Queen’s University Belfast has welcomed the announcement that it has been awarded Northern Ireland’s first Regius Professorship by Her Majesty The Queen.
The title of Regius Professorship is a rare and prestigious award bestowed by the Sovereign to recognise exceptionally high quality research at an institution. Only 14 have been granted since the reign of Queen Victoria, including 12 to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The creation of Regius Professorships falls under the Royal Prerogative, and each appointment is approved by the Monarch on ministerial advice. For the Diamond Jubilee 12 Regius Professorship were created but prior to that only two others have been awarded in the last century, to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 2009. Before then, the most recent Regius Professorship was created by Queen Victoria.
Queen’s Regius Professorship has been awarded in Electronics and Computer Engineering. The His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales officially opened Queen’s Institute for Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) just last month. It is one of four new Global Research Institutes at the University.
ECIT is working to achieve a step change in Electronics and Computer Engineering research in order to address some of the key technological and ethical challenges facing society today; these include cybersecurity.
The award for Queen’s is one of twelve Regius Professorships granted as part of The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations. Selected by open competition, they were judged by an independent expert panel of business and academic experts.
Each institution awarded a Regius Professorship will assign the title to an existing professor at a chosen department, or will appoint a new professor to take the chair and hold the title.
Professor John McCanny FRS FREng, Director of ECIT at Queen’s, collected the award on behalf of the University. He added: “As one of Queen’s Global Research Institutes, ECIT brings together a critical mass of excellent researchers from a wide range of disciplines, in world-class facilities, to tackle some of the greatest global issues of our age. The remarkable recognition provided by the awarding of this esteemed and exceptional Regius Professorship, underlines not only the international excellence of our staff and PhD students, but also the importance of their work in protecting global society. The Regius Professorship will play a key role in the future leadership of ECIT and will contribute strongly to enhancing its already very successful achievements in research translation, working with industry, and economic impact.”
In February of this year, the work of ECIT in strengthening global cybersecurity and protecting the online activity of billions of internet users around the world, was recognised when the University was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education. Part of the national honours system, the Prize was presented by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
Research in Cybersecurity forms one of the major centres at the ECIT Global Research Institute: The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) which is the UK’s national Innovation & Knowledge Centre for cybersecurity. Other Centres include The Centre for Wireless Innovation which is redefining communications for a smarter world and The Centre for Data Science and Scalable Computing which is addressing the information explosion.
Further information on the ECIT Institute is available at www.ecit.qub.ac.uk