The University of Southampton

ORC delegation collects Queen's Anniversary Prize at Buckingham Palace today

Published: 22 February 2018
Rear Admiral Philip Greenish, Professor Sir David Payne and Professor Nikolay Zheludev at Buckingham Palace.

A delegation from the University of Southampton has visited Buckingham Palace for ceremonies to receive the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

The Prize, awarded for the University’s world-leading expertise in photonics and fibre optic technology, was presented by HRH Prince Charles and Southampton Honorary Graduate HRH the Duchess of Cornwall to Professor Sir David Payne and Professor Nikolay Zheludev from Southampton’s world-renowned Optoelectronics Research Centre.

The Queen's Anniversary Prizes are the UK's most prestigious form of recognition for a UK academic or vocational institution, with approval directly from The Queen and Parliament.

Also representing the University at the Palace were Philip Greenish, Vice Chair of Council, Research Fellow Dr Katrina Morgan, PhD researchers Andrea Ravagli, Alex Jantzen, Angeles Camachoand Ausra Cerkauskaite.

This year’s Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Southampton recognises the many decades of inspired innovation by the University’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) – the largest and longest established centre of its kind in the UK.

The work of the ORC has led to technological breakthroughs in optical fibres, laser manufacturing, next generational computing and new optical materials that now power the internet, create mobile telephone networks and provide us with other services like cash dispensers that transform our daily lives.

As well as its extensive links with companies and universities around the world, the ORC is the catalyst for a major research and commercial hub within Southampton and the surrounding area. The ORC is also renowned for its outreach activities with schools and colleges, delivering activities to encourage more students to study physics and engineering.

Professor Sir David Payne, Director of the ORC, says: “Being honoured with this prestigious award is recognition of just how important photonics is to the UK and the extensive role the University of Southampton has played in leading photonics research since the 1960s.

“Today hundreds of millions of kilometres of optical fibre carry the signals on the internet,” Sir David was knighted in 2013 for his work in photonics research and applications development. He continues: “Our speciality optical fibre inventions now navigate airliners, cut steel and can be found on the moon, Mars and the International Space Station.”

The Vice-Chancellor has recorded a congratulatory video, this can be watched here.

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden said of the award: “This is a really exciting opportunity for the University to celebrate a really important award and it also recognises the contributions that we have made over many years.”

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