Royal recognition for global impact

April 16th, 2012

Academics from Nottingham met Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to receive the highest royal honour for university research.

Staff and students visited Buckingham Palace to receive a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, the most prestigious national recognition for UK universities.

The biennial award scheme is part of the UK’s honours system, celebrating excellence, innovation, and impact in the UK’s higher and further education sector. It celebrates winners’ outstanding work which is making a real, practical impact for the benefit of human progress.

The University is home to one of the largest communities of plant, crop, animal and food science experts in the UK.  It won the honour for its cutting-edge research to help feed the world’s growing population, encompassing everything from growing more crops with less fertiliser, to improving the nutrition, safety and taste of food on our plates.

Worldwide, around 1bn people are hungry and nearly 200m children are severely malnourished. With the population expected to increase from 7bn to 9bn by 2050, coupled with climate change, the challenge of feeding the world has never been more pressing.

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor, received the prize from Her Majesty the Queen.

He said: “We are extremely honoured and proud to have received this award for our work in the area of global food security. It recognises the important contribution the University is making to this vital area of research at our UK and Malaysia campuses.

“It also acknowledges the significant input of our staff and research students in furthering understanding in this field and driving forward new initiatives.”

Professor Greenaway was joined by Professor Yang Fujia, Chancellor of the University, and senior academics involved in global food security research: Professor Jerry Roberts, Professor Katherine Smart and Professor Sayed Azam-Ali. Five postgraduate students were also invited to the Palace reception.

Prof Roberts, academic lead of the University’s Global Food Security Priority Group and Dean of the Graduate School, said: “Staff at the University have been training agricultural scientists from across the world for over a century. Our internationally acclaimed research is focused on the provision of a safe and secure supply of nutritious food and this task will become even more acute over the coming years.

“The recognition of our work with the award of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize provides the perfect incentive to meet and overcome the challenges of the next decade.”

Prize-winning institutions can use the Prizes logo for four years, as a hallmark of excellence.

Prof Katherine Smart, head of the School of Biosciences, said: “The award of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize is an enormous honour for the University and our School of Biosciences in particular. Our scientists within the School are immensely talented and this award recognises their outstanding achievements in research. Global food security is critically important for present and future generations, and The University of Nottingham is perfectly placed to meet some of the key scientific challenges that this issue raises.”

The Queen’s Award summary includes the following:

“The University is widely recognised for its strong contribution to sustainable agricultural production within the UK and internationally, embracing academic excellence and practical farming… The work is both strategic and of practical benefit to the farming industry and society in general.”

Global food security is one of the University’s priorities in research — key areas of critical mass in which a combination of expertise and investment are having real impact, using the expertise of many different academics including scientists, engineers and social scientists.

It is also a key project within the University’s new appeal, Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, which is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.


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