The annual President’s Address celebrated the staff, students and alumni who have received external recognition for their work.
Imperial’s President Alice Gast recognised the unprecedented nature of the last year and applauded the tremendous innovation seen across the College whilst staff worked from home and on the front line. This included finding new ways to learn, teach, research, care for our students, and keep the university running. You can read the full President’s Address on the President’s webpages.
President, Alice Gast, said: “As is our tradition, we celebrate the external accolades earned by our colleagues. There is much to celebrate despite the many hardships of the past year. I am delighted to see so many members of the Imperial community being recognised for their hard work. My congratulations go to all staff, students and alumni who have received awards, honours, grants, fellowships and been elected members of learned societies.”
The Provost, Ian Walmsley, also shared a message of congratulations: “It is always wonderful to be able to celebrate the achievements and contributions of the Imperial community, and the external recognition that colleagues have received this year is especially heartening after a long year of disruption. Their work and awards speak to the very broad strengths that underpin the College’s contributions to society, including to tackling the COVID pandemic.”
Over 40 members of the Imperial community were recognised in the 2021 New Year’s Honours and the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours lists. The honours recognised service to a wide range of sectors from Chemistry, Global Neurology, decarbonisation of the UK economy and voluntary work.
Professor James Calder from the Faculty of Engineering received an OBE for services to Sport and Exercise. “It was a great surprise to receive notification of the award and a very good end to a bizarre year. The research into sports has made huge advances in our understanding of the optimal management of sports injuries and this OBE recognises all those involved in the many projects underway at Imperial.”
A particular focus of this year’s honours was the COVID-19 response and many staff and alumni received recognition for their hard work and dedication to tackling the pandemic.
Professor Mark Wilson from the Faculty of Medicine received an OBE for services to charity and the Covid-19 response for his work as a co-founder of GoodSAM. He said: “There are thousands of volunteers and NHS staff who deserve recognition for their work during Covid and it is a privilege that this work has been recognised. The GoodSAM platform saves lives by crowd sourcing resuscitation for those in cardiac arrest and is used globally. Our ability to connect those in need to those who can help resulted in NHS England asking us to recruit and deploy 800,000 NHS Volunteers as part of the Covid response.”
The academic excellence of College staff has been recognised with the awards of Fellowships from several high-profile bodies including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society. The Fellowships awarded support academics building on established research as well as those at the start of their careers.
Dr Sarah Rouse from the Faculty of Natural Sciences received a Fellowship from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) said: “I was delighted to hear I was awarded the Future Leaders Fellowship. It is a long process and there’s a lot of time to replay every sentence of your interview. The award recognises my dual computational and experimental research expertise. My fellowship proposal combines these to drive new research into how lipid molecules are transported and controlled in mitochondrial membranes. These pathways are linked to multiple age-related disorders including cancer and neurodegenerative disease.”
Dr Elisabetta Aurino of the Business School was awarded grants from the British Academy and UKRI for her work on the long-term effects of investment in early childhood education in Ghana and the effects of COVID-19 on child development. Dr Aurino explains “These grants allow us to gather evidence that will be key for devising context-appropriate interventions for supporting children’s education and broader development. This has never been so urgent as the COVID-19 pandemic will have long lasting detrimental effects for children by decreasing their schooling and health and widening pre-existing gaps by gender and socioeconomic status.”
Imperial staff, students and alumni were recognised in a wide range of awards over the last year. Swapnil Jagtap a PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering was named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Europe in the field of Manufacturing and Industry. Swapnil explains “I was recognised for my research that focuses on reducing the carbon impact of aviation. This includes my PhD research which focuses primarily on ultra-energy-efficient aircraft technologies that could improve aircraft’s energy efficiency by approximately 50%, and the use of alternative fuels produced from feedstocks and pathways with low carbon footprints.”
Sebastian Johnston, Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Allergy at the National Heart and Lung Institute received the European Respiratory Society Gold Medal in Asthma in recognition of his outstanding contribution to research in the field of asthma. Professor Johnston said: “I was delighted to hear I had been awarded this highly prestigious award. It is a great honour to join the ranks of the highly illustrious previous winners. I look forward to using the money awarded to continue my investigations into the adverse effects of beta-agonists, to help us to better and more safely treat and prevent acute attacks of asthma.”
Professor George Jackson, Professor Iain McCulloch and Professor Molly Stevens were elected Fellows of the Royal Society. Professor Stevens said: “Being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society was very humbling and more than anything recognises the incredible work that my whole multidisciplinary team has been doing. The types of scientific challenges that we seek to address involve harnessing deep understanding of the biological-material interface to develop innovative materials that solve unmet medical needs in therapeutics and early detection of disease.”
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