Two senior academics at the University of Strathclyde have been named in the New Year Honours List.

Professor Eleanor Shaw, Associate Principal, has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to entrepreneurship and education, while Professor Zoe Shipton, an expert in Geological Engineering, has been awarded an OBE for services to geoscience and climate change mitigation.

Professor Shaw has more than 25 years’ experience in delivering entrepreneurship education around the world, and has helped transform the University’s approach to entrepreneurial teaching, research and innovation to drive inclusive economic growth in Scotland and the UK.

Her ethos of ‘entrepreneurship for all’ has been adopted throughout the University, and she championed the successful introduction of the University’s flagship entrepreneurship programme, Strathclyde Inspire, which will see the development of a state-of-the-art Entrepreneurship Hub in the heart of Glasgow City Innovation District.

It has already created a £7.5 million investment fund for companies started by students, staff and alumni, and has introduced Senior Enterprise Fellows from business and industry – innovation leaders who are encouraging and supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Truly humbled

Professor Shaw said: “I am truly humbled to be recognised in the New Year Honours List. As my colleagues, friends and family know, I am deeply passionate about entrepreneurship and education. I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had to work alongside so many talented, entrepreneurial colleagues and I am proud of everything we have achieved so far.

“This award is testament to all the entrepreneurial people, including students, from whom I have learnt so much. Throughout my career they have motivated and encouraged me, and I want to publicly thank them and also my family for their support.

“I will continue to champion entrepreneurship and education and I am committed to providing all young people with the opportunity to unlock and explore their entrepreneurial potential and to use that potential for good. I firmly believe that entrepreneurial thinking and actions will contribute much to helping us identify innovative, workable solutions to some of the most challenging problems we face.”

Climate change

Professor Shipton is internationally recognised for her expertise in geoscience and climate change mitigation and is currently Deputy Head of the University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, having previously been Head of Department there and a Vice-Dean in the Faculty of Engineering.

Her research is concerned with the structural and permeability architecture of faults and is driving our understanding of 3D fault structures – a key to answering many questions concerning the evolution of faulty zone structures and the mitigation of fluids through the Earth’s crust.

Her work also encompasses the role of geothermal energy in decarbonising heating and improving our understanding of the impact and effects of geothermal energy extraction on the environment.

Professor Shipton chairs the UK Geoenergy Observatories Science Advisory Group which provides guidance to two research facilities in Cheshire and Glasgow run by the British Geological Survey that will inform the responsible development of new energy technologies.

In 2016 Professor Shipton was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and earlier this year became its Fellowship Secretary and a member of the Council.

She said: “I am delighted to be awarded this honour: really this represents a recognition for a large team of colleagues, researchers and research students, technicians and support staff whose work is so essential to my research. I can’t thank them enough.  It also recognises the incredible support I have had from my family, who cheer me along and provide a motivation to strive for a net zero future for the next generation. 

“I have been fascinated by geoscience since I was a child. The processes that created the rocks under our feet, produced our atmosphere and water, and which are active on other planets, are endlessly intriguing. Geoscience underpins everything we consume from supplying our energy, the metals in our phones, and even the soil we grow our food in.

“Humanity’s consumption of our geological resources has had a profound positive effect on our quality of life: enabling warmer, better fed, healthier societies. At the same time, the negative environmental effects of our consumption are being felt across the planet. Geoscience is at the heart of efforts to mitigate these effects: safe and effective subsurface disposal of greenhouse gases or radioactive waste; responsible production of the limited amount of hydrocarbons we can afford to utilise; smart use of the Earth’s geothermal resources for decarbonising heating and cooling – all rely on a deep understanding of Earth processes.

“Just as university research is a team effort, reaching a socially just global net zero society requires all disciplines to pull together to find practical solutions to complex interdisciplinary questions along the way.”

Outstanding people

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see more Strathclyders being recognised in this way. As a leading international technological university that is socially progressive, we are home to outstanding people who are committed to making a positive impact for our students, our city and the global communities we serve.

“Professors Shaw and Shipton embody the University’s founding ethos of ‘useful learning’ and I know the entire University community will join me in congratulating them on this richly-deserved recognition.”