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University of Sussex to award honorary degrees to four figures making a difference to both science and society

Professor Kent Berridge

Professor Gail Cardew Credit Paul Wilkinson

Rt Hon Alan Milburn

Professor Naila Kabeer

A world-renowned neuroscientist and a former cabinet minister are among the individuals being awarded honorary degrees by the University of Sussex during Winter Graduation (22nd and 23rd January).  

In a continuation of a tradition which has taken place at the University for over five decades, the degrees will be conferred by Chancellor, comedian and actor Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE, while more than 3,500 students will also be celebrating their achievements. 

Among those receiving an honorary degree are: 

  • Professor Kent Berridge, who is among the world’s most renowned neuroscientists and, as a University of California student, visited Sussex in the late 1970s. His work exploring how sensations of pleasure and desire are generated in the brain has had therapeutic implications for the treatment of a range of disorders including addiction, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s.  
    Professor Kent Berridge will be conferred an Honorary Doctor of Science during the 10am ceremony on Wednesday 22nd January  

  • Professor Gail Cardew, who is an internationally recognised expert in the public engagement of science. Gail completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Sussex, staying on to take a doctorate and become a Postdoctoral Fellow before discovering her love of public engagement. She is now Vice President of EuroScience, a grassroots organisation supporting and promoting science throughout Europe. 

    Professor Gail Cardew will be conferred an Honorary Doctor of Science during the 10am ceremony on Wednesday 22nd January  

  • Alan Milburn, former Labour cabinet minister and champion for social mobility and widening participation. After highlighting the issues and causes behind social inequality as MP for Darlington, Alan became Chair of the Social Mobility Foundation in 2019; a charity that aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for young people from low-income backgrounds.  

    Alan Milburn will be conferred an Honorary Doctor of the University during the 10am ceremony on Thursday 23rd January 

  • Professor Naila Kabeer, a feminist economist who has spent her career focusing on individuals and groups in South Asia who are on the margins of their societies, and trying to understand social change from their perspective. A former Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), her book The Power to Choose: Bangladeshi women and labour supply decision-making in London and Dhaka, was the inspiration behind the Booker-shortlisted novel Brick Lane.  
    Professor Naila Kabeer will be conferred an Honorary Doctor of the University during the 4.30pm ceremony on Thursday 23rd January 

Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, said: “Each of our honorary graduates have excelled in their field, whether that be science, development or politics. Through research, public engagement and by advocating for causes they believe in, each individual has helped make the world a better, brighter place.  

“We hope they are inspirational figures for all of our students, who we encourage to continue to challenge assumptions, be inquisitive and never stop learning, regardless of their age or background.  

 “Everyone graduating should feel incredibly proud of what they have achieved during their time with us, both in and outside of their studies. I wish them all the best for the next chapter of their story.” 

By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Monday, 20 January 2020

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