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Queen awards prestigious Regius Professorship to the ICR

The ICR logo on the Brookes Lawley Building (September 2014)

The Brookes Lawley Building at the ICR's Sutton site.

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has been awarded a highly prestigious Regius Professorship by Her Majesty the Queen to mark her 90th Birthday.

The ICR is among a select group of 12 institutions across the country to be awarded the title.

The Regius Professorships are rare awards bestowed by the Sovereign to recognise exceptionally high quality research at an institution. Prior to these awards only 14 had been granted since the reign of Queen Victoria, including 12 to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

The creation of a new Regius Professorship of Cancer Research at the ICR will be the first associated with efforts to understand and defeat the disease and recognises both academic excellence and the real-world impact of ICR’s research.

ICR Chief Executive Professor Paul Workman said: "This is a rare honour that recognises both our outstanding academic achievements in understanding cancer and also the impact of our innovative research on people with cancer and on society as a whole, including business and the economy. It is a tribute to our pioneering research and the many discoveries made by ICR scientists — both in recent years and throughout our history — that have moved us closer towards defeating cancer."

Plans for the new accolades were announced in the government’s productivity plan in 2015 to celebrate the increasingly important role of academic research in driving growth and productivity.

'A privilege and an honour'

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “I am passionate about promoting science and economic growth right across the country. That’s why I promised to push for prestigious new Regius Professorships not just in London and Oxbridge, but in other great centres of learning, including the Northern Powerhouse, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. I’m delighted that promise is being honoured today.”

John Penrose, Minister for Constitution, said: “It is a privilege and an honour to announce these new Regius Professorships in recognition of the truly outstanding work of our universities and as a fitting tribute to mark Her Majesty’s 90th birthday. The twelve institutions can consider themselves truly deserving of this great honour.”

Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “The success of our economy is underpinned by the exceptional science and research taking place in our world-leading universities up and down the country, and I’m delighted these 12 institutions have been recognised for their achievements. We’ll continue to make sure pioneering science is recognised and supported to help improve the lives of millions across the country and beyond.”

A Royal Warrant will be issued formally conferring the new Regius Professorship before the ICR can determine which individual will take the chair and hold the title.

Professor Sir Adrian Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London — of which the ICR is an independent college — said: “I was delighted to learn that ICR have been awarded one of the highly prestigious Regius Professorships.  This is a great honour and an endorsement of the outstanding research being undertaken at the Institute.”

The creation of Regius Professorships is approved by the Monarch on ministerial advice. Institutions were selected by open competition that was judged by an independent expert panel of business and academic experts.

The new posts of Regius Professor are:

  • The Institute of Cancer Research (University of London) — Cancer Research
  • Imperial College London — Infectious Disease
  • University of Manchester — Materials
  • University of Cardiff — Chemistry
  • Queen’s University Belfast — Electronics & Computer Engineering
  • University of Glasgow — Precision Medicine
  • Newcastle University — Ageing
  • University of Liverpool — Chemistry
  • Aston University — Pharmacy
  • University of Warwick — Manufacturing (Engineering)
  • University of Southampton — Ocean Sciences
  • University of Oxford — Mathematics
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