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28 January 2022

King's academics named in 100 Most Influential list

Professor Nicola Rollock, Professor of Social Policy and Race and Professor Ajay Shah, Executive Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, have been named in Apolitical’s list of the 100 Most Influential Academics in Government. The list aims to highlight the impact that policy research can have in steering the direction of Government and the vital source of information and innovation it offers.

Ajay Shah and Nicola Rollock

Apolitical, which provides Government with the latest and best academic research, invited public servants to nominate the academics who are committed to improving the work of Government in five timely policy areas and which present an opportunity for intergovernmental collaboration. They are:

  • Recovery from Covid-19
  • Employment and skills
  • Social policy
  • Climate and sustainability
  • Policymaking processes and approaches

Professor Rollock has been recognised for her contributions to Social Policy which range from acting as Specialist Adviser to the Home Affairs’ Select Committee’s Inquiry Macpherson: 22 Years On to appearing as an expert contributor in the multi award-winning two-part Channel 4 documentary The school that tried to end racism which tracked a group of Year 7 pupils as they explored their racial bias through a range of specially designed activities. She is also a member of Wellcome Trust's Diversity & Inclusion Steering Group and their newly formed Anti-racism Expert Group and, the British Science Association’s Equality & Diversity Advisory Group.

In December 2019, she was selected by Times Higher Education journalists as one of 11 scholars globally to have influenced the debate in higher education and, in October 2020, was included, following nomination by Baroness Doreen Lawrence, in the Duke & Duchess of Sussex’s list of Next Generation Trailblazers for challenging prejudice and contributions to British society.

It’s an honour and extremely humbling to be included in this list along with my fellow King’s colleague Professor Ajay Shah. Working at the interface of academia and policy is both challenging and rewarding and, for me, an important component of my work on racial justice. 

Professor Nicola Rollock, Professor of Social Policy and Race

Professor Shah has been recognised in the Recovery from Covid-19 — Global Health category where he has worked with other colleagues from King’s on several different aspects of COVID-19. Professor Shah is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Director of the King’s British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence who pivoted his work at the start of the pandemic to focus on COVID-19.

They were the first group to highlight the higher rates of hospitalisation with COVID-19 and much younger age of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic group patients as compared to white patients, taking advantage of the excellent capabilities at King’s in ultra-rapid analysis of data in the electronic health records of patients very soon after admission to hospital. They then also found that hospitalisation and death with COVID-19 showed distinct differences between Asian patients and Black patients, indicating a complex basis for the altered susceptibility to severe illness – this leading to further work to determine the underlying reasons. 

I see this not as a personal accolade but very much a recognition of the highly collaborative and inter-disciplinary work of a large number of scientists and clinicians across King’s and King’s Health Partners who stepped up to work tirelessly to tackle the pandemic using research, many of them doing this alongside ongoing clinical work. “I especially acknowledge Professors Richard Dobson and James Teo for their expertise in health data analysis. I am heartened that some of this work has impacted directly on important public health policy decisions and I hope it is an example of what King’s can achieve when it fosters interdisciplinary teams to focus on major challenges.

Professor Ajay Shah, Executive Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine

In this story

Nicola Rollock

Professor of Social Policy and Race

Ajay Shah

Executive Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine