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Pro Vice-Chancellor and Economist at the University of Bristol receive Queen’s Birthday Honours

Prof Sarah Purdy (left) and Prof Sarah Smith.

Press release issued: 1 June 2022

University of Bristol academics Prof Sarah Purdy and Prof Sarah Smith have received awards in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list which recognises the outstanding achievements and service of people across the UK, in celebration of Her Majesty’s unprecedented 70 years of service.

In tribute to The Queen, recipients have been awarded for their outstanding contributions across all sectors, but in particular for sustained public service, the environment and sustainability, and youth engagement.

Professor Sarah Purdy is the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience and a practising GP based at Sea Mills Surgery in Bristol. She has been awarded an OBE for her clinical research, teaching and leadership contributions in general practice and medicine more widely.

After qualifying in medicine from St Bartholomew's Hospital in London she trained in general practice at Exeter and then in research at the Harvard School of Public Health as well as working as a GP in Devon, York, Gateshead and Hull before coming to Bristol in 2004.

Academically, Professor Purdy has been a Research Fellow at Harvard, a Lecturer at Newcastle and a Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor in Primary Care at the University of Bristol where she led the Bristol Medical School from 2015 to 2019 before becoming PVC for Student Experience. Last year she was appointed as a Non-Executive Director at North Bristol NHS Trust.

Professor Purdy said: “I feel surprised, honoured and humbled to have received this award. Working as a GP and contributing to teaching and research in primary care has been a core part of my life for over 30 years and it is incredibly special to be recognised for this. 

“It has been a real privilege to be part of a fantastic and dedicated multi-disciplinary team at Sea Mills Surgery and to work with outstanding academic and professional services colleagues in the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol.”

Professor Sarah Smith from the School of Economics has been awarded an OBE for her services to Economics and Education.

Professor Smith has been a faculty member at Bristol since 2005 and was Head of Economics from 2014-to-2021. She has held previous positions at the London School of Economics, the Financial Services Authority, HM Treasury and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

She is an applied micro-economist whose research covers public and labour economics and is currently working on issues in pro-social behaviour and gender. Her work on legacy-giving was submitted as an impact case study in REF2021.

Professor Smith is founder and co-chair of Discover Economics, a campaign to increase diversity among economics students. She was previously chair of the Royal Economic Society’s (RES) Women’s Committee, an elected member of the RES council, as well as the European Economics Association council.

Professor Smith said: “I am absolutely honoured and delighted to be receive this award.

“I owe a huge debt of thanks to all the people I have worked with and who have supported me over the years. I have been lucky enough in the past few years to work on a cause that I believe in passionately – attracting more diverse students to economics – and I look forward to creating more opportunities for young people to find out about this fantastic subject, and changing their perceptions of economics and economists.”

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