Science

New Year Honours 2021: ‘Green’ economist recognised

The work of a number of the UK’s leading scientists has been recognised in this year’s New Year Honours.

Prof Dieter Helm, chairman of the government’s advisory Natural Capital Committee, has received a knighthood.

Marcus Agius, former chairman of the board of trustees at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, becomes a CBE.

Meanwhile, Dr Hermoine Ferguson, scientific director of Dynamic Earth, is appointed OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire).

Prof Helm received his knighthood in recognition for his services to “the environment, to energy and utilities policy”.

“The recognition of a lifetime of work on public policy is a great honour,” Sir Dieter told BBC News.

“Over the last decade I have being working on the 25-year environment plan, which is now being integrated into the Environmental Bill going through Parliament.

“I also wrote the Cost of Energy Review, which is now being reflected in the Energy White Paper.

“These are examples of the intersection between academic research, government and business, which is not only the area that interests me most, but where there is a chance to make things happen.”

Prof Helm is a fellow at New College, University of Oxford, as well as being the chairman of the government’s independent advisory body on natural capital, a term for natural assets such as forests and rivers, from 2012 to 2020.

As the head of the Natural Capital Committee, he praised the government for establishing its 25-year environment plan and its aspiration of being the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than it inherited.

However, he was critical that the government’s deeds did not match its words.

Recognising science

The former chairman of the board of trustees at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Marcus Agius, has become a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

He held the chairmanship for a decade before standing down in late 2019. Before this, the financier was chairman of Barclays Bank and a non-executive director of the BBC.

On retiring from Kew, Mr Agius made a sizeable donation to the institution that helped create the Agius Evolution Garden, which helps highlight the close relationship between horticulture and science.

Prof Allister Ferguson from the University of Strathclyde, and a fellow of the Institute of Physics (IOP), also becomes a CBE.

He is the professor of photonics in the university’s department of physics, where he founded the Institute of Photonics. It studies the science of light generation and looks at how it can be applied in an industrial and commercial setting.

Dr Hermoine Cockburn, scientific director of Dynamic Earth, becomes an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to public engagement in science.

Dynamic Earth is an attraction in Edinburgh that allows visitors explore the science and nature that shaped the world and Universe around us.

Another OBE appointee is Valerie Gibson, professor of high energy physics at the University of Cambridge, who was recognised for her work in promoting women in science.

Prof Lorraine Maltby, an environmental biologist at the University of Sheffield, also becomes an OBE for her work on how to sustainably feed a growing human population without damaging the natural environment.

Scientists becoming MBEs include Prof Mark Brandon from the Open University; Christine Campbell from the Scottish Association for Marine Scientists; Fiona Aunty at the National Physical Laboratory; Christopher Preshaw from Queen’s University Belfast; and Colin Weaver from the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

 

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55489720