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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Renowned graduate in polar science receives Damehood

Published: 4 January 2017
Southampton alumna, Professor Jane
Southampton alumna, Professor Jane Francis.

Leading polar scientist and Southampton alumna Professor Jane Francis has been made a Dame in the 2017 New Year Honours list from Her Majesty, The Queen.

Professor Francis, Director of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), was appointed Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (DCMG) in recognition of services to UK polar science and diplomacy. 

A specialist in palaeoclimatology and palaeobotany, Professor Francis originally graduated from the University with a BSc (Hons) in Geology in 1978, before going on to achieve her PhD in 1982.

Since being appointed Director of BAS in 2013, she has had a dual role of ensuring UK scientific polar excellence and promoting British sovereign interests in Antarctica. As the first female Director, she has embraced gender diversity and has been an inspiration and influential figure in the British scientific establishment.

Professor Francis commented:

“This award comes as a surprise and an honour. It has been a pleasure to have worked together with so many friends from polar nations around the world to ensure that Antarctica remains a continent dedicated to peace and science – science that matters to everyone on planet Earth.”

Throughout her career, Professor Francis has been recognised with numerous awards. In 2002, she became only the fourth woman to receive the Polar Medal, presented by The Queen for outstanding contribution to British polar research. In 2014, Professor Francis was named ‘Explorer Scientist’ among 100 leading UK scientists by The Science Council.

She has also received the Coke Medal from the Geological Society of London for contributions to Geology; the President’s Award of the Paleontological Society; and the Antarctic Service Medal from the US National Science Foundation.

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