The Princess Royal, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, was officially welcomed to the RSE by its president Professor Sir John Ball on Wednesday, 8 November, to award Professor Andrew Morris and Professor David Leigh with their Royal Medals.

Professor Morris is Professor of Medicine and Vice-Principal in Data Science at the University of Edinburgh, as well as the Director of HDR UK, the national institute for health data science.

Professor Andrew Morris FRSE was awarded his Royal Medal for “exceptional contributions to advancing health data science in Scotland and internationally.”

This award recognises his contribution to scientific research through the creation of HDR UK and the UK’s Health Innovation Gateway, which has catalysed the trustworthy use of health data for patient and public benefit. This has already proven its worth in the fight against Covid-19 with real-time reporting to Chief Medical Officer advisory groups and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

Professor Morris said:

“It is a great honour to be the recipient of the Royal Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Health data has the potential to change people’s lives for the better. This was underscored during the Pandemic when we were privileged to work with teams from across the UK and internationally. These collaborations demonstrated how health data science could create new knowledge and wisdom that improved health outcomes on a global scale.”

Professor David Leigh FRSE, of the University of Manchester, was also awarded the Royal Medal for “pioneering work in methods to control molecular-level dynamics.”

His body of work on the synthesis of entwined and entangled molecular systems, in the form of threads, knots, and links, has been hailed as groundbreaking and has enabled the advancement of synthetic molecular machines, known as nanobots.

President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Professor Sir John Ball, said:

“I would like to congratulate the medalists Professor David Leigh and Professor Andrew Morris on their scientific achievements. They are truly exemplary of the RSE’s mission of knowledge for public good and as such thoroughly deserving of this recognition.”

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