Award for champion of visually impaired among New Year Honours

From: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Published: Mon Jan 01 2024

Experts from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) are among those recognised in the 2024 King's New Year Honours.

Kirsty Tilley, Dstl's Autonomy Programme Manager, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition for her services to defence and inclusion, in particular in her role as a champion for people with impaired vision. Kirsty is the lead for the vision impairment aspect of the Dstl Employee Support Network and supports colleagues across Dstl.

Her work has directly helped the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) raise over 4.5 million since 2020 by supporting their Christmas campaign and also as a champion for Goalball UK, a sport for visually impaired people. In addition, Kirsty has implemented initiatives to improve women's experience in defence, such as improving the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for female staff. Kirsty also leads vital work in Dstl's Autonomy Programme, accelerating the adoption of autonomous systems into defence.

Kirsty said:

It is really overwhelming to receive this honour and I feel that this is a reflection of the amazing people I work with, both within Dstl and externally. It is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of supporting women and people with disabilities in defence. I am strongly motivated to do this by my daughter who is visually impaired and I want to ensure the workforce she joins is inclusive to her and others.

Dstl staff have also been recognised with Commendation Awards from the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS).

Professor Joann Prior has been recognised for her highly impactful scientific research and leadership that has made a significant contribution to both the UK and international defence and security for more than 30 years.

Though now retired, Joann's lengthy career has been devoted to improving medical solutions to treat diseases of defence concern. Joann has been an exemplary role model who has had significant international impact and been committed to the development of the people behind the science.

Professor Prior said after learning of her award:

I was extremely pleased that my career in science for Dstl has been recognised in this way. It is reassuring to me to see that science excellence is held in high regard by the MOD. I have been privileged to work with some great scientists throughout my career in the MOD which provided a hugely stimulating environment to work in.

Meanwhile, more than 40 Dstl experts including military advisers have been given a group VCDS award. The Dstl wargaming team have worked tirelessly to test a new Land Operating Concept for the British Army, which culminated in the Army's largest ever force development wargame.

As a result of the team efforts, the Army has a better understanding of how it will operate and win in the next decade, with MOD now equipped with the evidence needed to inform military capability priority investment decisions, now and into the future.

Dstl Team Project Manager, Andrew Fulton, said:

The combined Dstl, military and industry team has worked tirelessly throughout the year to design and execute a series of wargames to test how the British Army might operate utilising the principles within the Land Operating Concept. The level of evidence generated is unparalleled and enables the Army to make informed policy choices. I am proud of the team for all they have achieved and the receipt of the commendation is well deserved.

Dstl's Chief Executive, Dr Paul Hollinshead, said:

I am incredibly proud that our experts have been recognised in the 2024 New Year Honours. Their efforts represent incredible achievements, and all work tirelessly to ensure Defence has the very best guidance and advice from Dstl. I would like to congratulate them on their great success.

The full New Year Honours List 2024 list

Company: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

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