Professor Michael Eddleston wins University of Edinburgh’s Chancellor’s Award

Professor Michael Eddleston has recently been given the University of Edinburgh’s Chancellor’s Award for 2020. He received the Impact Award in recognition of his efforts to prevent and raise awareness of suicides from lethal pesticides in rural Asia – work that has saved tens of thousands of lives.

During his career, Professor Eddleston has built up a body of research on the effects of pesticide poisoning and the use of these chemicals for suicide in countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. His landmark study, published in The Lancet in 2017, demonstrated that safe storage would not prevent deaths by suicide. This proved seminal in driving World Health Organisation (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) policy towards greater pesticide regulation.

In 2017, he established the Centre for Pesticide Suicide Prevention to work with the UN and regulators worldwide to support bans on the most hazardous pesticides. A recent WHO analysis indicated that pesticide regulation was a highly cost-effective way of preventing suicides. A flurry of bans have followed in Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka.

This recent award follows other merits presented to Professor Eddleston since becoming a Lister Fellow in 2011. These include the Lilly Prize from the British Pharmacological Society in 2019. This award recognises longstanding leadership in clinical pharmacology.

He was also given the 2017 William Cullen Gold Medal from the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, which is given to College Fellows for “the greatest benefit done to Practical Medicine”.

“All of these awards have resulted from the work that the Lister Foundation kindly supported all those years ago,” said Professor Eddleston.

Our forthcoming Annual Report further explores Professor Eddleston’s work, and you can read more about his reaction to winning the Lister Prize on our What It Meant To Me page.

We send our warmest congratulations on this most recent award.