12 February 2016
Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho have been made Distinguished Fellows by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. HRH, The Duke of Kent, BCS Patron, presented the awards at the Institute’s annual dinner which was held at the Leadenhall Building.
As Distinguished Fellows, Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho join some of the top names in the history of the industry including Bill Gates, Sir Tim Berners Lee and Vint Cerf.
Professor Dame Wendy Hall is a Professor of Computer Science and Executive Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton. She was Dean of the Faculty of Physical Science and Engineering from 2010 to 2014.
One of the first computer scientists to undertake serious research in multimedia and hypermedia, she has been at its forefront ever since. Her current research includes applications of the Semantic Web and exploring the interface between the life sciences and the physical sciences. She is Managing Director of the Web Science Trust.
In addition to playing a prominent role in the development of her subject, she also helps shape science and engineering policy and education. Through her leadership roles on national and international bodies, she has shattered many glass ceilings, readily deploying her position on numerous national and international bodies to promote the role of women in SET, and acting as an important role model for others.
Paul Fletcher, BCS Group CEO, says of the award: “This honour is not only to recognise Professor Dame Wendy Hall as one of the most influential people in IT, both in the UK and world-wide, but also for her tireless work in championing women in technology for more than thirty years. The influence of Wendy’s work has been significant in many areas including digital libraries, the development of the Semantic Web, and the emerging research discipline of Web Science.”
Professor Dame Wendy Hall says: “I am delighted and deeply honoured to receive this award. When I joined the BCS many years ago as a junior lecturer at the University of Southampton, I never imagined I would ever join the ranks of such a distinguished group. There is no doubt that being a member of BCS played a significant part in the development of my career, and I am very privileged to be able to accept this award.”
Martha Lane-Fox, Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, is a businesswoman, philanthropist, and public servant. Martha is renowned for co-founding Europe’s largest travel and leisure website lastminute.com with Brent Hoberman in 1998. She has also made a significant contribution to the government's digital agenda by being the UK Digital Champion from June 2010 until November 2013.
Today, Martha is founder and chair of doteveryone.org.uk. Doteveryone is a new national organisation, committed to making the UK brilliant in the network age, a global exemplar of what is possible when a country proactively embraces understanding and use of internet enabled technologies in every aspect of its economy and society.
In 2013, Martha was appointed a crossbench peer in the House of Lords and in 2014 she was appointed Chancellor of the Open University. She is also chair of the leading digital skills charity Go ON UK, which argues the powerful social and economic case for universal basic digital skills. Established by Lane Fox in 2012, Go ON UK has the chief executives of ten major organisations around its boardroom table - Age UK, Argos, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, E.ON, EE, Lloyds Banking Group, Post Office, Sage Group and TalkTalk. Working with its partners, Go ON UK’s vision is for everyone to have the basic digital skills they need.
In 2015 Martha joined the board of the Creative Industries Federation, the Scale up institute and the Open Data Institute. Martha has also founded her own charitable foundation Antigone.org.uk and serves as a Patron of AbilityNet, Reprieve, Camfed and Just for Kids Law.
Paul says: “Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho has inspired many people through her extensive work. This honour recognises her distinguished career in IT as a business woman. Our purpose at BCS is making IT good for society and we believe that Martha is an embodiment of this philosophy with her work in successfully developing new technology services, her commitment to digital inclusion and championing new approaches to public policy to ensure that no one gets left behind in this digital age.”
Martha Lane-Fox says: “I am delighted to be honoured by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. We are moving very fast from an industrial age to a network age that presents great opportunities but also new challenges and ethical choices. The UK’s future economic prosperity and social well-being are critically dependent upon our being a world leader in the new network age. I passionately believe that promoting and protecting the original promises of the internet - openness, transparency, freedom and universality - are essential if we are to harness the full potential of the internet and that we must ensure everyone in the UK has the digital skills needed to benefit from the network age.”
Photo shows Professor Dame Wendy Hall receiving Distinguished Fellowship award from BCS Royal Patron, HRH, The Duke of Kent.