The Royal accolade for CNAP (Centre for Novel Agricultural Products) announced at St James's Palace on Thursday 17 November is the second to be conferred on the University in less than 10 years. It was previously awarded to the University in 1996 for the excellence of its work in Computer Science.
Introduced following the 40th Anniversary of the Queen's reign in 1992, the prizes rank alongside the Queen's Awards for Industry. They are given biennially for "work of exceptional quality and of broad benefit either nationally or internationally."
CNAP, which is part of the University's Department of Biology, works with the natural world to find solutions to problems facing our society. Plants capture solar energy and use it to make a vast range of products in a sustainable way. This ability is much needed by a world facing the depletion of finite fossil reserves and the increasing costs of oil and petrochemicals. CNAP's six Professors work with some 70 researchers and support staff to develop a range of research programmes building on the capacity of plants and microbes to make useful products.
Founded six years ago, the research centre has already established international recognition for its achievements, the quality and creativity of its research and its commitment to communicate science to the public.
CNAP's founder and Director, Professor Dianna Bowles, said "The award of a Queens Anniversary Prize after just six years of existence is a great honour and credit to all of those who have helped to establish CNAP as a vibrant environment, committed to using science to benefit society. Increasing our knowledge of plants and the natural world provides a real opportunity to develop sustainable solutions to many of the problems facing us."
The University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor said: "The spectacular success of CNAP is testimony to the breadth of its research, its close interactions with the public and its focus on realising the potential of renewable resources. Fossil fuel reserves are finite and it is essential that society finds new sustainable alternatives.
"The fact that this is the University's second Queen's Anniversary Prize - the first being for our work in Computer Science - reflects the all-round excellence of the University's research and teaching, and its commitment to engaging with the public on many levels."