Portrait photo of Julia Higgins in her officeThe Julia Higgins Medal and Awards are awarded annually to recognise individuals, groups, and departments that have made a significant contribution to the support of women in academia at the College.

The Medal and Awards are named in honour of Professor Dame Julia Higgins FRS, FREng, Professor of Polymer Science, now a Senior Research Investigator in Chemical Engineering, and previously Dean of the City and Guilds College and Principal of the Faculty of Engineering.

2024 Medal and Awards

Nominations are now open for 2024. The deadline to submit your nominations is Friday 15 March

Please fill out the Julia Higgins Medal and Awards nomination form (Word) and send to the Associate Provost (EDI) email address

Previous Winners


The 2023 Julia Higgins Medal was awarded to Dr Isabel Rabey, Department of Physics.

Julia Higgins Awards were given to:


This year we congratulate the following for their work supporting women at Imperial:

  • Sheena Cardoso, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre
  • Dr Claudia Contini, Department of Chemical Engineering 
  • Professor Saskia Goes, Department of Earth Science and Engineering 
  • Dr Myrsini Kaforou, Department of Infectious Disease 


The winners of the Julia Higgins Awards in 2021 were:


Professor Mary RyanThe 2020 Julia Higgins Medal was awarded to Professor Mary Ryan, Department of Materials. 

Awards in 2020 were given to:


In 2019 two Julia Higgins Medals were awarded to:

  • Dr Jess Wade, Research Associate, Department of Physics
  • Dr Emma Chapman, Research Associate (Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow), Department of Physics

And awards were presented to:

2019 Julia Higgins Medal and award winners with their certificates and medals


The 2017 Julia Higgins Awards were presented to presented Dr Cleo Kontoravdi and Dr Jess Wade. Cleo was recognised for her work improving culture in the Department of Chemical Engineering, including a number of initiatives to support the postdoc community. Jess received the award for her outreach work with schools and her work to support women in physics at the College and beyond.

Julia Higgins Awards presentation 2017


The 2016 Julia Higgins Medal was awarded to Professor Dot Griffiths, Provost's Envoy for Gender Equality, for the fundamental contributions she has made to the support of academic women and the gender culture of the College over many years. 

Hailey Smith, Welcome Service Manager, Human Resources, and Lenne Lillepuu, Department of Life Sciences, received Awards for their work in relation to the College’s Athena SWAN work. 

2016 Julia Higgins award winners


Liz Elvidge presented with MedalThe 2015 Julia Higgins Medal was awarded to Dr Liz Elvidge, Head of the Postdoc Development Centre, in recognition of her work with female postdocs and early career academics.

The 2015 Julia Higgins Awards were awarded to:

Dr Karen Makuch, Academic Women’s Ambassador for the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Lecturer in Environmental Law, Centre for Environmental Policy

Ms Su Nandy, Senior HR Manager, Faculty of Engineering

Dr Lesley Rushton, Reader in Occupational Epidemiology

Dr Vicky Salem, Academic Women’s Ambassador for the Department of Medicine and NIHR Clinical Lecturer, Department of Medicine

Dr Emma Watson, Education Manager in the National Heart & Lung Institute


Athena Gold cake

The 2014 Julia Higgins Medal was awarded to the Department of Chemistry, in recognition of its success in becoming the first College Department to receive a Gold Athena SWAN award.

The 2014 Julia Higgins Awards were awarded to:

Mr Rob Bell from the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Centre

Dr Patricia Hunt from the Department of Chemistry

The Learning and Development Centre

2013 inaugural winners

Professor Lesley Cohen of the Department of Physics wins award

The inaugural Medal was awarded to  Professor Lesley Cohen from Physics. Lesley initiated the activity in support of women academics at the College through her booklet ‘Voices from Women in Science’. This led to the foundation of the Academic Opportunities Committee and a survey of all academic women. What has distinguished Lesley’s work and leadership is her commitment to inspire and enable improvements which benefit the whole College community.

The Department of Chemistry and the National Health and Lung Institute received Julia Higgins Awards for their work in supporting their female academics. Both have engaged in significant cultural transformation which has created benefit throughout their departments.

You can read the full news story with further details about the winners.