Aston University honoured with Regius Professorship

Regius Chair Keith Wilson
Minister for the Constitution Chris Skidmore, left, presents the Regius Chair award to Keith Wilson

3 February 2017

  • Aston joins select number of UK universities to hold historic award
  • School of Pharmacy at forefront of scientific advances since 1847
  • Award given to mark academic excellence and research

Aston University’s School of Pharmacy was today, 3 February, honoured with a Regius Professorship – one of just 12 universities with reputations for research excellence to receive the prestigious award as part of celebrations for HM the Queen’s 90th birthday.

The School of Pharmacy - at the forefront of scientific advances since 1847 - is recognised as one of the UK’s outstanding pharmacy schools. Its achievements include developing the $2 billion blockbuster drug Temozolomide, the leading treatment for brain tumours, and creating the country’s first Masters programme for hospital pharmacists.

Universities receiving the award assign the title to a professor in the chosen department, or appoint a new professor to take the chair and hold the title of Regius Professor.

Professor Keith Wilson, Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Aston University, received the honour at a short ceremony at the university.

Presenting the award, the Minister for the Constitution, Chris Skidmore said: “The UK has some of the best universities in the world and I feel very privileged to be able to recognise them with such a prestigious award. The innovative research at Aston University is an exemplar and means that our country can remain agile and a front-runner in the global market for generations to come.

“The universities receiving a Regius Professorship can consider themselves truly deserving of this great honour. I am particularly delighted to be able to present Aston University with their first ever award.”

The minister’s visit also took in a tour of the School of Life and Health Sciences, including the laboratories for pharmaceuticals and medicinal chemistry research.  

Professor Chris Hewitt, Executive Dean of the School of Life and Health Sciences said: “With over 5,000 practising pharmacists having an Aston degree, and with patients worldwide benefitting from Aston expertise in pharmaceutical medicine, this is a wonderful tribute to our ability to transform lives through pharmacy education and research.”

A Regius Professorship is a privileged Sovereign-bestowed award to recognise exceptionally high quality teaching and research at an institution. Since the reign of Queen Victoria only 14 had been created - including a dozen to mark Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee in 2012 – and the total for the UK now stands at 26.

In 2015, Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson and the then Minister for the Constitution John Penrose, launched a national competition to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday with an award of up to 12 Regius Professorships recognising academic excellence and the real-world impact of university research at UK universities.

HM The Queen granted the awards following advice from Ministers, who were themselves advised by a panel of eminent experts including Anne Glover, Sir Robin Saxby, Baroness Finlay and Rowan Douglas.

Of the 12 Regius Professorships announced in 2016, Aston University and the University of Warwick are the only recipients in the West Midlands region and Aston has received the only one for pharmacy.


Notes to the editor

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston University has been always been a force for change. For 50 years the University has been transforming lives through pioneering research, innovative teaching and graduate employability success. Aston is renowned for its opportunity enabler through broad access and inspiring academics, providing education that is applied and has real impact on all areas of society, business and industry. True to Aston’s Coat of Arms which bears the word ‘Forward’, in 2016 Aston held a year-long anniversary celebration to recognise its heritage and achievements, but with a focus to drive forward the next stage in the University’s exciting journey.  

For more information, call Susi Turner, Press & PR Officer, on 0121 204 4978 or email 

Be first to get the latest news, research and expert comment from Aston by following us on Twitter: @AstonPress