Aston University’s school of pharmacy has been awarded a Regius Professorship by the Queen. The university is one of twelve British institutions to receive an award to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.
It is the first time a pharmacy school has been given the award, which is rarely bestowed — only 14 have been conferred since the reign of Queen Victoria.
The university — which celebrates its 50th birthday this year — was given the professorship in recognition of high quality research following advice from ministers and consideration by a panel of business and academic experts.
Chris Hewitt, executive dean of the university’s school of life and health sciences, says: “With over 5,000 practising pharmacists having an Aston degree, and with patients worldwide benefitting from Aston expertise in pharmaceutical medicine, this is a wonderful tribute to our ability to transform lives through pharmacy education and research.”
The university’s vice chancellor, Julia King, Baroness Brown of Cambridge, says the award is recognition of the “outstanding work” conducted by the school. Past successes include the development of the US$2bn blockbuster drug temozolomide to treat brain tumours and it was the first UK pharmacy school to create a Masters programme for hospital pharmacists.
The first holder of the title of Regius Professor of Pharmacy, which was officially agreed by the vice chancellor at Aston University’s 50th anniversary charter dinner, will be Keith Wilson, a pharmacy academic who, according to a spokesperson from Aston University, “has helped to shape current and future pharmacy education both within the UK and internationally”.
A Regius Professorship was traditionally created when a university chair was founded or endowed by a Royal patron. The award has historically been limited to a handful of universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Trinity College, Dublin.
Twelve Regius professorships were announced to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations in 2012. Before that only two others have been awarded in the last century, to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 2009.