Services by members of Oxford University have been recognised and celebrated in the 2023 King's Birthday Honours list. 

Published: 21 June 2023



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John Bell

Professor Sir John Irving Bell is appointed a Companion of Honour (CH) in the King’s Birthday Honours list.

Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, said: ‘I was delighted to hear that I had been recognised with a King’s Honour for the work I have done in medicine and life sciences.  It reflects the efforts of the very large number of people across the sector who have made this one of the UK’s strongest disciplines.’

The citation for Professor Sir John Bell highlights his transformation of the University’s research and innovation ecosystem enabling billions of pounds of investment in research programmes, equipment, major building projects and land purchases. The development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine would not have been possible without his vision to build vaccines research in Oxford over the last 30 years.

During the pandemic he dedicated countless hours assisting the UK with strategies for developing and rolling out vaccines, understanding emerging immunology and developing national testing programmes.

The citation goes on to state that Sir John is admired across the world as an energetic force operating across academia, philanthropists, industry and Whitehall, working with great dedication to communicate key scientific ideas, translate them to practical applications and identify key enablers to implementation.


Professor Milner Gulland

Professor E.J. Milner-Gulland is appointed a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to biodiversity conservation.

Professor Milner-Gulland, Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity at the University of Oxford, said: ‘I was absolutely thrilled and shocked to receive the letter telling me that I’d been nominated for a Damehood, although the news has still not really sunk in even a couple of weeks later. It’s really a great honour, which means a lot to me and to my family.’

The citation for Professor Milner-Gulland's Damehood highlights her sustained high-level contribution over a 32-year career to biodiversity conservation directly and by inspiring and enabling others, many notably from developing countries. She is one of the UK's pre-eminent scientists; her research group, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science, works across five continents to understand, predict, and influence human behaviour to reduce biodiversity loss while upholding human rights and wellbeing, advise businesses on improving environmental and social sustainability, and control illegal wildlife trade.

Professor Milner-Gulland, added: ‘A lot of the credit needs to go to the past and present members of my group, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science. They work on a wide range of collaborative projects which aim to support and improve conservation policy and practice around the world, and are a constant source of inspiration to me.’

She runs large programmes on quantifying and mitigating the biodiversity impacts of food systems, industrial activities and the wildlife trade, and aims to ensure that all the research in her group is addressing issues identified by practitioners, is carried out collaboratively with end-users, and builds the capacity of young conservationists, particularly in developing countries.

Professor Milner-Gulland has also launched a number of initiatives which aim to change the real-world conversation around conservation, including the Alliance of Nature-Positive Universities and the Conservation Optimism movement. She has chaired the UK Government's Darwin Expert Committee since 2019 and since 2021 has served on HM Treasury's Biodiversity Valuation Working Group.

She has been a Trustee of numerous organisations including WWF-UK, Flora and Flora International, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Saiga Conservation Alliance and Conservation Optimism, and advises numerous national and international bodies such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the UN Convention on Migratory Species, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and UK Research Councils and conservation organisations.


Paul Newman

Professor Paul Newman is appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to engineering and technology.

Paul Newman, BP Professor of Information Engineering, said: ‘Like many, I am immensely proud of the UK’s extraordinary engineering heritage, so to be recognised for contributing to that heritage is a great honour. As a discipline I love engineering both for its intellectually challenging nature and its immense capacity to improve the world.’

Professor Newman is also a member of the Department of Engineering Science and founded the Oxford Robotics Institute, which enjoys a world leading reputation in mobile autonomy, developing machines which roll, walk, poke, swim and fly in the real world. His research work focuses on pushing the boundaries of navigation and autonomy techniques in terms of both endurance and scale. In 2014 he founded Oxbotica, a spinout company focused on Mobile Autonomy. Professor Newman has already been elected fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the IEEE with a citation for outstanding contributions to robot navigation.

He said: ‘In the past 20 years, our world has changed almost beyond recognition thanks to innovations in information engineering. And there is much more to come. It remains a privilege to teach, learn and think alongside my outstanding colleagues at Oxford. Together we are using robotics and AI to transform the way we move people and goods now and into the future.’


Alison Noble

Alison Noble, Technikos Professor of Biomedical Engineering, is appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Engineering and Biomedical Imaging.

Professor Noble’s academic research interests are at the inter-disciplinary interface of artificial intelligence (computer vision) and biomedical imaging with her group best known for its work on machine learning-based ultrasound image analysis. Recently, it was announced that she is a recipient of a UKRI Turing AI World-Leader Researcher Fellowship themed around human-machine collaboration in healthcare imaging (from October 2023).

Professor Noble was a member of REF21 Subpanel 12 (Engineering) and has served on several UKRI (EPSRC and MRC) committees, including as Chair of the EPSRC Healthcare Technologies Strategic Advisory Team (SAT). She is a current member of the EPSRC Science, Engineering and Technology Board.

Professor Noble is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET), and of the Royal Society.  She is a former IET Trustee and was appointed a Vice President and Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society in 2023.

Professor Noble commented:  'It is a tremendous honour to receive a CBE for services to Engineering and Biomedical Imaging. I am very fortunate to work with many incredibly dedicated colleagues, and talented postdocs and students, at Oxford, UK-wide and overseas. This honour is a recognition not just of my work but also that of the outstanding people that I have had the privilege to work with.'



Parvinder Aley

Dr Parvinder Aley is appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Parvinder Aley is awarded an OBE

Dr Aley, Director of Global Operations at the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: ‘I feel incredibly privileged to receive this honour for contribution to the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and am proud to do so on behalf of all those who work tirelessly behind the scenes in the clinic, laboratory, administration and logistics to make scientific advances happen every day that can change the world.’

Dr Aley joined the Oxford Vaccine Group in May 2016 and later played a pivotal role in the clinical trial operations for the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, supporting not only the delivery of the trials in UK, Brazil and South Africa, but working with partners to ensure market authorisation of the vaccine at a global scale. She is responsible for the strategic oversight and direction of activity for the Oxford Vaccine Group, with the aim to facilitate research on the development and implementation of vaccines.

She said: ‘I hope we don’t have to face a pandemic again, but I cannot help but be inspired by these individuals who are filled with a responsibility to face the many challenges, draw on their individual skills and deliver to make the world a safer and healthier place.’


David Hunter

Earlier in the week (June 12) others individuals were recognised for their service to Australia in the King’s Birthday Honours List including David Hunter, Richard Doll Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at Oxford Population Health, who is appointed as a Companion of the Order of Australia.

In the Australian honours system, appointments as a Companion of the Order of Australia confer the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service. Professor Hunter’s appointment recognises his ‘eminent service to medicine as an epidemiologist, particularly in relation to disease prevention and early detection, and to the aetiology of breast, colorectal, prostate and skin cancers’.

Notably, nominations for awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia are made directly by the Australian community to recognise the achievements and service of fellow citizens and ‘other persons for achievement or meritorious service'.

Professor Hunter: said ‘I am delighted and honoured to receive this award which recognises the importance of cancer research. Whilst it is an individual honour, the award is testament to the dedication of all the colleagues I have worked with both at Oxford University and at Harvard, and our collaborators who work with us to improve our understanding of cancer and the lives of cancer patients’.