Professor Penny Endersby, CEO of the Met Office, has been announced as the winner of the 2021 Society Medal, awarded by Swindon-based BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
The medal recognises Professor Endersby’s outstanding contribution to making digital technology good for society and the environment.
The BCS award panel cited her exceptional commitment to enriching weather forecasting and the predictive analysis of climate change by leading unprecedented investment in the Met Office’s IT systems.
The introduction of the new multimillion-pound supercomputing capability, overseen by Professor Endersby, will take forecasting and climate projections to the next level when up and running later this year (2022).
The precision and accuracy of its climate change modelling will help inform Government policy as part of the UK’s fight against climate change and its efforts to reach net zero by 2050.
The Met Office has also committed to becoming a net zero greenhouse gas emitter by 2030. Significant steps are already being taken towards reducing emissions and moving to 100% renewable electricity at all the organisation’s main operational locations.
As a visiting professor in Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton University, Prof. Endersby has also demonstrated a long-term commitment to computing education and the development of world-class data scientists.
Kathy Farndon, Chair of BCS’ Society Board, said: “The criteria for the Society Medal was driven by the need to focus on the role of technology in meeting the climate change and net zero challenges set out at COP26.
“Professor Endersby’s outstanding and inspirational leadership has put the Met Office at the leading edge of data science and modelling on climate change.
“Her support and investment in skilled IT professionals and data scientists, throughout the organisation, is equally impressive and is a source of pride to everyone in our industry. It gives me great pleasure to announce that the 2021 Society Medal is being awarded to Prof. Endersby.”
Professor Endersby said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been awarded the BCS Society Medal. This is very much a reflection of the commitment of many teams at the Met Office to the use of cutting edge IT to deliver world class science in the fields of weather and climate prediction, at a time when this is absolutely critical.
“The Met Office is committed to aligning our own activities to the urgency of reducing human-caused climate change, and that includes our use of environmentally responsible IT. We aim to reach Net Zero by 2030 while at the same time offering our expertise and support to other organisations on their own road to Net Zero.”
The 2020 winner of the medal, awarded by the professional body for the IT industry, was former Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham CBE.