Women of Achievement Awards 2021 | Our special celebrants

In a new series profiling our Women of Achievement Awards 2021 celebrants, we’re highlighting outstanding accomplishments of four colleagues in the field of international research and development.

Our 28 Women of Achievement 2021 were honoured during a special online ceremony

Women of Achievement Awards 2021 | Our special celebrants. March 2021

Amazing achievements of 28 colleagues were recognised during a special online ceremony earlier this month.

Held for the sixth time, the awards aim to acknowledge and celebrate women who share a common commitment to excellence and have performed outstandingly in their fields, whether this be in research, student education or student experience, scholarship, international strategies, leadership of key University initiatives, or supporting vital administrative and technical activities.

The awards highlight the significant contributions and impact the recipients have made across the University and beyond.

The women receiving awards were all nominated by their peers, and are drawn from across the University, from a range of academic and professional colleagues, highlighting how excellence is being achieved throughout the institution.

Addressing global health concerns

Professor Anwesha Sarkar (School of Food Science and Nutrition) is an internationally leading scientist in the field of colloids and surfaces.

Her research on lubrication across scales has led to scientific breakthroughs in the design of innovative food structures, addressing global health challenges.

Professor Sarkar was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Food Group Junior Medal in 2019.

She said: “I’m delighted on being recognised at the University’s Women of Achievement Awards 2021, especially as the news came during my maternity leave!

“I’m proud to be a part of our University with such a great pool of inspiring women, and I’m especially privileged to have a team of researchers coming from diverse backgrounds. This award is a great recognition of our research on colloid science and oral lubrication to address global health concerns, not only for me, but also for my multicultural research team.”

Women of Achievement Awards 2021 | Our special celebrants. March 2021

Professor Anwesha Sarkar has been honoured for helping address global health challenges

Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion

Dr Fozia Bora (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies – LCS) is a prize-winning researcher in the field of Medieval Islamic History, who has widely engaged non-academic communities with her outstanding research.

She has pioneered the adoption of decolonial pedagogy in the school, and made a vital contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion within LCS and the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures.

Dr Bora said: “I’m deeply grateful for the honour of this prestigious award.

“It’s incredibly valuable to me as a recognition of my research and my collaborations with colleagues and students. I’ve enjoyed the inspiration and personal growth that comes with disseminating the fruits of academic research amongst non-university communities, who have an equal passion for ideas about history, and the award further motivates me to engage and collaborate widely in creative ways.

“Contributing to the connected processes of promoting equality, inclusion and decolonial teaching in University life taps into our shared commitments as a campus community. I hope this award stands as inspiration to others of many backgrounds to embrace radical inclusion in our teaching and research practices, as befits the University as a global institution in the 21st century. Thank you!”

Women of Achievement Awards 2021 | Our special celebrants. March 2021

Dr Fozia Bora received her award for pioneering the adoption of decolonial pedagogy and making a vital contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion

Sharing a passion for excellence

Honorary Clinical Associate Professor Helena Marzo-Ortega (School of Medicine) is an international leader in the use of biologics and imaging in Spondyloarthritis.

She has led the multi award-winning Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust Specialist Spondyloarthritis Service since 2008 – now a recognised centre of excellence and a vibrant research hub in the study of axial Spondyloarthritis and Psoriatic arthritis. Helena is founding member and Chair of the British Society for Spondyloarthritis and the Leeds Spondyloarthritis Academy.

Professor Marzo-Ortega said: “I’m really humbled to have been nominated by my peers to join these incredible women of achievement.

“As an academic clinician, I’m moved by people and a passion for excellence and making a difference to their lives, with a firm belief of the need to embed research within clinical care as one cannot exist without the other.

“The challenges arising from chronic, multi-morbid conditions are immense, so for me it has always been about taking one step at a time rather than tackling the whole mountain. Any success has only been possible because as a leader, I’m part of a successful team comprising of inspiring colleagues, who always have each other’s back. Mentoring and empowering the newer generation of clinicians to become clinical researchers is the only possible way forward to innovate and improve health outcomes. This award suggests we’re moving in the right direction.”

Women of Achievement Awards 2021 | Our special celebrants. March 2021

Professor Helena Marzo-Ortega was selected for her work as an international leader in the use of biologics and imaging in the treatment of Spondyloarthritis

Helping prevent work-related suicide

Professor Sarah Waters (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies) is a leading international researcher on work-related suicide, and has contributed to press articles and radio programmes in the US, Australia, Brazil, France and the UK.

She’s also a key member of the UK Hazards trade union campaign, which lobbies the Health and Safety Executive to recognise, monitor and prevent work-related suicide.  

Professor Waters said: “For me, this award recognises the importance of women across the University as a force for social good in the world.

“I am immensely proud to receive the award alongside so many wonderful colleagues.”

Women of Achievement Awards 2021 | Our special celebrants. March 2021

Professor Sarah Waters has been honoured for her leading international research on work-related suicide

Success for all

Leeds has been commended for its work to support the career development of talented women in the form of a prestigious Bronze award under the Athena SWAN Charter. The Athena SWAN Charter is designed to recognise advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all. Faculties at Leeds celebrated a hat-trick of new awards across the University last year.

Inspiring others

Further profiles of each of the Women of Achievement Awards 2021 celebrants will be published on For Staff during the coming weeks. Links to these articles will be added to the weekly eNews editions and the Equality Policy Unit website, so watch this space for further information.

For those unable to attend the online Women of Achievement Awards 2021, you can access a recording of the ceremony to watch in full.

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