinical training of surgeons and surgical teams. Their innovative work in the use of simulations and virtual reality is internationally recognised as showing the way forward for surgical education.

Professor Ara Darzi said: "We are honoured and privileged to receive this distinguish award which acknowledges Imperial College's commitment to excellence in surgical sciences and clinical care".

The Unit's work in the modernisation of health services has also been acknowledged recently by the appointment of Professor Darzi to the National Modernisation Board and the Chairmanship of the London Modernisation Board, implementing the NHS plan.

Professor Ara Darzi
Professor Ara Darzi at St. Mary's Hospital

Sir Richard Sykes, Rector, Imperial College said: "Imperial College is very proud to receive this prestigious Prize in recognition of Professor Ara Darzi's contribution to the training of future surgeons and for his pioneering work in advancing surgical technologies."

The Queens Anniversary Prize will be presented to the Rector of Imperial College, Sir Richard Sykes and the ceremony will be attended by Professor Darzi. The occasion at Buckingham Palace focuses on the individuals in the institutions awarded. They will be further honoured at a Celebration Banquet held at the Guildhall, City of London, on 14 February.

For further information and images please contact:

Judith H. Moore
Assistant Press Officer
Press Office
Imperial College
Tel: 020 7594 6702

Notes to editors:

1) Images of Professor Darzi are available on request from Judith H. Moore.

2) The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education recognise and reward the outstanding contribution that universities and colleges in the United Kingdom make to the intellectual, economic, cultural and social life of the nation. The Prizes are awarded within the national honours system. The Prizes Scheme was established in 1993 by The Royal Anniversary Trust, a charity set up initially to bring about the national programs to mark the Fortieth Anniversary in 1992 of The Queen's Accession to the Throne.


3) Professor Ara Darzi is Professor of Surgery, and Head of the Department of Surgical Oncology and Technology, Imperial College School of Medicine, St Mary's campus. He is also Tutor in Laparoscopic Surgery, Minimal Access Therapy Training Unit, Royal College of Surgeons of England, and a Consultant Surgeon at St Mary's Hospital, London.

Professor Darzi is a clinical academic - a fully trained specialist medical practitioner employed by Imperial College to undertake research, teach undergraduate medical students, train young doctors and also carry out clinical practice in the National Health Service. He has recently been made a member of the NHS Modernisation Board.

In January 2000 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between The Royal College of Surgeons of England and Imperial College to develop a new method of assessing surgical performance. This is the first collaborative project with a Royal College. Overseen by Professor Darzi, the five-year surgical skills research programme will evaluate: the integration of performance assessment into Royal College courses; the role of computer-based simulation as an adjunct to surgical training and assessment; and the validation of physical and computer-based simulations as assessment tools in the maintenance of optimal surgical performance.

4) Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine is an independent constituent part of the University of London. Founded in 1907, the College teaches a full range of science, engineering, medical and management disciplines at the highest level. The College is the largest applied science and technology university institution in the UK, with one of the largest annual turnovers (UKP330 million in 1998-99) and research incomes (UKP173 million in 1998-99). Web site at