Professor Louise Heathwaite of Lancaster University was amongst those honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2018. Professor Heathwaite was made CBE and was presented with the honour in the investiture ceremony on the 20th of December in Buckingham Palace. His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales presented her with the CBE which she was awarded for her ‘services to scientific research and scientific advice to government’.
A hydrochemist and Professor of Land and Water Science in the Lancaster Environment Centre, Professor Heathwaite was also elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in recognition of the distinguished contribution she has made to catchment science and to science-policy engagement. In 2017, she was the first woman to be elected as President of the Freshwater Biological Association, and in 2004, was elected as Vice-President of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS), which has over 7,000 members drawn from nearly 200 countries worldwide.
Her colleagues have said that they are ‘delighted’ and ‘proud’ that Professor Heathwaite’s work has been recognised, with Professor Dame Sue Black Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engagement stating, ‘She has dedicated her a career to sharing her expertise with fellow researchers, students and government policy makers at all levels.’
Professor Phil Barker of Lancaster University’s Environment Centre said: “We are delighted to see outstanding contribution to environmental science recognised by this award. Her achievements show how excellent research can be used to underpin policy and shape agendas.”
The Monarch’s Birthday Honours have been awarded on the current King or Queen’s birthday every year, with a few exceptions, since around 1860, during the reign of Queen Victoria. Notable faces who were also honoured in this year’s Honours List include Kenny Daglish, who was awarded a knighthood for services to football, charity and the city of Liverpool, Emma Thompson who was awarded a damehood for services to drama and Anthony Joshua, who was awarded an OBE for services to sport. 71% of the 1,057 people who received an honour went to ‘everyday community heroes’ and those without fame and notoriety. They range from a 103-year-old former Second World War nurse who spent 97 years collecting for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, 43 responders to the Manchester and London terror attacks and the British divers who took part in the mission to help save a youth football team trapped in a cave in Thailand.
Stating that receiving the honour had been a ‘lovely surprise’ Professor Heathwaite said, ‘It was such an exciting and memorable day. I was delighted to meet Prince Charles again. He had been well briefed and in the short time available we managed to discuss environmental pollution and the importance of scientists speaking up in defence of environmental regulation. This honour really means a lot to me. I love trying to work out what makes things tick and working independently, so research was the only career for me. More so, I want science to be useful and I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to show how science can help with government policy.’