Professor Dame Jane Francis DCMG, has been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science, (Honoris Causa), by Royal Holloway for her outstanding contribution to environmental science and polar research.
The ceremony was held at the university’s campus in Egham, Surrey, where Professor Francis was joined by students from the Department of Earth Sciences who received their relevant undergraduate and postgraduate degree certificates in the field of Earth Sciences. Her oration was given by Professor Andrew C. Scott.
After training as a geologist at the University of Southampton, Professor Francis went on to be a Natural Environment Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at Bedford College London, one of the founding institutions of Royal Holloway as it is today.
Through her career, Professor Francis has been a Research Associate at the University of Adelaide, a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Paleoclimatology at the University of Leeds, where she was also Dean of the Faculty of Environment and is currently Chancellor of that university. Her research interests include ancient climates and fossil plants from the Arctic and Antarctica, which are used to decipher polar climates of the past.
In 2002, Professor Francis was awarded the Polar Medal for her contribution to British polar research, and in 2017 was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to UK polar science and diplomacy.
Speaking of her honorary doctorate, Professor Francis said: “I am extremely honoured to be awarded this degree by Royal Holloway.
“Climate warming caused by human activities across the globe is causing dramatic changes in the polar regions, so polar research is critical for predicting how changes in the Arctic and Antarctica, especially on the great ice sheets of Antarctica and rising sea levels, will affect us all across the planet.
“It is exciting to see so many young people who, through their studies in earth sciences, have demonstrated their interest in these issues which affect us all.
“I hope that wherever their future takes them, each will use the knowledge they have gained through their studies to help protect our world for future generations.”
To watch Professor Dame Jane Francis after receiving her award talking about the challenges and opportunities facing graduates of earth sciences - click here