Celebrating Imperial staff for supporting women in academia


Winners of the 2024 Julia Higgins Medal and Awards

Inspirational figures from across Imperial who are championing women in academia have been recognised with community awards.

By championing the cause of gender equality, you not only uplift individuals but also strengthen our entire community. Professor Ian Walmsley Provost

The winners of this year's Julia Higgins Medal and Awards were announced at a special event on Monday 10 June, hosted by Associate Provosts (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Professor Lesley Cohen and Dr Wayne Mitchell.

The accolades are awarded annually to recognize individuals, groups, and departments that have made a significant contribution in supporting women in academia at the university. They are named in honour of Dame Julia Higgins DBE FRS FREng, Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Investigator in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. 

This year six awards and one medal have been announced:

Julia Higgins Medal

  • Christopher Peters, Department of Surgery and Cancer

Julia Higgins Award

  • Anne Barratt, Division of University Secretary
  • Samuel Cooper, Dyson School of Design Engineering
  • Lucia Lombardi, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Shiranee Sriskandan, Department of Infectious Disease
  • Teresa Thurston, Department of Infectious Disease
  • Anique Varleigh, Business School

Imperial's Provost Professor Ian Walmsley congratulated winners at the lunch: "Your exceptional work to support women at Imperial through your advocacy, mentorship, and dedication to gender equality is recognised, and your tireless efforts and inspiring leadership have created a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.

"By championing the cause of gender equality, you not only uplift individuals but also strengthen our entire community. Your contributions are invaluable, and we celebrate your achievements with great pride and gratitude."

Below we have followed up in more detail with two of the award winners.

Shiranee Sriskandan

Shiranee Sriskandan holding her award with Julia HigginsShiranee Sriskandan was awarded a Julia Higgins Award for her outstanding and enduring commitment to advancing the position of women in academia within the Department of Infectious Disease. She has provided generous support to them for over many years including providing invaluable mentorship and support, exemplary leadership and contribution to senior female academic recruitment. In her nomination, her colleagues stated that "her impact extends beyond Imperial, with several of our former research group members establishing successful academic careers at other universities."

Shiranee said, "I am delighted and grateful to receive this award. My late father was a civil engineer who always encouraged women in his field to pursue their goals despite being in a very male dominated environment. I think he would be amused and proud that - despite me being a disappointment by going into medicine - this award recognises something he tried to do, and is named after one of our foremost women engineers."

Anique Varleigh

Anique VarleighAnique Varleigh was awarded in recognition of her exceptional dedication and exemplary contributions in promoting gender and ethnicity initiatives within the Business school and Imperial community, such as the 'Women in Finance Event' for International Women's Day. Her nominations states that Anique "serves as a role model for others to emulate. Her dedication, passion, and integrity serve as an inspiration to her peers and colleagues."

Anique said that "receiving the Julia Higgins Award is an honour that resonates deeply with me, both personally and professionally. It underscores the importance of diversity in driving innovation and progress within our Imperial community. I am passionate about true representation and pushing boundaries in every aspect of my work. This award is a testament to our shared belief that no barrier is too high. To me, this is a thank you for embracing the power of inclusion and a continuation of our journey towards greater equity."


Gordon Short

Gordon Short
Communications Division