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NIHR leaders recognised in Queen’s New Year Honours List

Professor Kamlesh Khunti (left) and Professor Martin Knapp (right)

Leading scientists at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for outstanding contributions to health and social care.

The Director of NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARC) East Midlands, Professor Kamlesh Khunti, has been awarded a CBE for services to Health, and the Director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research (SSCR), Professor Martin Knapp, received a CBE for services for Social Care Research.

Professor Khunti, who is also Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester and member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), co-founded Leicester Diabetes Centre, a world-leading facility which has over 170 researchers. He has led on pioneering research into COVID-19 and health inequalities, and was one of the first healthcare professionals to identify the disproportionate impact the virus is having on ethnic minority communities.

Professor Khunti said: “I am truly humbled and I would like to dedicate the award to my team at the Leicester Diabetes Centre, my staff at the Hockley Farm Medical Practice, the University of Leicester and most of all to my family. It is indeed a huge honour to be recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.”

Professor Knapp has been Director of SSCR since 2009 and is Professor of Health and Social Care Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research focuses on dementia, child and adult mental health, autism and long-term social care. Much of his work utilises economic theory and evidence to inform debate on policy and influence practice development. He has also published almost 500 peer-review journal papers and 15 books.

He said: “I am delighted and honoured (in both senses) to have this recognition for our research at the NIHR and LSE. Social care faces huge and increasing challenges today; our research tries to find ways to improve the lives of people who are often in very difficult situations.

“The award also recognises the achievements by the NIHR School for Social Care Research, which we have been leading from LSE since it was established in 2009. The School brings together seven research centres across England to support developments in adult social care as part of NIHR’s strategic investment in this area.

“As a national researcher-led large investment in social care research (£51 million since 2009), SSCR is, I think, unique across the world and continues to play a central role in championing and shaping social care research through NIHR.”

Professor Lucy Chappell, CEO of the NIHR, said: “Huge congratulations to Kamlesh for his incredible work which has been boosting the health of people with diabetes and those from ethnic minority communities who have suffered disproportionately in this pandemic.

“And we’re delighted for Martin to be recognised for his outstanding contribution to social care. It’s a richly deserved reward for his work in bringing research and evidence into social care, an issue which affects the lives of nearly everyone and which is more important than ever.

“Their work is making a meaningful difference to people’s lives throughout the UK and beyond, and I am in no doubt that it will have a lasting impact for years to come.”