Strathclyde wins Queen’s Anniversary Prize for photonics innovation

Professor Sir Jim McDonald accepting Queen's Anniversary Prize from HRH The Prince of Wales.

The University of Strathclyde has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in recognition of its research and innovation in the field of Photonics – the science of light.

The Award, announced at a reception in St James’ Palace, reflects the University's longstanding and internationally recognised contribution to photonics research and development and its three-decade journey in establishing a globally acknowledged photonics ecosystem.

The judging panel commended the University's large-scale, cutting-edge research efforts and its effective translation into practical applications.

They also noted Strathclyde's dynamic research community and its record of enterprise and successful commercialisation, bolstered by its close partnership working with industry. This synergy has created an environment ripe for innovation, benefiting not only the University but also the thriving companies within the wider Strathclyde ecosystem.

Part of the UK’s Honours system, the Queen’s Anniversary Prize is the highest national accolade in the sector, recognising world-class excellence and achievement.

Innovative approach

The accolade is the University’s fourth – and third consecutive – Queen’s Anniversary Prize, following awards in 1996 for Electrical Power Engineering, 2019 for Energy Innovation and in 2021 for Advanced Manufacturing capabilities.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the Strathclyde, said: “I am delighted that Strathclyde has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in the field of Photonics. This award is a testament to our innovative approach and dedication to excellence in photonics research.

“This is the third successive Queen’s Anniversary Prize we have won in recent years – making us one of only a handful of institutions to have achieved such a feat. It is also a reflection of our staff's quality, hard work, commitment, and the forward-thinking attitude that Strathclyde embodies.

Our achievements in this field are not just a mark of our success but also acknowledge our contributions to society and the broader industrial sectors we engage with.

Strathclyde's pioneering role in photonics began in 1982 with the establishment of a Chair in Photonics, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK

Today, the University boasts a cluster of more than 230 photonics researchers, making it one of the largest groups in the UK. Strathclyde is also home to the UK’s first and only Fraunhofer Centre, dedicated to translating cutting-edge research into real-world applications.

The Prize not only showcases Strathclyde’s significant contributions to business and industry but also celebrates the collective effort and commitment of the University's staff and students.

Sir Jim said: “It is the effort, commitment, and skills of our staff – combined with a collective ‘can-do’ attitude – that makes Strathclyde what it is. Through our shared purpose and values, Strathclyders are making a positive impact on our students, our city, and the global communities we serve.”