Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine receives Queen’s Anniversary Prize at Buckingham Palace

News article 22 Feb 2024
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Her Majesty The Queen presents Professor David Lalloo with a Queen's Anniversary Prize

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has received a Queen’s Anniversary Prize at an Honours ceremony in Buckingham Palace for its life-saving tsetse control project Tiny Targets. 

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are the highest national honour for higher education. Granted every two years by the reigning monarch as part of the national honours system, the awards recognise outstanding work by UK colleges and universities which demonstrates excellence and innovation and delivers real benefit to the wider world.

Awarded to LSTM for the first time in its 125th anniversary year, the Queen’s Anniversary Prize recognises the transformative impact of Tiny Targets in protecting millions of people’s lives and livelihoods across five African countries from the fatal parasitic disease Gambian Human African trypanosomiasis (g-HAT), commonly known as ‘sleeping sickness’.

Her Majesty The Queen and The Duchess of Gloucester presented the prize to LSTM representatives including Director Professor David Lalloo, lead Tiny Targets researcher Professor Steve Torr, and Vice-Chair of Trustees Sue Russell at a special ceremony on Thursday. Colleagues from LSTM, COCTU in Uganda and Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium were also present at the Palace for the formal Honours ceremony. 

David Lalloo, Director of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said: “We are honoured to receive a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine’s life-saving research. 

“Tiny Targets exemplifies LSTM’s vision of building healthy lives across the world, working across the whole translational spectrum and in trusted partnerships to address the global threats posed by disease. I pay special tribute to the Tiny Targets research team for their extraordinary efforts, both here in Liverpool and in countries directly affected by sleeping sickness. They should take great pride in this fantastic achievement.”

Sue Russell, Professor Steve Torr and Professor David Lalloo

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said: “I want to say a huge congratulations to the winners of the 2022 -2024 Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education. 

“The UK has a long and proud history of research, discovery and excellence in education and training. I am delighted that the 2022-2024 winners are continuing that tradition.

“As your work shows, there is some extraordinary work taking place in British colleges and universities today – and it is being conducted in a spirit of inquiry, public good and a quest for knowledge. So let me thank all the Queen’s Anniversary Prize winners for everything you are doing.”

Tiny Targets

Tiny Targets comprise two handkerchief-sized panels, one of blue fabric and one of black netting, impregnated with insecticide which attract and kill tsetse. The targets are placed along riverbanks and water sources where tsetse are found. Tiny Targets reduce the tsetse population to such an extent that transmission of g-HAT is interrupted.

Historically, vector control has not been cost effective and has played little part in g-HAT disease management. Diagnosis and treatment for g-HAT are complicated, and if left untreated, the disease is fatal. During the last major epidemic in the 1990s, the World Health Organization estimated that half a million people died each year. Preventative initiatives are therefore crucial to control this disease. 

Queen's Anniversary Prize Honours ceremony

Over recent years, the use of Tiny Targets in combination with screening and treatment of cases have contributed to the elimination of g-HAT as a public health problem in Côte d'Ivoire and Uganda. Use of Tiny Targets has also led to a reduction in cases in Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad.

Professor Steve Torr, Professor of Neglected Tropical Diseases at LSTM and lead on Tiny Targets, said: “We are honoured to receive a Queen’s Anniversary Prize on behalf of all the people who have worked on the Tiny Targets programme, including past and present colleagues at LSTM and our many partners across Africa and Europe. We are delighted that some of the partners have been able to join us for the formal occasions in London this week.”

Queen’s Anniversary Prizes

First awarded in 1994, the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are granted every two years by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister following a rigorous and independent review carried out by the Royal Anniversary Trust, an independent charity.

Open to eligible universities and colleges in the UK, the Prizes may be awarded for any topic or subject area which demonstrates excellence, innovation and benefit or the wider world.

Sir Damon Buffini, Chair of The Royal Anniversary Trust said: “The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are an integral part of our national Honours system, shining a light on the groundbreaking work taking place in universities and colleges across the UK. All 22 Prize-winners demonstrate excellence, innovation and impact, with many tackling some of the toughest problems we as a society face today. They are to be commended for reaching this pinnacle of achievement in the tertiary education sector. Congratulations!”