Recognising Women of Achievement at Leeds

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on the 8th of March. On this special day, we are celebrating and highlighting the great achievements of some of the women here at Leeds, their impact across the University and beyond.

Seven years ago the University established The Women of Achievement awards to recognise staff and students who have achieved an external prize or award for their work.

Meet fifteen women that received recent awards and find out more about their accomplishments.

Dr Claire Eldridge - School of History
Dr Claire Eldridge is a remarkable early career scholar — a brilliant teacher, excellent administrator and a thoughtful contributor to School policy, not least in the fields of gender, diversity, equality and widening participation. She was acknowledged as one of the leading historical voices of her generation in 2017, when she was awarded the prestigious Royal Historical Society’s Gladstone Prize.

Dr Christina Stefan - School of Politics and International Studies
With a proven track record within the field of International Relations, Lecturer Dr Cristina Stefan is also Co-Director of the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (ECR2P), establishing a network of researchers across 27 states. She is honoured for her excellence in leadership, impact and research across several fronts, including sustained contributions to the advancement of early career women researchers.

Elizabeth Kapasa - School of Mechanical Engineering
Postgraduate researcher Elizabeth Kapasa has made an exceptional contribution to research in the field of Biomedical Engineering. She is working on ways in which cell-sheet engineering can provide innovative new treatments for degenerative bone diseases, such as osteoporosis. Elizabeth won the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine Spiers Prize for Outreach in 2017 for her contribution to promoting bioengineering.

Pictured above from left to right: Dr Claire Eldridge, Dr Christina Stefan and Elizabeth Kapasa.

Professor Barbara Evans - School of Civil Engineering
Professor Barbara Evans won the International Water Association (IWA) 2017 Development Award: Research. She is an outstanding and internationally leading researcher, working in the field of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the global South. She has built a substantial research portfolio, working with organisations across Africa and Asia, and developed a WASH MSc programme that is recognised worldwide.

Professor Claire Honess - School of Languages, Cultures and Societies
Since her appointment as Dean of the Leeds Doctoral College, Professor Claire Honess has continued her impressive record of achievement, in particular through the establishment of the Doctoral College, which is bringing unprecedented coordination and energy to the support of postgraduate researchers across the University. As Professor of Italian Studies, she is an internationally-renowned scholar of Dante, with a number of important publications to her name.

Dr Julia Steiberger - School of Earth and Environment
Dr Julia Steinberger is a true inter-disciplinarian, who started off in the natural sciences but has had a lifelong interest in history and political philosophy that has gradually become more central in her research. Julia won a Leverhulme Research Leadership Award to work on LiLi — Living well within limits. This important project explores how people’s needs can be met without compromising the integrity of the planetary system.

Pictured above from left to right: Professor Barbara Evans, Professor Claire Honess and Dr Julia Steiberger.

Dr Katie Field - School of Biology
Dr Katie Field is a superb scientist with extraordinary capacity for interdisciplinary innovation, and has internationally-recognised expertise in symbioses between plants and fungi. Katie was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Biological Sciences in 2017 for her research on the diversity and evolution of plant-fungal symbioses.

Dr Louise Ellis - Sustainability Services
As Director of Sustainability Services, Dr Louise Ellis has made an enormous contribution to sustainability at the University through her energy, commitment and leadership. Louise secured the attainment of ISO 14001 — a University-wide, accredited, Environmental Management System, which provides a framework to systematically assess and track our environmental legal compliance. Louise is also the winner of six Green Gown awards for Sustainability practices and won the Carbon Trust Energy award for best Sustainability Communications Campaign. Louise also leads the University’s commitment to being single-use plastic-free by 2023.

Lenka Vráblíková - School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
Lenka Vráblíková is a Visiting Research Fellow with a sustained commitment to engaging others and fostering feminist networks and scholarship within the University and internationally. After her leading role in organising the international ‘Feminist Readings’ conference at the University in 2016, Lenka helped to secure funding for the Feminist Readings Network from the Gender and Education Association. The Network consists of early career researchers, based in four different universities - Paris 8, Leeds, Helsinki and the University of South Africa in Pretoria.

Pictured above from left to right: Dr Katie Field, Dr Louise Ellis and Lenka Vráblíková.

Louise Banahene - Student Education Service
Louise Banahene is a Head of Educational Engagement who was awarded an MBE in the 2018 New Year Honours list for her services to Higher Education (HE). Louise’s responsibilities at the University include widening participation to maximise progression to, and success in, HE regardless of background. This includes outreach, Access to Leeds, financial support and student success programmes at undergraduate and taught postgraduate level.

Dr Pamela Macpherson Barrett - Policy, Funding and Regulation, Strategy and Planning
Dr Pamela Macpherson Barrett heads the team that makes student-related statutory returns, monitors Access Agreement targets and fulfils other regulatory duties. She played a leading role in the University’s TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) submission, for which the University was awarded Gold.

Professor Fiona Meldrum - School of Chemistry
Professor Fiona Meldrum is Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and a world-leader in materials chemistry, specifically in the study and control of crystallisation of inorganic substances to produce crystalline particles with defined sizes, structures and properties. In much of this work, she exploits, mimics and repurposes the strategies that nature uses to make diverse materials, such as seashells, bones and teeth. Fiona won the Interdisciplinary Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2017.

Pictured above from left to right: Louise Banahene, Dr Pamela Macpherson Barrett and Professor Fiona Meldrum.

Professor Jane Nixon - Faculty of Medicine and Health
Professor Jane Nixon was awarded an MBE in 2017 for services to pressure ulcer research. She is Deputy Director of the Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research, and leads a ground-breaking programme of research into reducing the risk of patients developing pressure sores. She has held National Institute of Health Research Programme grants and Clinical Trial Project grants. She serves on numerous national committees and advisory boards, and is currently the President of the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel.

Professor Pinar Akman - School of Law
Professor Pinar Akman is the Director of the Centre for Business Law and Practice and an expert in competition law. She was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2017, recognising ‘the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising’. Professor Akman has been involved in many externally-funded research projects, including as an investigator for the Economic and Social Research Council Centre for Competition Policy.

Professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin - Centre for Decision Research, Leeds University Business School
Professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin conducts psychological research on promoting better decision-making competence and related outcomes across the adult lifespan. Her research is of immense interest to academics and practitioners, who seek to improve how people make decisions about their personal finances, health, sustainability and climate change. She was made a Fellow of the Psychonomic Society (US) and of the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging, and Retirement (NETSPAR).

Pictured above from left to right: Professor Jane Nixon, Professor Pinar Akman and Professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin.

Congratulations to all Women of Achievement 2018. Find out more about the awards and discover women who received awards in previous years.




The University of Leeds was founded in 1904, and its origins go back to the nineteenth century with the founding of the Leeds School of Medicine in 1831.

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