New Year Honours List 2021 Celebrates Many in Social Science

The named recipients of the Queen’s High Honors: Carol Propper (top left), Karin Barber (right), and Richard James Atkins (bottom left)

An anthropologist expert in African languages, economists working on policies to address the effects of the COVID pandemic, and an award-winning college president were among those with social science affiliations receiving high honors in Britian’s New Year Honours list released on December 30. The New Year Honours are presented by the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and recognize the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom.

Queen Elizabeth II.

All told, 30 individuals received high honors — Companion of Honour, Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath, Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, Dame Commander of the Order of the Empire, or Knights Bachelor this year – while some 1,239 names made the list.

This year’s 2021 New Year Honour List is the most ethnically diverse yet, with 14.2 percent of recipients coming from Black, Asian or minority ethnic background, while of the 1,123 candidates selected, 603 (49 percent) are women. 6.9 percent of the successful candidates consider themselves to have a disability (under the Equality Act 2010) and 4 percent identified as being members of the LGBT+ community. Several of those recognized this year came from a social sciences background.  

Professor Karin Barber CBE FBA | Dame Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire

An anthropologist, Karin Barber has pioneered the study of African popular culture and developed new approaches to the study of oral and written texts in African languages. She was Professor of African Cultural Anthropology at the University of Birmingham from 1999-2017, and thereafter Emeritus Professor. In 2018, she became the Centennial Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. Since her CBE in 2012, she continues to open new lines of enquiry into everyday African culture. In 2018 she received the Distinguished Africanist Award of the African Studies Association, and in 2019 the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Rachel Susan Griffith CBE FBA | Dame Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire

Rachel Griffith has used her preeminent position to support the development of UK Government economic policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was the Royal Economics Society’s first female president in over 35 years and only the second woman to hold the post in its 129-year history. She has broken down institutional barriers and has brought together public, private and academic economists in the pursuit of a single national goal. She established the Economics Observatory whose purpose is to answer questions from policy-makers and the public about the economics of the COVID-19 crisis and the recovery.

Professor Carol Propper CBE FBA | Dame Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire

Carol Propper is a research fellow at the Center for Economic Policy Research and at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. She was elected as a fellow of the British Academy in 2014 and as an International Fellow of the National Academy of Medicine in 2018. From 2005-2009, she was both a Council Member for UK Research and Innovation’s Economic and Social Research Council, and Chair of their Research Grants Board. As president of the Royal Economics Society, she has demonstrated exceptional leadership that has directly supported the economic and public health policy responses of the UK against COVID-19.

Richard James Atkins CBE | Knights Bachelor

Richard Atkins spent 21 years as a college principal, including seven at Yeovil College and 14 at Exeter College. Under his leadership, Exeter was rated Outstanding in 2014 and won national awards, including TES College of the Year in 2012. Atkins oversaw the creation of one of the first Mats Free Schools. He held high-profile national positions such as Association of Colleges President and was the Further Education Commissioner from 2016-2021. He has been a pro-chancellor of Exeter University since 2017 and served on the board of Ofsted in 2016.

Robert William Chote | Knights Bachelor

Robert Chote has been instrumental in enhancing the public understanding of economics and the public finances across his 30-year career. This has culminated in a ten-year stewardship of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), in which his leadership has cemented the organisation as an integral and trusted part of the UK’s institutional architecture, as well as a reliable and independent source of information on the economy and public finances for Parliament, the press and the general public. He is also a visiting professor at King’s College London, chair of the Royal Statistical Society’s advisory group on public data literacy, a member of the Policy Committee of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and the Council of Westcott House Theological College in Cambridge. He is a governor of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).

Since 1890, these awards have named new members into the honor system by orders of chivalry and other official honors. The system celebrates the breadth of service given by people from all backgrounds across the UK. This year, the list of recipients highlighted the extraordinary public service executed by hundreds of public sector and community works throughout 2020 and into the new year.

Social Sciences in the 2021 New Year Honor List:

Knights Bachelor

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen | Professor of Autism Research, University of Cambridge

Professor Dieter Robin-Helm CBE | Professor of energy policy at the University of Oxford, and fellow in economics at New College, Oxford

Professor Francis Gerard McCormac FRSE | Principal and vice-chancellor, University of Stirling

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire

Professor Bashabi Fraser | Director of the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies at Edinburgh Napier University

Professor Edward William Peck | Vice-Chancellor, Nottingham Trent University

Professor Andrew Stuart Thompson | Former executive chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council

Professor Petra Wend FRSE | Former principal and vice-chancellor, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Professor Shearer Carroll West | Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham  

David Roydon Nightingale | Senior deputy vice-chancellor, University of Kent

Simon Keith Pirotte | Principal, Bridgend College

Professor Adele Diana Jones | Professor of social work, University of Huddersfield

Professor Kathleen Mary Linn Stock | Professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex

Kelly Ann Vere | Director of technical skills and strategy, University of Nottingham

Professor Michael David Wood | For services to Public History and to Broadcasting

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire

Professor Dawn June Brooker | Professor, Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester

Professor Christopher John Stratford Hodges | Professor of justice systems and head of CMS Research Programme

Professor Lorraine Sherr | Professor of clinical and health psychology, UCL, London

Professor Alexander Toogood | South East Thames Regional Health Authority Special Development Team

Helen Catherine Mortimer Whitehouse | Deputy director of museums and cultural property, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Individuals named here showcase only a fraction of the achievements celebrated in the full Honour List. Of those receiving an award, 65 percent are recognized for their community work, including those involved in the social sciences. Culture and heritage, anthropology, law, higher education and environmental preservation were only some of the subjects specifically tackled by award recipients. Regardless of their subject of focus, together, the Honour List demonstrates the collaboration and communication that occurred across a host of disciplines in response to the global pandemic. As Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “The outstanding efforts of those receiving honors today are a welcome reminder of the strength of human spirit, and of what can be achieved through courage and compassion.”

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Kenalyn Ang

Kenalyn Ang is the social science communications intern with SAGE Publishing. She is also a communications student at the USC Annenberg School. Her research focuses on consumer behavior, identity-making and representation through the written word, and creative sensory marketing and branding strategies.

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