Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Professor Anita J Simmers has been granted the Freedom of the City of London and appointed Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers in recognition of her contribution to education and research in the field of optics.
Professor Simmers, who is Head of the Department of Life Sciences, received the honour at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall, for her work to inspire, enable and train entrants to the industry and in academia, as well as supporting and developing existing staff.
She was presented with a copy of the Freedom – a parchment document with an inscription of the recipient’s name – together with a copy of ‘Rules for the Conduct of Life’, a set of standards for the Freemen of the City of London, first published in 1740.
The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers was founded by Royal Charter in 1629 and is one of the livery companies of the City of London. They comprise London’s ancient and modern trade associations and guilds, providing charitable-giving and networking opportunities. Liverymen retain voting rights for the senior civic offices, such as the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and City of London Corporation, its ancient municipal authority with extensive local government powers.
A registered orthoptist, Professor Simmers has a wealth of post-doctoral research experience in clinical and behavioural neuroscience, both nationally and internationally, including a prestigious Medical Research Council (MRC) Fellowship at the Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London. She is also an invited Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Professor Simmers has secured highly-competitive research funding from MRC, Wellcome Trust, the Chief Scientists Office and leading UK research charities, and has a broad portfolio of peer review for prestigious journals and leading funding organisations and charities. She has also contributed to national Priority Setting Partnerships in sight loss and vision. She is a member of the GCU Women in STEMM Group, the Athena SWAN Working Group and an Aurora mentor and role model.
Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Simmers said: “I hope that I have led by example, empowered and mentored others throughout my career and have created an environment for dynamic, passionate people – both men and women – to thrive.”