New Year’s Honours 2019 lauds women in IT and data specialists

The New Year’s Honours list 2019 features accolades for leading women in IT and data, as well as other specialists in data

The UK information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, was awarded a CBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list for “protecting information”.

Denham was one of a group of women in the fields of data and IT to be recognised in this year’s list, which was less studded than in recent previous years with awards for civil servants involved in digital transformation programmes in government.

She is responsible for ensuring information rights are in the public interest and leads the office dealing with the Data Protection Act 2018 – the UK’s implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Denham was recently recognised as one of the top five most influential women in UK technology by Computer Weekly.

In a statement on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website, Denham said: “As a Canadian, now a United Kingdom resident, I am privileged to be recognised with this distinguished award for my career’s work in the fields of data privacy and information rights.

“My hope is that this honour will assist in drawing attention to the importance of data protection to citizens, particularly this year, which has seen major reforms in data protection law with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation – reforms to keep pace with changes in our digital age.

“I am indebted to my colleagues at the Information Commissioner’s Office for their ongoing support and diligence in this critically important work.”

Amali de Alwis, the winner of Computer Weekly’s 2018 influential women in UK technology awards programme was awarded an MBE for services to diversity and training in the Technology Industry.

De Alwis is the CEO for coding education initiative Code First: Girls which teaches women of all backgrounds how to code. De Alwis also acts as a CommonwealthFirst Mentor for the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, providing mentorship and encouragement to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Anne Catherine Kay (Anne Moises), CIO, Directorate for Digital, Scottish Government, was awarded an OBE. Moises has served the Scottish Executive, now government, since 1998, and as its CIO since 2016.

Cindy Helen Rose, UK chief executive officer at Microsoft, was awarded an OBE for services to UK technology. Rose was one of a group of technology industry experts appointed by the government in July 2017 to a Digital Economy Council to advise on policy for supporting the digital economy.

And Helen Zerlina Margetts, professor of society and the internet, and lately director at the Oxford Internet Institute, was awarded an OBE for services to social and political science.

Margetts is a Turing Fellow and director of the Public Policy Programme at The Alan Turing Institute. On the institute’s website, she said: “I am really excited to receive this honour, that recognises the value of multi-disciplinary research for social science and vice versa. I have loved working with so many talented researchers from across the disciplines at the Oxford Internet Institute, the University of Oxford, LSE, UCL and beyond over the years – and now at The Alan Turing Institute. I believe passionately that a rich multi-disciplinary mix and new methodological approaches are needed to understand – and shape – society and politics in a digital world.”

A total of 544 women are recognised in the list, representing 47% of the total.

Other figures from the field of data analysis and management recognised in the list include:

  • John Frederick William Birney FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society), joint director, European Bioinformatics Institute – a recipient of a CBE for services to computational genomics and leadership across the life sciences.
  • Timothy Douglas Harford, economist and journalist – a recipient of an OBE for services to improving economic understanding. Harford is well known as a broadcaster and speaker at data conferences, and, as he once told Computer Weekly, the son of an IT professional and loyal reader.
  • Mark Tyrrell-Smith, acting head of department, National Data Unit, National Crime Agency – recipient of an OBE for services to law enforcement.
  • Walter Benedict Anthony da Costa, asset recovery, finance and data analysis lead, Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, at the Home Office – a BEM (British Empire Medal) for services to the recovery of the proceeds of crime.

From the supplier side of the IT industry, these entrepreneurs were also recognised in the List:

  • Mustafa Suleyman, a co-founder of DeepMind, where he is head of applied AI – now a CBE for services to the UK Technology Industry.
  • Stephen Alan Coleman, chief executive officer, CodeBase, an Edinburgh-based incubator – awarded an OBE for services to Technology Entrepreneurship.
  • Heba Bevan managing director, UtterBerry – awarded an OBE for services to Innovation, Technology and STEM Education. Bevan is a diversity advocate, based at the University of Cambridge, and her company is founded on a “patented intelligent wireless sensor system which works on extremely low power”. 

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