The CEO of the Met Office has today (25 January) been announced as the winner of the 2021 BCS Society Medal, awarded by the chartered institute for IT.
Professor Penny Endersby was given the medal – awarded to someone making an “outstanding contribution to making digital technology good for society and the environment” – for her role in developing the Met Office’s supercomputing capability.
Slated to be in place by the end of the year, the new system is said to offer a step change in meteorological predictions, helping government and industry build a more climate-resilient world in the process. Expected financial benefits, according to the Met Office, will total £13 bn over 10 years.
“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,” said Kathy Farndon, chair of BCS’ society board.
“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.”
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The Met Office has also been making policy changes on environment-related issues, including a commitment to becoming a net zero greenhouse gas emitter by 2030 and switching to 100% renewable electricity at all the organisation’s main operational locations.
A “delighted and honoured” Prof Endersby said that her award was “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”.
This is only the second year that the BCS Society Medal has been awarded. The inaugural winner was Elizabeth Denham, the former information commissioner whose investigation into unlawful data collection practices in political campaigns created unwanted headlines for the likes of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook and Leave EU.