Professor Sir Rory Collins awarded the MRC Millennium Medal 2020

Professor Sir Rory Collins

Professor Sir Rory Collins, from the University of Oxford and UK Biobank, has been awarded the MRC Millennium Medal.

The Millenium medal is the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) most prestigious personal award.

Professor Sir Rory Collins is being honoured for his transformative national and international contributions to both cardiovascular disease and UK Biobank. These include his discoveries showing that statins safely reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes in a wide range of individuals, which has saved millions of lives worldwide.

As the latest recipient of the MRC Millennium Medal, Professor Sir Rory Collins joins an elite group of men and women, including:

  • Sir Peter Mansfield
  • Professor Janet Darbyshire
  • Professor Sir Philip Cohen.

All of whom were recognised for their exceptional contributions to medical research.

Sir Rory will deliver a lecture and will be presented with the medal commissioned from the Royal Mint at an awards ceremony in spring 2021.

Visionary leadership

Professor Fiona Watt, MRC Executive Chair, comments:

Rory Collins is one of the UK’s foremost clinician scientists. His national and international contributions to investigating the causes, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and his visionary leadership of UK Biobank have been remarkable.

The MRC is delighted to recognise Rory’s achievements by awarding him the MRC Millennium Medal 2020.

Professor Sir Rory Collins comments:

2020 is the year when the importance of medical research – from basic science at the level of the molecule to epidemiology on a global scale – for everyone in every country has become clear.

The ability of the world’s scientists to find ways to help control the COVID-19 pandemic so rapidly is a consequence of the type of long-term investment that the Medical Research Council makes in all types of medical research. As someone supported by the MRC throughout their research career, it is an extraordinary honour to be awarded its Millennium Medal at such a time.

About Professor Sir Rory Collins

Sir Rory Edwards Collins FMedSci FRS is British Heart Foundation Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford, the Head of the Nuffield Department of Population Health and a Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford.

Over his 40-year career in Oxford, Sir Rory has driven the establishment of large-scale epidemiological studies on the causes, prevention and treatment of heart attacks, other vascular disease, and cancer.

He has led large studies that has changed the face of global medical practice, including discovering that statins were effective in reducing the incidence of heart attacks and strokes in a wide range of individuals, making statins a standard of care worldwide.

UK Biobank

Since September 2005, Sir Rory has been the Principal Investigator and Chief Executive of UK Biobank, a large-scale biomedical database and research resource that can be accessed globally by approved researchers, to enable scientific discoveries that improve human health.

The database, which includes blood samples, heart and brain scans and genetic data of 500,000 volunteer participants aged 40–69 at recruitment, is currently funded by MRC and Wellcome, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and the Department of Health and Social Care.

All the UK Biobank’s data and samples are available for use by any researcher for any type of health-related research in the public interest, providing a world-famous data-sharing model. By mid-2020, approximately 16,500 researchers from almost 90 different countries had registered to use the resource and around 1,500 peer-reviewed papers had been published based on the UK Biobank’s datasets.

Other prestigious awards

Sir Rory has received other prestigious awards across his career, including receiving a knighthood in the 2011 New Year Queen’s Honours for services to science. He was also elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2004 and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2015.

In spring 2021, Sir Rory will be invited to present a lecture at the MRC Millennium Medal 2020 awards ceremony to celebrate his achievements and recognise his excellent contributions in the medical research space.

Top image: Professor Sir Rory Collins

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