Oxford’s current and emeritus academics named in the New Year honours.

Oxonian honours

Seven senior members of the University of Oxford were recognised in the New Year honours announced on 31 December.

Professor Jonathan Bate, CBE, FRA, Provost of Worcester College and Professor of Literature, was knighted for services to literary scholarship and higher education. Professor Bate is a biographer, critic, broadcaster, novelist and scholar of Shakespeare, Romanticism and Ecocriticism. He is a governor and board member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and vice-president (leading the Humanities) of the British Academy, and from 2007 to 2011 he sat on the Council of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Professor Sir John Bell, FRS, Regius Professor of Medicine and Student (Fellow) of Christ Church, was appointed GBE for services to medicine, medical research and the UK life science industry. Sir John has pioneered the development of genomic and genetic research programmes across the UK. He was the Founder of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and sits on a wide range of advisory panels for public- and private-sector bodies responsible for biomedical research in Canada, Sweden, Denmark, France, Singapore and the UK. He is a founding director of three biotechnology start-up companies, a board member of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration and UK Biobank, and chairman of the Oxford Health Alliance, a private public partnership that sponsors research and advocacy on chronic disease globally. 

Professor Marina Warner, CBE, FBA, Fellow of All Souls College, was appointed DBE for services to higher education and literary scholarship. Dame Marina is a novelist, short story writer and historian known for her many non-fiction books relating to feminism and myth. She has written for publications including the London Review of Books, the New Statesman and Vogue. She holds a chair in English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College and is chair of the judges of the Man Booker International Prize for 2015.

Professor Russell Foster, FRS, Professor of Circadian Neurosciences, Head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Director of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute and Fellow of Brasenose College, was appointed CBE for services to science. Professor Foster’s research interests span both visual and circadian neurobiology with the main focus on the mechanisms whereby light regulates vertebrate circadian rhythms. For his discovery of non-rod, non-cone ocular photoreceptors he has been awarded the Honma prize (Japan), Cogan award (USA), and Zoological Society Scientific & Edride-Green Medals. Professor Foster recently talked to Oxford Today about how modern sleep habits are affecting our mental health.

Professor Tim Palmer, FRS, Professor of Climate Physics, Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Modelling and Predicting Climate, and Fellow of Jesus College, was appointed CBE for services to science. Professor Palmer has spent most of his career working on the dynamics and predictability of weather and climate, pioneering the development of probabilistic ensemble-based techniques for weather and climate prediction, which are now standard in operational weather and climate prediction around the world. He has been involved in all five assessment reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has coordinated two European Union climate projects, and in 2011-12 was president of the Royal Meteorological Society. He serves on a number of advisory committees, including the Met Office's Scientific Advisory Committee.

Professor Cyrus Cooper, Professor of Epidemiology and Director of Research Strategy at the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, and Fellow of St Peter’s College, was appointed OBE for services to medical research. He is also Professor of Rheumatology and Director of the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre at the University of Southampton, and leads a programme of research into the epidemiology of musculoskeletal disorders, most notably osteoporosis. He has previously served as chairman of the National Osteoporosis Society and is chair of the MRC Population Health Sciences Research Network.

Professor Hugh Williamson, FBA, Emeritus Regius Professor of Hebrew and Emeritus Student (Fellow) of Christ Church, was appointed OBE for services to scholarship and theology. His research interests include the Book of Isaiah and the history and literature of the Achaemeid Period. He is a former chairman of the British Academy’s Humanities Group and of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society.

In addition Dickson Poon, CBE, the Hong Kong-based philanthropist who gave £10million to establish the Dickson Poon China Centre at St Hugh’s College, was knighted for services to business and to charity, particularly higher education.

This article is an edited version of an original published at the Oxford University News and Events page, and is reproduced with kind permission.