Work recognised includes international diplomacy, improving GP services, supporting research into dementia, and running pioneering mass surveys into the country’s health and wellbeing


Members of University of Exeter community celebrating recognition in New Year’s Honours

Members of the University of Exeter community are celebrating their achievements being recognised in the New Year Honour’s list.

Work including international diplomacy, improving GP services, supporting research into dementia, and running pioneering mass surveys into the country’s health and wellbeing have led to awards including an MBE, CBE and Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.

Former University of Exeter Chancellor Baroness Floella Benjamin has been made a Dame.

Dr Dennis Gillings, an Exeter alumnus, has been awarded a knighthood for services to the advancement of dementia and to life sciences research. The Dennis and Mireille Gillings Foundation has a long-standing and distinguished relationship with the University of Exeter. A donation of £10 million from the Foundation – the largest single gift ever given to the University – is funding not only the pioneering new Mirielle Gillings Neuroimaging Centre, which will rapidly accelerate dementia research and improve healthcare, but also the next generation of female leaders in medicine, science, leadership and business through the Mireille Gillings Professorial Fellows in Health Innovation scheme.

The Foundation previously donated £1 million towards the University’s pioneering work in genetic disorders. This will allow the Medical School to expand its research to improve patient care in the NHS and beyond, building its expertise in the diagnosis of genetic disorders, including in early pregnancy, and other innovative diagnostic testing.

Sir Dennis was awarded a CBE in 2004, and was appointed as World Dementia Envoy by former Prime Minister David Cameron.

Professor Jane Elliott, awarded a CBE for services to social sciences, has managed and led analysis for major longitudinal surveys which follow the lives of thousands of people. These studies provide resources, used by researchers across the world, to understand the consequences of inequality and the factors affecting physical and mental wellbeing over the life course. Before joining the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology in September 2017 Professor Elliott was the Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) from 2014 and 2017.  From 2007 to 2014 she was Executive Director and then Director of the ESRC-funded Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) which manages the 1958, 1970 and Millennium Birth Cohort Studies and the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England.

John Campbell, Professor of General Practice and Primary Care, has been awarded an MBE, presented for his outstanding contributions to primary care of patients and improving GP services. Professor Campbell is an active GP. Professor Campbell’s research focuses on improving patient access to, and experience of, primary care, the first point of contact in the healthcare system. His work includes undertaking research into the recruitment and retention of GPs in the NHS workforce, and investigating new approaches to providing consultations with patients – such as using telephone-based, web-based, online, or video consulting.

Jamie Shea, formerly NATO Deputy assistant secretary, and now Professor at the University of Exeter’s Strategy and Security Institute has been made a Companion of the Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George for his services to diplomacy and public service. The Order was founded by King George III in 1818 and is awarded to British subjects who have rendered extraordinary and important services abroad or in the Commonwealth. Professor Shea was a member of the International Staff of NATO for 38 years.  His last NATO post was Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges.

Baroness Benjamin, who was University of Exeter Chancellor between 2006 and 2016, is an actress, presenter, writer, independent producer, working peer and an active advocate for the welfare, care and education of children throughout the world. She has also headed a successful film and television production company for the last 25 years. She has written 30 books, including Coming to England, which is used as a resource in schools in social and cross-curricular areas. The book was adapted into an award-winning film by her company for BBC Education.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter, said: “Congratulations to all in our community who have been named in the New Year’s Honours list. We are very proud of their achievements and this recognition is well deserved.”


Date: 30 December 2019