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Honorary degree for science star Maggie Philbin OBE

18 May 2022

Inspiring broadcaster and co-founder of TeenTech gives our Cockcroft Rutherford Lecture, asking how can we benefit from the creative thinking of those who may be younger and wiser?

Maggie Philbin and Nancy Rothwell

Maggie Philbin OBE – star of radio and television for over 30 years, presenting science, medical and technology programmes from Tomorrow’s World to Bang Goes the Theory – has received an honorary degree from our University.

Maggie was honoured for her work to inspire and encourage youngsters to get involved in science.

As well as her wide variety of radio and television work, she co-founded TeenTech, an award-winning organisation which works across the UK getting young people innovating, creating, building skills and preparing for a fast-changing future. It helps students, parents and teachers understand the real opportunities in contemporary industry.

She received the WISE Award for Communication and Outreach for her work promoting diversity in 2013. In June 2016 she was voted most influential woman in UK IT by Computer Weekly and also named 2016 Digital Leader of the Year. She was awarded an OBE in Jan 2017 for her work to promote careers in STEM and the Creative Industries.  In July 2017 she received the Tech4Good Special Award and in 2019 TeenTech was awarded the Best Employer and School Outreach.

She is also patron of the Council for Professors and Heads of Computing and an Executive Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Maggie, who was presented with her degree by our Chancellor, Lemn Sissay OBE, also gave our Cockcroft Rutherford Lecture – entitled Innovators of Tomorrow.

She asked in times of unprecedented change and growing inequalities, how do we help young people gain the skills and aptitudes to deliver a society which works well for everyone? How do we ensure that we benefit from the creative thinking of those who may be younger and wiser?

Our annual Cockcroft Rutherford Lecture honours Sir John Cockcroft, an alumnus, and Lord Ernest Rutherford, a former staff member, for their outstanding and Nobel prize-winning achievements during their time here at Manchester.