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Home > Press > The Queen’s Birthday Honours

Sir Mark Welland,
Sir Mark Welland,

The founder of the Nanoscience Centre at the University of Cambridge, Professor Mark Welland, has been awarded a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours

Cambridge, UK | Posted on June 13th, 2011

Sir Mark (pictured) is currently on secondment to the Ministry of Defence as Chief Scientific Adviser, where he directs the science and technology programme, chairs the Investment Approvals Board that authorises all major capital procurement projects and acts as the Principal of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement between the US and the UK on nuclear matters.

During his secondment he remains Professor of Nanotechnology at the University.

Sir Mark started his career in nanoscience and nanotechnology at IBM Research Laboratories, Yorktown Heights, USA, where he was part of the team that developed one of the first scanning tunnelling microscopes.

Upon moving to Cambridge in 1985 he set up the first tunnelling microscopy group in the UK and in 1991 he began the nanoscience research group.

He established a purpose-built facility at the University, the Nanoscience Centre, which undertakes a variety of nano-related research programmes of an interdisciplinary nature.

This was the base for the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) in Nanotechnology of which Sir Mark was the Director and whose highly successful legacy has been far reaching.

Sir Mark has made many contributions at an International level and leads the UK side of the World Premier International (WPI) Research Centre Initiative, a 200 million USD program sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in Japan.

He is Co-Director of the Science and Technology Research Centre at the American University in Cairo, Egypt that he co-founded in 2003. In recognition of his work with India, Sir Mark was elected as a Foreign Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences India in 2008. In 2010 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Academy of Denmark.

In addition to his scientific work Sir Mark has been involved in a number of reports, national and international, dealing with the societal, ethical and environmental issues of nanotechnology and was a member of the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering Nanotechnology Study Working Group that reported to the UK Government in July 2004.

On learning of the award he said: "I feel deeply honoured. It has been a real privilege over the past 25 years to work with the exceptional students, researchers, staff and academics that make Cambridge so special. Over the past three years in Government I feel equally privileged to have worked with civilian and military colleagues to support UK Defence and Security."

Also knighted is the Nobel Prize-winning Emeritus Professor of Human Reproduction Professor Robert Edwards, for services to human reproductive biology.

Professor Sir Robert Edwards joined the University of Cambridge as the Ford Foundation Research Fellow at the Department of Physiology, and a member of Churchill College.

Sir Robert began work on fertilisation in 1955, and began his partnership with Dr Patrick Steptoe, a gynaecologist surgeon, in 1968. Although the first successful human test tube fertilisation took place by 1970, research did not result in a successful pregnancy for ten years. During this time, Sir Robert supervised students at Churchill College.

By the late 1970s, funding for their project was running out, and their work met with scepticism, resistance and set-backs. But in 1978, a breakthrough resulted in a healthy pregnancy and the birth of the first ever 'test tube baby', Louise Brown.

They went on to found the first IVF clinic at Bourn Hall near Cambridge in 1980. Before Dr Steptoe died in 1988 Sir Robert was able to tell his seriously ill colleague that one thousand babies had been conceived at the clinic.

In 2001 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambridge and the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award for the development of in vitro fertilization. Last Autumn he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Sir Robert is now a Pensioner Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge.

Over four million children have now been born as a result of IVF.

Professor Yasir Suleiman, the His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Sa'id Professor of Modern Arabic Studies, has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

His research covers the cultural politics of the Middle East with special focus on identity, conflict, diaspora studies and modernization in so far as these issues relate to language, modern Arabic literature, translation and memory. He also conducts research in Arabic grammatical theory and the Arabic intellectual tradition in the pre-modern period.

Professor Suleiman is Chair of the Panel of Judges, British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society Book Prize on Middle Eastern Studies. He serves as Trustee on the Boards of the following organisations: Arab-British Chamber of Commerce Charitable Fund, International Prize for Arab Fiction (in association with the Man-Booker Prize), Banipal Trust for Arab Literature and Gulf Research Centre-Cambridge. He is also Board Member of the Islamic Manuscript Association.

Professor Suleiman is Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies at Cambridge.

He said: "I am very delighted to receive this honour. I gave up a lucrative career in banking years ago to pursue research and learning. This recognition is a vindication of that decision. Many people helped me on the way and this honour is theirs and mine in equal measure."


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