Professor Dame Julia Stretton Higgins
Dame Julia Stretton Higgins, DBE, FRS, FREng is Professor of Polymer Science in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology at Imperial College London.
Higgins was the former chair (1998–2003) of the Athena Project, which aims for the advancement of women in science, engineering and technology (SET) in Higher Education. She is now the Patron of the Athena Swan Awards Scheme. Between 2003 and 2007, she was chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Higgins was president of the Institution of Chemical Engineers 2002–3, and president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 2003–4. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1995 and was its Foreign Secretary 2001–6. She was Chair of the Royal Society’s State of the Nation Report Steering Group. Most recently she chaired Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME). (2008-2012) She currently Chairs the Royal Society project (funded by BIS) on increasing diversity in the scientific workforce
She is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the City and Guilds of London Institute, of which she is also Vice-President. She is also an honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics and Somerville College, Oxford. She was awarded a CBE in 1996 before being named a dame in the 2001 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.She holds honorary degrees from a number of UK Universities ans also from the University of Melbourne, Australia.
Her scientific work has concentrated on the investigation of polymers with neutron scattering. She co-authored a monograph on that field (Higgins & Benoit 1997). In 1999, she was elected as Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She is a foreign member of the National Academy of Engineering of the United States. She was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2001. She is a Chevalier de la Legion D’Honneur