Highest UK Honour for University at ceremony in St James Palace

Highest UK Honour for University at ceremony in St James Palace

Members of our School of Biological Sciences have been presented with the Queen's Anniversary Prize - the highest Honour for UK further and higher education - at a ceremony in St James Palace, London.

The prestigious award was granted to the University for world-leading research and education in Soil Science promoting the control of greenhouse gas emissions and sustainable food production.

Scientists at the University have established a world-leading centre of excellence in Soil Science which strives to find solutions to some of society’s greatest threats including the climate crisis and environmental change.

The University made major contributions to the recent COP26 conference in Glasgow.

Representatives of the University were presented with the Queen’s Anniversary Prize by HRH Prince Charles, The Duke of Rothesay and HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, at the ceremony on Thursday, 17 February.

Professor George Boyne, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “It is a great honour to be presented with the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize which is high commendation indeed of the ground-breaking and world-leading research at the University of Aberdeen.

“The impressive work of our soil scientists will make a significant contribution in some of humanity’s greatest challenges including climate change and the deterioration of our global soil resource. It is fitting that our staff and students have been recognised with this coveted award.”

Professor Marion Campbell, Vice-Principal for Research, said: “Understanding soils at all scales enables us to respond to the climate crisis, address food security and rebuild our loss of biodiversity globally.

“The research carried out here in Aberdeen is locally relevant and internationally impactful.

“The award of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize is testament to the excellent work being done by our soil scientists at the University of Aberdeen and I am pleased they have received this recognition.”

Head of the School of Biological Sciences Professor Graeme Paton said: “I could not be prouder of the staff and students at the School of Biological Sciences for receiving this honour.

“Our School is made up of the cleverest minds from around the world who are dedicated to world class research which will benefit future generations. I am delighted that so many of our current and previous hard-working staff have been recognised and honoured at the Queen’s Anniversary Prize celebrations in London.

“This year will be a transformative one for the School of Biological Sciences as well as the wider University with the opening of the Science Teaching Hub and the recruitment of a Director for our new interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Biodiversity.

“The research of our staff and students is making an immense contribution to some of the greatest challenges of our time and it is fitting that their tremendous efforts are recognised with this coveted award.

“The issues we face in maintaining sustainable soils are greater now than ever before and at Aberdeen we have the techniques, skills and people to address these challenges and make a real difference.

“I look forward to seeing the continued impact that the School’s research will have in years to come.”

The Queen’s Anniversary prize, which was established in 1993, is awarded every two years in recognition of world-class excellence and achievement.

Representatives from the University who attended the ceremony in St James Palace and the Awards Reception in the Guildhall included:

  • Professor Sir Iain Torrance, Pro-Chancellor
  • Professor George Boyne, Principal and Vice-Chancellor
  • Professor Marion Campbell, Vice-Principal Research
  • Tracey Slaven, Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary
  • Martina Besong Chukwuma-Ezike, University Rector
  • Julie Ashworth, Senior Governor
  • Professor Graeme Paton, Head of the School of Biological Sciences
  • Professors Pete Smith and Jo Smith, Professors in Plant and Soil Science
  • Dr Gareth Norton and Dr Cecile Gubry-Rangin (both Readers in Plant and Soil Science)
  • Dr Dali Nayak, Research Fellow
  • Dr Emily Schofield, Technician
  • Luke Harrold, Research Student

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