Five of the University of Manchester’s health researchers and economy experts have been honoured in the Queen’s 2018 New Year’s Honours List.
The royal accolades of Commander of the Order (CBE), Officer of the Order (OBE), and Member of the Order (MBE) were awarded to three medical trailblazers, and two economics pioneers at the University.
Professor Caroline Dive of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, and Professor Diane Coyle of the School of Social Sciences both received CBEs. Dermatologist Professor Chris Griffiths was decorated with an OBE.
MBEs also honoured stroke researcher Professor Pippa Tyrell, and entrepreneur Professor Vikas Shah of the Alliance Manchester Business School.
Honorary Professor Vikas Shah told The Mancunion that he was “utterly floored” by the honour of being made an MBE. As a multi-award winning entrepreneur whose businesses span across numerous sectors, Shah was honoured for services to business and the economy.
Shah, the CEO of film company Fifty Degrees North, said that when he first received the letter, he thought it was his tax bill.
“When I finally read what it was… for a moment, it didn’t feel real, I assumed it was a mistake! When I realised it was real, it was just a wonderful feeling — I was really happy.”
Shah, who sits on both the government’s UK Industrial Development Board and the British Council Advisory Board, expressed that “seeing the other recipients humbles me, seeing the incredible work they’ve been doing in the community and their fields for such a long time.”
An MBE was also awarded to Philippa Tyrell, a Professor of Stroke Medicine at the University of Manchester. Tyrell is Vice Chair of the Stroke Association and was previously the Clinical Lead for Strokes in Greater Manchester.
Chris Griffiths, Foundation Professor of Dermatology at The University of Manchester, was made an OBE at the beginning of this year. Griffiths said that he is currently “leading on precision medicine for the University and Health Innovation Manchester — this could transform healthcare from disease care to disease prevention in the long-term.”
On receiving an OBE, Griffiths told The Mancunion: “I am surprised and absolutely delighted; it still hasn’t sunk in.”
Professor Griffiths revealed that the best career move he ever made was coming to Manchester from Michigan 24 years ago. “It was a risk but has undoubtedly been a success — we are now one of the leading dermatology research groups in the world.
“I have had many offers to leave Manchester and move to other cities and countries to set up dermatology departments but my heart is in Manchester with its people, the University and the city itself.
“Although a Southerner I believe I am now at least an honorary Northerner and a proud Mancunian.”
Professor Diane Coyle has been made CBE, the highest rank in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire before Knighthood. Coyle was previously the Economics Editor of the Independent and Vice Chair of the BBC Trust, as well as being a prolific author and professor at the School of Social Sciences.
Coyle said to The Mancunion that receiving the CBE “was a complete surprise and of course I feel incredibly honoured by it. I’m particularly pleased about the citation, which is services to economics and the public understanding of economics, because I so strongly believe it’s important for as many people as possible to engage with economic policy debate and be able to have informed opinions.”
Professor Caroline Dive also received a CBE for services to cancer research. Professor Dive is currently tackling lung cancer by developing ‘liquid biopsies’ that hunt cancer cells that have broken free from tumours and are circulating in the bloodstream.
Elsewhere in Manchester, the last living member of the Bee Gees, Chorlton-born Barry Gibb, received a Knighthood for services to music and charity.
Other famous Britons who made the cut into the Queen’s 2018 Honours List include former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and Beatles legend Ringo Starr, who were both also made knights.