Knighthood for Principal in New Year Honours

The University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Peter Mathieson, is one of three people in Scotland to receive a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.

Professor Peter Mathieson

Professor Mathieson, who is knighted for services to higher education, has been Principal at Edinburgh since February 2018. Before that, he was president of the University of Hong Kong for nearly four years.

He said: “I see it as recognition of the standing of the University. I’m privileged to lead one of the world’s great universities and we’ve got a quarter of a million alumni around the world and more than 50,000 current students and staff.

“There’s a big community and I think it’s a recognition of the standing of the University in society within the world and I’m very proud of the University, and proud to be its Principal.”

Distinguished career

Professor Mathieson studied medicine at the London Hospital Medical College and in 1983 qualified with first class honours from the University of London.

He held junior medical posts in London before obtaining a research training fellowship from the Medical Research Council to study at the University of Cambridge and was awarded a PhD there in 1992.

Professor Mathieson became director of studies for clinical medicine at Christ’s College, Cambridge following his PhD and, in 1995, became foundation Professor of Renal Medicine at the University of Bristol and Honorary Consultant Nephrologist, North Bristol NHS Trust.

He remains an Honorary Professor of Medicine at the University of Bristol.

The Queen's Anniversary Prize 2018
Principal Professor Peter Mathieson meets Prince Charles in 2018.

Professor honoured

Professor Ewen Harrison

Professor Ewen Harrison, who is professor of Surgery and Data Science at the University of Edinburgh, has been awarded an OBE for services to the Covid-19 response.

Professor Harrison leads the Surgical and Critical Care Informatics group, performing data-driven research focused on improving patient outcomes after surgery and in intensive care.

He is Professor of Surgery and Data Science at the University of Edinburgh and a Consultant HPB and Transplant Surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. He is originally from Taynuilt in Argyll and studied at the University of Glasgow.

Talented individuals

Professor Harrison said: “It is a privilege to collaborate with some of the most talented individuals in the world, working to improve the health and care of people both locally and across the world. This award reflects the hard work of thousands of individuals, and I am truly honoured to receive it.”

His many research interests include data science and artificial intelligence – areas that were crucial in early work understanding Covid-19.

Professor Harrison leads the NIHR Unit on Global Surgery at the University of Edinburgh, which is a collaboration with the University of Birmingham.

It provides a platform for the GlobalSurg Collaborative – an international collaboration of 15,000 individuals in 420 hospitals across 102 countries, studying outcomes in general surgery and quality improvement. 

Esteemed astronomer

Receiving a CBE is Gillian Wright, a Visiting Professor at the University’s Institute for Astronomy.

Image of Professor Gillian Wright

Professor Wright – honoured for services to Astronomy through International Missions – is Director of the UK Astronomy and Technology Centre and European Principal Investigator for the James Webb Space Telescope Mid-IR Instrument.

She studied Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow before obtaining her PhD in physics from Imperial College London in 1986 and was appointed to a Royal Observatory of Edinburgh Fellowship.

Professor Wright has worked as a staff scientist at United Kingdom InfraRed Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii and then as Head of Instrumentation from 1995 until 1997, when she then joined the newly formed UK-ATC.

She has more than 30 years’ experience of ground and space-based instrumentation for astronomy, having provided scientific, technical and management leadership for a vast array of projects.

Net zero fashion

Niki Taylor,  from Edinburgh College of Art, has been awarded an MBE. The Teaching Fellow in Textiles received the award for "services to the Promotion of Net Zero Apparel in Scotland".

Ms Taylor has a voluntary role as National Coordinator for Fashion Revolution Scotland, part of a global movement of professionals working to create a global fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit.