Napier University honoured with Queen's Anniversary Prize

EDINBURGH Napier University's acclaimed work in timber engineering was recognised at Buckingham Palace today with the award of a Queen's Anniversary Prize.

Thursday, 25th February 2016, 1:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2016, 1:35 pm
Professor Andrea Nolan and Professor Sean Smith with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Picture: supplied

Professor Andrea Nolan, the University’s Principal, accepted the prize medal from Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall on behalf of the Queen.

The award recognises the impact of the University’s research into sustainable construction and wood science and its influence on industry and the environment.

The illustrious higher education prize has only been awarded 15 times before in Scotland, but this is the second triumph for the University’s School of Engineering and the Built Environment following a previous success in 2009.

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Professor Andrea Nolan and Professor Sean Smith with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Picture: supplied

The University’s research and support of new products is worth more than £65 million a year to the UK timber and construction industry. Successes include a collaboration with South African Paper and Pulp Industries which led to the development of a new nanocellulose high strength material from wood fibres which can be used in applications ranging from car panels to wound care and packaging.

Industry consortia used the University’s research findings to help in the design and construction of the award-winning athletes’ village for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and staff have also played a prominent role in education programmes, public engagement and developing industry standards.

Professor Sean Smith, Director of Edinburgh Napier’s Institute for Sustainable Construction, who accompanied the Principal at the ceremony, said: “We are delighted to have our applied research and its impact recognised through this award. Scotland’s forest industries now account for £1 billion to the economy. New products and increasing innovation by the sector and our University research staff now plan to double this value to the sector in the coming years.”

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are awarded every two years to universities and colleges which submit work judged to show excellence, innovation, impact and benefit for the institution itself and for the wider world.

Professor Andrea Nolan and Professor Sean Smith with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Picture: supplied

The entry can be in any field or discipline and it is for the institution to decide whether or not it wishes to participate in any round.

In this 11th round of the prestigious awards, 21 UK universities and colleges have been awarded prizes recognising a wide range of innovative work across a variety of disciplines.

The current round represents a landmark achievement for Scotland’s capital, with the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University also flying the flag for Scotland, being honoured for their work on coronary heart disease and innovations in the oil and gas sector respectively.

The 2014-2016 round is the eleventh round of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes. The first round was announced in 1994. The Prize itself consists of a silver gilt medallion and a decorated and inscribed certificate granting the award, signed by The Queen.

The Awards Council of The Royal Anniversary Trust recommend the entries judged deserving of a Prize to the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister.