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Northern Power Women Awards for professor and honorary graduate


Professor Diana Anderson award winner poster

Last night’s Northern Power Women Awards resulted in two awards for people linked to the University of Bradford.

Professor Diana Anderson MBE won a commendation in the ‘People with Purpose’ category, and honorary graduate and founder of Bradford Literature Festival, Syima Aslam MBE, won the Disruptor for Good category.

Speaking after the award ceremony in Manchester, Professor Anderson said: “I was very pleased to receive the award, it means a great deal to me. It is recognition of the work I have done, and the work now continues.”

Professor Anderson is Established Chair of Biomedical Sciences at the University. She was made an MBE in the 2022 New Years Honours list for services to Genetic and Reproductive Toxicology. Her research has focused on using a single test for early cancer detection. She has also carried out ground-breaking research into genome stability in the umbilical cord blood.

In her time at Bradford, Diana has brought in almost £3m of research funding. She has supervised 32 PhDs and 2 MSCs, managed several post–doctoral positions and is currently supervising four other PhDs. She has also published over 540 papers and twelve books. 

She was given a commendation in the Person with Purpose category of the Northern Power Women Awards 2023 sponsored by EY!

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Shirley Congdon, who was shortlisted for an award last year, said: “Diana thoroughly deserves her award for her commitment and focus over a long period of time. She has already made an impact through her determination and focus on her work.”

Award for founder of Bradford Literature Festival

Syima Aslam

Meanwhile, honorary graduate Syima Aslam MBE won the NPWA’s ‘Disruptor for Good’ category award.

Syima is the founder, CEO and creative director of Bradford Literature Festival (BLF), and believes education has the power to change people’s lives, with literacy the key.

BLF’s free early years, education and family programmes help children and young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to see literature and books as exciting, accessible and a natural part of their life.

Over the last five years almost 80,000 students and teachers have been engaged and inspired through BLF’s free annual schools programme, which complements the four days of free events that take place for children and young people.

Syima Aslam MBE, CEO and Creative Director at Bradford Literature Festival, said: "I am honoured to have won the Disruptor for Good award for the work of the Bradford Literature Festival. Challenging the norm and striving to make positive changes for our society is part of our DNA and embodied in our vision to change lives through access to world-class arts, literature, and education for all.

"As part of this commitment, this year we will launch our B-Disruptive programme, for 16-21 year-olds, which challenges students assumptions and raises their aspiration, inspiring the next generation of the workforce and promoting cultural career pathways. 

"Thank you to my amazing team and board who are the powerhouse behind the work of the festival, our wonderful funders who enable our vision, and the amazing artists and audiences who bring BLF to life each year."

Alison Kay, Managing Partner for Client Service at EY UK and Ireland, which sponsors the event, said: “The competition this year was outstanding and it was incredibly hard to pick one winner for each category. All of those recognised – whether individual or organisation – are shining examples of how we can drive real change and use our influence and power for the benefit of others.”

Simone Roche MBE, Founder and CEO of Northern Power Women, said: “This year’s Award winners and commended once again showcase the awe-inspiring contributions that we can make as individuals, organisations and communities when we support one another. Those recognised represent the outstanding leaders and role models present in and from the North.”

The Northern Power Women Awards, which celebrate those who have championed gender equality in their respective fields and industries, are now in their seventh year and have become a highlight of the region's calendar. This year's event saw a record 1,500 nominations across 11 categories. 

A special winners and commended edition of the Northern Power Women Podcast will take place on Wednesday 22 March at 10am.

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