Leicester academics win East Midlands Women’s Awards

Professor Emma Bunce and Dr Emma Parker claimed wins at last week’s ceremony.  

Last week, Professor Emma Bunce (Department of Physics and Astronomy) and Dr Emma Parker (School of Arts) were recognised for their inspirational research at the East Midlands Women’s Awards.

Taking place on Friday 28 September, the ceremony saw Professor Emma Bunce win the ‘Outstanding Achievements in Science, Space and Astrophysics’ award for her research in solar system science and Dr Emma Parker win the ‘Outstanding Woman in Arts, Media and Music’ award for her project 'Joe Orton: 50 Years On'.

Professor Bunce works on multiple international space missions and has conducted research at Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury. Later this month, the BepiColombo mission to Mercury - a joint mission between the European and Japanese space agencies - will be launched from French Guiana.

Aboard the spacecraft is the Mercury Imaging X-ray spectrometer (MIXS) instrument developed at the University of Leicester. Professor Bunce is Principal Investigator on the instrument, which will observe the surface of Mercury from the BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter in order to determine the surface composition and the complex interaction between Mercury and its environment.

Professor Emma Bunce said: “It is really wonderful to have been given this special award. The work that I have been recognised for is part of a wider team effort, and the fact that the University of Leicester is an international leader in this field is due to the fantastic work of that whole team over many years.

Joe Orton (1933-1967) helped to define 1960s British culture. Known for his anarchic black comedies and sexually frank diary, Orton was a major postwar dramatist and a gay icon.

Dr Parker’s project marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Orton’s three major plays, Entertaining Mr Sloane (2014), Loot (2016) and What the Butler Saw (2019). The project also commemorates the 50th anniversary of his death in 2017.

Dr Parker said: “I am delighted to win this award, which celebrates women's contribution to and achievements in the arts, especially when so many fabulous women were nominated for amazing work. I hope the win helps to further raise awareness of Joe Orton in the region.”

The East Midlands Women’s Awards is a prestigious gala ceremony to recognise and celebrate the regional contribution of women across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, and Northamptonshire; raising awareness, giving recognition and acknowledging the hard work and valuable contribution of women from all cultures, communities, and sectors.