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Professor Francesca Happé awarded Rosalind Franklin Award

Professor Francesca Happé at the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s College London was yesterday awarded the 2011 Rosalind Franklin Award by the Royal Society. The award was granted in recognition of her scientific achievements, her suitability as a role model and her proposal to promote women in science.

Professor Happé is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre (SGDP) at the IoP. Her research interests focus on autism spectrum conditions. She is the author of numerous research papers and this year was also awarded the King’s Supervisory Excellence Award. 

Professor Happé says: ‘I was absolutely thrilled to receive this prestigious award. I've been very lucky to have terrific mentors myself; particularly Professor Uta Frith who trained in clinical psychology at the IoP, and is now at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL. The MRC SGDP Centre is a great place to work; I have such stimulating colleagues who are also very supportive when it comes to balancing being a scientist and a parent. 

Professor Happé adds: ‘It's a pleasure and privilege to encourage the talented female scientists who work with me. I'm also excited about the project I proposed to the Royal Society, which this award will fund; producing a series of picture books for 5- to 7-year-olds to raise awareness of women in science.’

Professor Peter McGuffin, Director of the MRC SGDP Centre at the IoP, says: 'We at the MRC SGDP Centre are proud and delighted by this award to Francesca. She is a world class cognitive neuroscientist who has truly embraced our Centre's research themes in combining social and genetic influences on the development of autism. What is more she has managed to combine a brilliant scientific career with raising a family, something that many would not have thought possible in Rosalind Franklin's day at King's'

Professor Shitij Kapur, Dean and Head of School at the IoP, adds:  `My congratulations to Prof Happé who is most deserving of this prestigious award. As Rosalind Franklin was a KCL alumna I am delighted that Prof Happe seeks to use it to inspire future Rosalind Franklins.' 

The Rosalind Franklin Award is awarded annually by the Royal Society for outstanding contributions to any area of science. As the recipient of the award, Prof Happé will implement a project aimed at raising the profile of women in science in the UK as well as deliver a lecture at the Royal Society. 
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