Imperial College London

Outstanding Infectious Disease staff celebrated at 2021 President’s Awards


President's Awards winners Dr Sharron Stubbs, Lesley Rawlinson, Dr Paul McKay and Ruth Tipples

Infectious Disease staff were recognised for their exceptional contributions to the College in this year’s President’s Awards for Excellence.

Members of the Department of Infectious Disease won or were highly commended for a total of eight awards, either as individuals or teams.

The awards were announced at a virtual ceremony attended by Imperial’s President, Professor Alice Gast, along with the College’s Provost, Ian Walmsley, who praised staff for their determination and resilience during the pandemic.  

Recipients of the Provost's Awards for Excellence and Julia Higgins Medal and Awards were also celebrated at the online gathering, along with staff members nominated to attend the Imperial Garden Party in recognition of their hard work over the past year. 

The President’s Awards for Excellence have four streams: Culture and Community, Education, Research, and Societal Engagement. Those awardees judged to have made particularly exceptional contributions within each category are selected to receive the President’s Medal.

Supporting vital COVID research

Among those celebrated at this year’s ceremony were Infectious Disease’s administrative and laboratory and safety teams, who have worked tirelessly to support the Department’s vital contributions to COVID-19 research. 

Represented by Department Manager Ruth Tipples, Infectious Disease's Administrative Team -  Carolyn Newell, Jay Singh Sangha, Michelle Kiely, Emily Wood, Jess Billins, Sophie Dunhill, Brett Onslow, Paula Kirby, Ed Houlihan, Cherry Kingsley, Cassie Tarquini and Yasmin Mallu and the Department's team administrators, PAs, project managers - scooped the President’s Award for Research Support Excellence in recognition of their rapid and efficient work to facilitate Infectious Disease’s COVID-19 response from the outset of the pandemic.

The Department’s Laboratory Management and Safety Team - Dr Sharron Stubbs, Lesley Rawlinson, Dominic Smith, Dr Jacob Lee, Shajna Begum, Dr Nadia Khan, Gurjeet Bhangal, Dr Stephanie D’Arc, Parisa Amjadi, Dr Peter Hayes, Ciaran Mckeown – were also celebrated with the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Health and Safety. The award recognised their significant contributions to enabling vital COVID research, in addition to maintaining the safety of staff and students throughout the pandemic. 

Laboratory Manager Lesley Rawlinson was doubly celebrated, received a Highly Commended for an Individual Award in the same category. 

Representing the Departmental Safety Team at the ceremony, Lesley said: "It's a real pleasure to have our efforts officially recognised."

"I think as a team our philosophy has been simple, encouraging our academics to engage with us, while in return we've worked hard to identify opportunities to reduce the administrative burden and improve efficiency."

"Our success during the COVID pandemic bears out that philosophy, and demonstrates our belief that safety teams in general - and ours in particular - are enablers and not barriers to research."

"We're all really proud to be part of the Department of Infectious Disease."

Collaborative excellence 

Members of the Department were also praised for their participation in groundbreaking collaborative research and engagement projects.

The multidisciplinary Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub, directed by Professor Robin Shattock, received the President’s Award for Outstanding Research Team owing to their cutting-edge vaccine work in response to the pandemic. 

The REACT study team, comprising a world-class team of scientists, clinicians and researchers based across Imperial's Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Ipsos MORI, were awarded the President’s Medal for Outstanding Research Team.

The REACT programme is the largest, most significant piece of research looking at how COVID is spreading within communities across the country.

Elsewhere, Dr Paul McKay, a core member of Imperial’s COVID vaccine team, was Highly Commended for the Achievement Award for Societal Engagement. Dr McKay is part of the Team Halo initiative, a collective of vaccine scientists who produce myth-busting TikTok videos to engage and educate members of the public.

Dr Paul McKay looking through a microscope in Imperial's COVID vaccine research lab
Dr Paul McKay working in Imperial's COVID vaccine research lab

Leading by example

Head of Department Professor Wendy Barclay was celebrated at the ceremony as a recipient of the Leadership Award for Culture and Community. The award recognises staff who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and management at all levels within the College.

Dr Carol Sheppard was also praised for her work as a PhD supervisor, receiving the President’s Award for Outstanding Assistant Supervisor. The award celebrates the valuable contribution that postdocs make towards the supervision of the College’s PhD students.

View the full list of winners


Genevieve Timmins

Genevieve Timmins
Faculty of Medicine Centre

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