UCL News


UCL’s New Year Honours including a prestigious Companion of Honour

30 December 2022

Congratulations to all the UCL staff, students and alumni who have been named in the 2023 New Year Honours, with special mention to Professor Sir Michael Marmot, who has been appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour.

Clockwise from top left: Professor Sir Michael Marmot; Professor Lyn Chitty; Professor Maxine Molyneux; Zakaria Dada; Professor Isobel Heyman; Professor Christopher Stringer; Professor Becky Francis; Professor David Price; Professor Nishi Chaturvedi.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, was appointed a Companion of Honour for services to public health. The distinction is awarded for having made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine or government lasting over a long period of time, and is limited to 65 people at any one time.

For 50 years, Sir Michael has conducted groundbreaking research on the social determinants of health, linking health inequalities to the circumstances in which we are born, live, grow, work and age.

He is the author of several landmark reviews on health inequalities in England and the UK. Fair Society, Healthy Lives, commissioned by the then UK government and published in 2010, became enshrined into British public health policy; Marmot Review 10 Years On looked at how inequalities had widened during years of austerity; Build Back Fairer reaffirmed this evidence nine months after the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Sir Michael, who was knighted in 2000, also chaired the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health in 2008, putting health inequalities on the global public health map.

Sir Michael said: “The award is, of course, personally wonderful. More than that, the award says something very good about Britain. I believe in telling the truth about the problems in society. That has involved compiling and publishing the evidence on health inequalities, their link to the social determinants of health, and the importance of the social gradient.

“Over decades, when the evidence has shown it to be necessary, I have been critical of government policy, particularly since 2010. Despite that criticism this award has been made. It is a recognition of the importance of truth and evidence in having a reasoned debate about the kind of society we want. Without the support of UCL, with its eminent global reputation, my job would have been much harder.”

Professor Lyn Chitty (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health) has been made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, for services to medicine.

Professor Chitty, based at UCL and Great Ormond Street Hospital since the 1980s, is the UK’s only Professor of Genetics and Fetal Medicine. She has pioneered research into rapid and non-invasive prenatal diagnosis, offering families lower risk options to find out about the health of their unborn child.

Professor Chitty is an expert in prenatal diagnosis, the ultrasound screening of fetal abnormalities, specifically fetal skeletal abnormalities, and was responsible for the creation of the fetal size standards which have been used throughout the UK and beyond. 

She said: “I am surprised and delighted to be awarded this honour. It is really amazing and I still can’t quite believe it, but I don’t believe one gets this level of recognition alone and for me it is very much a reflection of the great people and teams I have worked with over the years. My thanks goes to them for all the hard work and support they have given. This honour really is a reflection of great teamwork.”

Professor Maxine Molyneux (UCL Institute of the Americas) has been appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG), for services to international development and UK/Latin America relations.

Professor Molyneux, currently Professor of Sociology at UCL and a former Director of the UCL Institute of the Americas, is an expert in the fields of political sociology, gender and development, human rights and social policy.

She has led multi-country research projects investigating the effectiveness of anti-poverty programmes for the UK’s Department for International Development (now merged into the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) as well development policy agencies and NGOs.

One such project, looking at the social effects of cash transfers made directly to poor people, has changed how such programmes are delivered and benefited two million households in five countries.

Professor Nishi Chaturvedi, Director at the MRC Lifelong Health & Ageing Unit at UCL, has been awarded an OBE for services to medical research.

Her research considers how ethnicity and lifestyle affect people’s risk factors for disease. She leads a national study (the Longitudinal Health & Wellbeing National Core Study) that aims to understand the health, social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic by uniting established population cohorts and national anonymised electronic health records to inform policy.

Professor Chaturvedi said: "I’m proud to accept this award on behalf of the Longitudinal Health & Wellbeing National Core Study team members right across the country who came together at a moment of national crisis, and worked so hard to provide critical and timely information to guide policy."

Professor David Price, who stepped down earlier this year as Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation and Global Engagement) at UCL, has been awarded an OBE for services to science and research.

Professor Price served as Vice-Provost for 15 years, overseeing efforts to facilitate and promote UCL’s research, its benefits for the public and impact on the wider world. Under his leadership, UCL became the top-rated university in the UK for research strength in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), and in REF 2021 came second in the UK for research power, with 93% of research graded as world leading or internationally excellent.

Professor Price said: "It's an honour to have my contribution to the success of UCL, and to science and research more widely, recognised by this award. It's been a pleasure, and I have enjoyed and benefited from working with so many talented colleagues in UCL, nationally, and globally."

Professor Becky Francis, Professor at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society, and Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, has been awarded a CBE for services to education.

Professor Francis was Director of the IOE, then the UCL Institute of Education, between 2016 and 2020, instigating a number of transformative initiatives, such as the launch of flagship research centres, on teachers and teaching and on education policy and social justice; she also played an instrumental role in leading UCL’s action against sexual misconduct and harassment. In 2018 she was named as one of the most influential people in the world of education by TES for her work highlighting the negative impact of school class setting on those from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Professor Christopher Stringer, Honorary Professor at UCL Institute of Archaeology, has been awarded a CBE for services to the understanding of human evolution. His work has transformed scientific and public understanding of human evolution and modern human origins.

Professor Stringer, who is also Research Leader at the Natural History Museum, said: “I'm delighted to be awarded the CBE and accept this as an honour not just for me but for all the people I've worked with on human evolution studies over the last 50 years or so, both within and outside the Natural History Museum.”

Professor Isobel Heyman, Honorary Professor at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, has been awarded an MBE for services to child and adolescent mental health services.

Professor Heyman is a consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry also based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for Children NHS Foundation Trust (Honorary). She has dedicated her career to improving the mental health of children and was previously named Psychiatrist of the Year in the Royal College of Psychiatry Awards.

She said: “I am deeply appreciative of this honour. With the group effort of skilled clinical teams, it is an enormous privilege to care for children and families experiencing the most difficult of times. I am proud of the work we have done to improve clinical care.  

“Our current project - the Cambridge Children’s Hospital - fully integrates physical and mental health care for the first time. None of the initiatives to put mental health research into clinical practice would have been possible without the collaboration of my Institute of Child Health colleague, Professor Roz Shafran, and Cambridge University colleague Professor Tamsin Ford.

“There is much more to be done to ensure all young people receive the mental health care they need - so it is important and gratifying for child mental health to be recognised in an award.”

Zakaria Dada, a final year Laws student at UCL, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM), for services to the community in the London Borough of Merton during Covid-19.

Zak Dada set up the Merton Mutual Aid network in south London at the start of the pandemic, building a team of 2,000 volunteers to deliver food and supplies to vulnerable neighbours and reduce isolation. Last year he was honoured with a Points of Light award from the Prime Minister – an award recognising outstanding volunteers in the UK – and was also named a Make a Difference Hero by BBC Radio London after being nominated by Merton Borough Council.

Other UCL alumni and honorary degree holders represented in this year’s list include:

  • Dr Julia Katherine Maxton CBE (LLB Law, 1976), Executive Director, The Royal Society, awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to science and to the law.
  • Andrea Helen Ledward (MSc Medical Anthropology, 1997), Director, International Biodiversity and Climate, DEFRA, awarded an OBE for services to the environment.
  • Dr Mary Elizabeth Booth Ramsay (MBBS Clinical, 1985), Director of Public Health Programmes, UK Health Security Agency, awarded an OBE for services to public health.
  • Fiona Jane Boulton (MA Educational Management), Headteacher, Guildford High School, awarded an OBE for services to education.
  • Robert John Emlyn Evans (BEd Education, 1978 and MA History of Education, 1993), Member, Surrey County Council, awarded an OBE for political and public service.
  • Mouhssin Ismail (PGCSE Business & Economics Education, 2007), lately Principal, Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre, London Borough of Newham, awarded an OBE for services to education.
  • Dr Jenny Vaughan (MPhil Medicine, 2001), Consultant Neurologist, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, awarded an OBE for services to health care.
  • Dr Jonathan Waxman (MBBS Medicine, 1975 with integrated BSc Biochemistry, 1972), Founder and Life President, Prostate Cancer UK, awarded an OBE, for services to prostate cancer awareness and treatment.
  • Dr Richard Charles Horton (Honorary Degree, 2021), Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet, awarded an OBE for services to health and medical journalism.
  • Dr Naomi Esther Katz Sacks (MBBS Medicine (Clinical) 2002), Clinical Director, West Hill Health Primary Care Network, awarded an MBE for services during Covid-19.
  • Mr (Barry) James Kempton (PGCE History, 1999), an independent chair of Oldham Opportunity Area, awarded an MBE for services to education and social mobility in Oldham.



  • Clockwise from top left: Professor Sir Michael Marmot; Professor Lyn Chitty; Professor Maxine Molyneux; Zakaria Dada; Professor Isobel Heyman; Professor Christopher Stringer; Professor Becky Francis; Professor David Price; Professor Nishi Chaturvedi.

Media contact

Mark Greaves

E: m.greaves [at] ucl.ac.uk