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RSM leaders judge prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prizes

Some of the Royal Society of Medicine’s (RSM) senior leaders have played a key role in judging entries to the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes 2024, which are considered the highest accolade for excellence in UK universities and colleges. 

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes recognise outstanding work by UK colleges and universities that shows quality and innovation and delivers real benefit to the wider world and public through education and training. The Prizes are the highest national Honour awarded in the UK for further and higher education. Prizes are granted by The Monarch every two years. 

A total of 22 Prizes were announced on 16 November 2023 for the 15th Round of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes. The Prizes were awarded at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 22 February 2024. 

Her Majesty The Queen congratulates Professor Kristian Helin on the Institute of Cancer Research being awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 22 February 2024.
Photo credit: Theo Wood

Entries are assessed in an extensive senior independent review process taking several months and involving a wide range of consultations with experts, specialists and organisations in the public and non-governmental sectors. A shortlist is considered by the Awards Council of the Trust (trustees, senior officials from across the UK and others) and a list of recommended institutions is presented to The Monarch for approval on the Prime Minister’s advice. 

Professor Mary Bishop, the RSM’s Director of Education Products, was one of 10 experts on the higher education panel, judging entries from universities for the 2024 Prizes. A separate expert panel judged the further education entries. Their work was supported by some 200 initial readers: academic experts who read and evaluated entries before they were assessed by the panels. Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones, RSM Vice-President, and Professor Nik Patel, Chair of the RSM’s Academic Board, were among the readers. 

Professor Mary Bishop said: “I have enjoyed being part of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize.  

“It recognises some of the incredible innovations our universities lead, often with industry partners, across disciplines.  It also gives me real insight into some of the cutting-edge research in the UK in health which makes an impact globally.   

“I am delighted to be able to contribute to the process through my work on the Higher Education Panel and meeting the academics and students is a privilege.” 

(L-R) Professor Julia Buckingham (Chair), Professor Kristian Helin (CEO and President) and Professor Andrew Tutt (Director Breast Cancer Now) of the Institute of Cancer Research - Queen’s Anniversary Prize winners -  were joined at Buckingham Palace by the RSM’s Professor Mary Bishop, who was on the judging panel. Photo credit: Theo Wood

Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE said: “This was my first time acting as a reader for the Queens’s Anniversary Prizes and I was astounded by the diverse nature of the projects, the high quality and the innovative aspect of all that I read. I am grateful to the RSM for having given me this opportunity whilst serving in my role as Vice President.”  

Professor Nik Patel said: “It was an honour to represent the RSM as a reader this year. 

“It was particularly fascinating to see so many cutting-edge innovations in the field of medical sciences. 

“There was an opportunity to hear about a broad range of other scientific developments. Celebrating with such a variety of individuals was a privilege.” 

Nichola Tasker, CEO of The Royal Anniversary Trust, said: "The Queen's Anniversary Prizes represent the pinnacle of excellence in the United Kingdom's tertiary education sector, and a great many people are involved behind the scenes to ensure the integrity of this highly respected Honours scheme. 

"Each Prize-winning entry is reviewed by a minimum of twelve expert readers and specialists – often, considerably more – before further scrutiny by members of the Trust’s expert Higher and Further Education Panels. We are enormously grateful for their support and for the collective experience, wisdom and time they devote to the assessment process." 

The creation of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes was announced in Parliament in 1993 by the Prime Minister, with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s consent and with all-party support. Prizes in the first round were awarded in 1994 and there have been 14 biennial rounds to date. 

Top photo credit: Theo Wood

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