All news

Queen’s honours Nobel-winning geneticist and former senior US Government official


Deborah Wince-Smith, a world-leading voice on innovation strategy, and Sir Paul Nurse, one of the most significant figures in the field of cancer research and cell biology, are receiving Honorary Degrees at Queen’s University Belfast today.

For 20 years, Deborah Wince-Smith, who today is receiving the degree of Doctor of Laws for distinction in public service from Queen’s, was a senior US Government official, serving in both the Reagan and George H. W. Bush Administrations.

She is internationally renowned as a leading voice on innovation, science and technology policy, energy, education, economics and business. She is President and Chief Executive of the US Council on Competitiveness, a coalition of CEOs, university presidents, national laboratory directors and others, committed to driving productivity and prosperity.

Offering some advice to her fellow graduates, Deborah wince-Smith, said: “To be successful in today’s global economy you must act with integrity, embrace change and take risks. It’s a winning formula for success”. She added: “It’s quite an honour to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast.”

Sir Paul Nurse is receiving the degree of Doctor of Medical Science for services to science and medicine. In 2001, along with Leland Hartwell and Tim Hunt, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology for the discovery of protein molecules that control the division of cells in the cell cycle. Errors in cell growth and division may lead to cancer and other serious diseases.

Sir Paul is a former President of the Royal Society and since 2011 he has been Director and Chief Executive of the Francis Crick Institute.

Speaking ahead of accepting his Honorary Degree, Sir Paul, said: “It is a privilege to receive this honorary degree from Queen’s University Belfast today.  Queen’s is making great contributions to research which will improve lives around the world and thinking on global health issues.  

“I look forward to continuing my relationship with the University and have no doubt that its Institute of Health Sciences, as one of the University’s new Global Research Institutes, will continue to be a generator of knowledge for those working in the health and medicine sector around the world.  Northern Ireland should be truly proud of Queen’s and its people.”

Media inquiries and interview requests to Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 3091 or email

More news and features


Queen’s and University of Toronto to develop future leaders in cancer care for Northern Ireland

20/10/2016 - Queen’s University Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) has announced an innovative Clinical Doctoral Training Programme in Precision Cancer Medicine with the world renowned Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto.


Fighting bowel cancer with fitness

17/10/2016 - A Queen’s University scientist is bringing a new clinical trial to the UK that could help patients with bowel cancer reduce the risk of their disease coming back after treatment.