A UNIVERSITY professor from Sedbergh has been awarded a CBE for her services to the scientific community.

Lancaster University’s Professor Louise Heathwaite gained international recognition in the scientific community for her research into environmental pollution and water quality and in the last decade she has also turned her focus to translating science into policy.

A CBE, or Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, is an honour awarded to an individual by the Queen for a leading role at a regional level or a prominent but lesser role at a national level, in any activity.

Professor Heathwaite was given the honour ‘for services to scientific research and scientific advice to government’.

“I got one of those envelopes from the Government and didn’t open it straight away," she said. "When I did, I had to read it over a couple of times to convince myself it was for real. It was a lovely surprise.

“This honour really means a lot to me. I love trying to work out what makes things tick and working independently, so research was the only career for me. More so, I want science to be useful and I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to show how science can help with government policy.”

Last year Professor Heathwaite became the first woman to be elected President of the Freshwater Biological Association.

She has just completed five years as the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Scottish Government on Rural Affairs and the Environment, and in April this year she was appointed to the Natural Environment Research Council, which is part of UK Research and Innovation, a new organisation that brings together the UK's seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

Until recently, she was on Defra’s Science Advisory Council. In 2015 she was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

In 2004, she founded and was first Director of the Centre for Sustainable Water Management in Lancaster University; one of the precursor interdisciplinary research centres that contributed to the formation of the Lancaster Environment Centre.

Professor Heathwaite is currently Cross-Faculty Associate Dean for Research at Lancaster University.