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Royal accolade for ground-breaking environmental science



Half a century of ground-breaking environmental science at UEA has been recognised by the Queen today.

The School of Environmental Sciences will be awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. 

This is the UK's most prestigious higher education award, given to those who can demonstrate outstanding work at a world-class level.

The announcement was made at a reception for prize-winners at St James’ Palace. It comes as the department celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Since its foundation in 1967, UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences has become one of the largest and most fully-developed interdisciplinary institutions of its kind in Europe, providing a stimulating, innovative and active research environment for the study of natural and human environments.


Research and teaching in the School addresses climate, ocean and atmospheric interactions, the governance of resources and sustainability, the geosciences and natural hazards. 

It houses international centres of excellence and research groups including the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, CSERGE – the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment, the Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) Research Group, and The Anglian Centre for Water Studies.

Head of School Prof Kevin Hiscock, who attended the Royal reception, said: “For 50 years, we have been combining natural, social and environmental sciences to advance our understanding and protect the environment.

“This is a tremendous accolade because it not only recognises half a century of ground-breaking environmental and climate science, but it also recognises the continuing excellence of what we do.

“Over the next 50 years, we are committed to pursuing cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that directly addresses the grand environmental challenges of the 21st Century, such as climate change, ecosystem loss, air quality and energy, food and water security. We will continue our strong partnerships with governments, businesses and the public to put society firmly on a path to sustainability.”

UEA Vice-Chancellor Prof David Richardson said: "I am absolutely delighted that UEA has come to be renowned nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence for environmental science.

“For 50 years the School has taken a lead role in building scientific understanding and public awareness of global environmental challenges, creating a widely accepted approach that is adopted by academic institutions around the world.

“It is an honour to be recognised at this very highest level.

"The School will be awarded with a silver gilt medal and certificate signed personally by Her Majesty the Queen at a prestigious event at Buckingham Palace in February. Prize winners are entitled to use the Queen's Prize logo for four years.

It is the fourth time that UEA has received a Queen’s Prize award for its outstanding achievements.

In 2010, the University's School of International Development and its pioneering charitable company, International Development UEA, received the Queen's Anniversary Prize for more than 40 years' responses to environmental change and poverty in some of the world's poorest countries. 

UEA’s creative writing programme, which has aided the careers of authors including Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro and Anne Enright, received an award in 2011.

And last year the INTO UEA partnership received a Queens Award for Enterprise, the UK’s highest accolade for business success.

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