University of Exeter: Rising research star secures prestigious IoP award

Dr Claire Davies, a Research Fellow from Exeter’s Physics and Astronomy department, has received the Phillips Award, announced today (November 29th 2021).

The award is given to members who have played a significant role in leading innovative ideas and activities within the Institute of Physics.

Dr Davies received the award for her unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion and her pioneering work fostering and nurturing networks between LGBTQ+ physicists in academia and industry.

The citation for the award outlines Dr Davies “tireless work” to ensure branch activities reach new audiences and under-represented groups, particularly the LGBTQ+ community.

It highlights her pivotal work in forging links between the Institute of Physics and schools, industry, and community groups across the greater Exeter area through PRISM Exeter (

Since 2018, Claire has arranged for the Institute of Physics South West Branch to be represented annually at Exeter Pride with a stall in their ‘Family and Health Zone’. There, she leads a team of volunteers using diffraction glasses to encourage discussion around the spectra of light, gender and sexuality, and using ‘Marvin and Milo’ demonstrations to educate and entertain stall visitors of all ages, all genders and sexualities, and from a range of backgrounds.

The IOP awards celebrate physicists at every stage of their career; from those just starting out through to physicists at the peak of their careers, and those with a distinguished career behind them.

They also recognise and celebrate companies which are successful in the application of physics and innovation, as well as employers who demonstrate their commitment and contribution to scientific and engineering apprenticeship schemes.

Dr Davies said: “It’s an absolute honour to receive this Phillips Award from the Institute of Physics. To be recognised specifically for my diversity and inclusion work means an awful lot to me.

“I’m especially grateful to the IoP’s South West Branch committee, who have continuously put their full support behind my work to engage the LGBTQ+ community with physics (and STEMM, more broadly), and to my trusty team of PRISM Exeter coordinators, without whom none of this work would have been possible.”

Congratulating this year’s Award winners, Institute of Physics President, Professor Sheila Rowan, said: “On behalf of the Institute of Physics, I warmly congratulate all of this year’s Award winners. Each and every one of them has made a significant and positive impact in their profession.