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LSHTM receives Queen's Anniversary Prize recognising response to Ebola epidemic

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has today received a distinguished Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in recognition of its response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014/15.
Caption: Peter Piot accepting Queen's Anniversary Prize. Credit: BCA Film/LSHTM

The prize was presented by the Prince of Wales during a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace.

As a national honour, the prize consists of a silver-gilt medallion and a Prize Certificate signed by HM The Queen.

Prizes are part of the honours system and are awarded every two years by The Queen on the Prime Minister’s advice. The honour is awarded to institutions who have demonstrated excellence, innovation and practical benefit to the UK and for public benefit in general. 

Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Professor Baron Peter Piot KCMG, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this prestigious honour. When the Ebola epidemic became widespread and unmanageable, it was our duty to support global efforts to help stop the outbreak.

“Our response was possible because of our unique combination of a strong science base, our responsive support staff, our global networks, and above all because of who we are, how we think and what our commitment is; in other words our ethos. I would like to thank our committed community of staff, students and alumni for their skill and ongoing dedication to tackling major global health issues.” 

​  Caption: Peter Piot accepting Queen's Anniversary Prize. Credit: LSHTM  ​
​ Caption: Peter Piot accepting Queen's Anniversary Prize. Credit: BCA Film/LSHTM

When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was a public health emergency of international concern in August 2014, LSHTM coordinated urgent response efforts. More than 400 academic and professional services staff volunteered to respond, with many volunteers deployed via Save the Children, Public Health England, Médecins Sans Frontières and the WHO. LSHTM continued to pay the salary of anyone who volunteered to work on Ebola care and control in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, or backfill posts in WHO offices.

Staff and students carried out mathematical modelling and other research to support Ebola response planning. Researchers carried out accelerated clinical trials in the field, including the EBOVAC Ebola vaccine trial which is currently ongoing. Experts established an Ebola Response Anthropology Platform to help health workers develop culturally sensitive interventions, and developed free online education programmes to combat the spread of the disease. LSHTM was part of an independent panel advising on major reforms targeted at prevention of future global outbreaks and now runs the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team in partnership with Public Health England, funded by the UK Government.  

LSHTM is one of 21 UK universities and colleges of further education presented with a Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in the current - twelfth biennial - round of the scheme.

Other work recognised included rail and aviation engineering, climate change and environmental protection, cancer drug discovery and drug safety, and food and nutrition for health.