Career News

Polly Arnold receives Queen's Birthday Honour

21.6.2017 | The AcademiaNet scientist is rewarded an OBE for her services to chemistry and women in STEM.
Prof Polly Arnold speaking at a MRC Wikimedia UK on 3 December 2013
Bild vergrößern
(© Daria Cybulska (WMUK))

Prof Polly Arnold speaking at a MRC Wikimedia UK on 3 December 2013 | Image licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

To mark her official birthday, Queen Elizabeth II has given out honours to extraordinary people all over the UK – including the AcademiaNet researcher Professor Polly Arnold. The University of Edinburgh scientist was appointed to the Order of the British Empire, receiving the title of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) last Friday. She was given this award in recognition of her "services to Chemistry and Women in STEM".

A chemist at the University of Edinburgh, Professor Arnold works on creating and studying unusual chemical complexes that incorporate rare elements. These compounds can display unique catalyst features, which may enable otherwise difficult chemical transformations. Potential applications are, among others, the generation of biodegradable plastics. Professor Arnold is also a fierce proponent of women in science: In 2012, she produced 'A Chemical Imbalance' – which she describes as "a film and book that celebrates women in science, and explores the issues that contribute to their continuing under-representation."

Professor Arnold was stunned and humbled to receive the accolade. To AcademiaNet, she said: "I’m extremely flattered and hope it will make me work harder, and make me sound more persuasive. There are so many more things I want to do to help improve diversity in STEM."

The Queen each year rewards achievements in the sciences, the arts as well as charitable contributions to British society and to public service with her Birthday Honours. According to the British government's website, this year's selection is the most diverse ever: efforts were made to include a substantial number of individuals from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background, and 50 percent of the awardees are women. 2017 also marks the centenary of the Order of the British Empire: Its first members were appointed by King George V in 1917.

  (© AcademiaNet)

More information

Original article


  1. Read what our members say about AcademiaNet.

Follow us

No more excuses!

  1. Please download the brochure "No more excuses" and read more about female experts in Europe, and about AcademiaNet.


  1. Françoise Combes awarded the 2020 CNRS Gold Medal

    The expert in galaxy evolution is honoured with the highest research award in France.

  2. On the significance of cortisol: Insights from Prof. Nina Henriette Uhlenhaut

    The numbers of Covid-19 cases are increasing worldwide. But in comparison to the beginning of the pandemic we are not completely clueless anymore—first treatment options for some of the most severely ill have emerged and surprisingly one of the drug candidates is an old friend: steroids in the form of Dexamethasone. We spoke with Professor Nina Henriette Uhlenhaut from the Technical University Munich and the Helmholtz Center in Munich, Germany, who researches what these steroids do in the body and why they have so many side-effects.

  3. Riitta Hari receives Finnish Academy of Sciences Honorary Prize

    The physician and brain researcher was recognised for her life’s work.

  4. Five AcademiaNet members achieve lifetime EMBO Membership

    Chosen for their outstanding achievements in the life sciences, the women join the likes of Nobel Prize winners, Dorothy Hodgkin and Ada Yonath.

  5. Archaeology has to change: Prof. Natascha Mehler and the Hanseatic League

    When thinking of the Hanseatic League what comes to mind usually are the iconic buildings in the Hanseatic cities in Germany and along the Baltic Sea. But only few people know that the Hanseatic League also went to a different region: the North Atlantic and the Northern islands. Prof. Natascha Mehler from the University of Tuebingen focuses on this rather unique aspect of the Hanseatic League in her research. We spoke with her about her newest project and the situation of women in academic archaeology.