Academic receives Institute of Physics award for diversity and inclusion

Monday, 16 October 2023

An academic from the University of Nottingham has been recognised for contributions to diversity and inclusion within physics and the broader STEM community.

Dr June McCombie has been awarded the 2023 Institute of Physics Phillips Award. The Institute of Physics (IOP) is the professional body and learned society for physics, and the leading body for practising physicists, in the UK and Ireland.

Dr McCombie is a specialist in molecular physics and astrophysical chemistry in the School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham. Alongside teaching and research she is also active in promoting diversity within the STEM community.

Her work with the Institute of Physics (IOP) on diversity and equality has been extensive, and she was a key driving force in the initial phase of the IOP Juno programme, which was established to identify best practice from female IOP members in university physics departments.

Dr McCombie was chair of the Juno Awards Panel from 2007–2012 and her contribution to this played a large role in her receipt of an MBE in 2013 for services to science. A review of the Juno scheme in 2013 by heads of physics departments outlined a range of benefits, most notably in raising awareness of gender issues and leading to improved working practices.

The annual IOP awards proudly reflect the wide variety of people, places, organisations and achievements that make physics such an exciting discipline.

The IOP awards celebrate physicists at every stage of their career; from those just starting out through to physicists at the peak of their careers, and those with a distinguished career behind them.

They also recognise and celebrate companies which are successful in the application of physics and innovation, as well as employers who demonstrate their commitment and contribution to scientific and engineering apprenticeship schemes.

Dr McCombie has also held many diversity related roles both within IOP and out in the broader STEM community. She is also actively engaged in various issues surrounding STEM education and public engagement. She is currently chair of the STFC Advisory Panel for Public Engagement.

Promoting inclusivity/diversity is important in any area of our lives. It is fairer and that is the basic idea that I hope we can all get behind. Alongside this goes the driver that for any project, a diversity of background leads to diversity of thought, and that leads to greater innovation and better problem-solving. I am delighted to receive this award and I would like to give my thanks to all who, over the years, have worked in collaboration with me on various diversity and equality projects.
Dr June McCombie
On behalf of the Institute of Physics, I want to congratulate all of this year’s award winners. Each one has made a significant and positive impact in their profession, whether as a researcher, teacher, industrialist, technician or apprentice and I hope they are incredibly proud of their achievements. There is so much focus today on the opportunities generated by a career in physics and the potential our science has to transform our society and economy and I hope the stories of our winners will help to inspire future generations of scientists.
Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Institute of Physics President

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Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
Phone: 0115 7486462

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About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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