HM The Queen rewards 'outstanding' Department of Meteorology
Release Date 29 January 2013
The University of Reading's Department of Meteorology has been awarded a prestigious Regius Professorship by HM The Queen. Reading is one of just 12 institutions to receive a Regius Professorship which marks HM The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
A Regius Professorship is a rare privilege, with only two created in the past century. It is a reflection of the exceptionally high quality of teaching and research at an institution. The award is a fitting recognition as the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology is recognised as one of the outstanding departments of its kind in the world.
Founded in 1965, the Department is internationally renowned for its training and research in weather, climate and physical oceanography and its work is playing a vital role in the improvement of weather forecasting and climate modelling. In 2004 the Department made the important discovery of the ‘sting jet' which causes the most damaging winds in about one-third of the most intense North Atlantic storms, including the 1987 Great Storm. It has also been heavily involved in the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments.
The University will assign the title to an existing Professor at the chosen Department or appoint a new Professor to take the Chair and hold the title.
Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "This is a very important honour for the University and reflects our status as one of the top 1% universities in the world. The Department of Meteorology conducts outstanding work and I would like to congratulate everyone who has contributed to its success."
This is the second time the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology has been recognised by HM The Queen. In 2006 the Department was awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.
Professor Ellie Highwood, Head of the Department of Meteorology said: "We are delighted to receive this Regius Professorship in Meteorology and Climate Science in recognition of our excellence in research focussing on the fundamental science of weather and climate. We are approaching the 50th anniversary of the founding of our department and it is hard to imagine a greater honour than that which we have received today."
HM The Queen bestowed the awards after taking advice from Ministers, who were in turn advised by a panel of eminent academics led by Sir Graeme Davies, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of London.
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said: "I was incredibly impressed by the quality and range of the applications received and am delighted that twelve new Regius Professorships are to be created. Together, the successful applications demonstrated an exceptionally high level of achievement in both teaching and research. It is testament to the quality and strength of our higher education sector that so many universities were considered worthy of such a distinguished honour."
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Notes to Editors
The University of Reading is ranked among the top 1% of universities in the world (THE World University Rankings 2012).
Its Department of Meteorology is internationally renowned for its excellent teaching and research in atmospheric, oceanic and climate science. Established in 1965, Reading is the only UK university which offers a full range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in meteorology. The University of Reading is world-renowned for its pioneering research on weather, climate and earth observation and is also home to the Walker Institute for Climate System Research.
Regius Professorships were created when a university chair was founded or endowed by a Royal patron. Before today, they were limited to a handful of the ancient universities of the United Kingdom and Ireland, namely Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Trinity College, Dublin.
The title of Regius Professor has notably been held by the late historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford, and the 18th century poet Thomas Gray, who was Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge.