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Professor Sir Peter Horby has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, joining a cohort of the world’s most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists who have made substantial contributions to the advancement of science.


Director of the Pandemic Sciences Institute Professor Sir Peter Horby has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences and the oldest science academy in continuous existence.  

Royal Society Fellows are elected for making a substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science. This year’s new Fellows will be formally admitted to the Society in July. 

Professor Horby, a long-time advocate of global collaborative science, is a medical researcher specialising in emerging and epidemic prone infectious diseases. He has led research on a wide range of diseases, including SARS-1, avian influenza, Ebola, plague and COVID-19 

Since 2020 Professor Horby has co-led RECOVERY, the largest randomised controlled trial of COVID-19 treatments in the world, which identified the first lifesaving treatments for COVID-19. He is also Executive Director of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infections Consortium (ISARIC), a consortium of 60 international, national and local research networks whose research activities span more than 140 countries.  

In 2022 Professor Horby became the inaugural Director of the Pandemic Sciences Institute at the University of Oxford. 

Professor Horby said: "I feel enormously privileged to join the eminent, and somewhat jaw-dropping, roll call of Royal Society Fellows.” 

“It gives me great satisfaction to know that the work my collaborators and I have done is considered to have benefited society in tangible ways.” 

Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, said: “I am pleased to welcome such an outstanding group into the Fellowship of the Royal Society.  

“This new cohort have already made significant contributions to our understanding of the world around us and continue to push the boundaries of possibility in academic research and industry.  

“From visualising the sharp rise in global temperatures since the industrial revolution to leading the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, their diverse range of expertise is furthering human understanding and helping to address some of our greatest challenges. It is an honour to have them join the Fellowship.” 

Professor Horby has worked extensively at the science policy interface, as Chair of the UK government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies – COVID-19, and as an advisor to the World Health Organization.  

He was awarded the Vietnam Medal for Peoples’ Health in 2006 and has received the Alwyn Smith Prize for outstanding contribution to public health. In 2021, he was awarded a knighthood for services to medical research.  

Each year, the Fellows of the Royal Society elect up to 85 new Fellows and up to 24 new Foreign Members. There are approximately 1,800 Fellows and Foreign Members to date, including around 85 Nobel Laureates.

Professor Horby is elected this year alongside eight others from the University of Oxford, including Director of Oxford Vaccine Group and PSI Investigator Professor Sir Andrew Pollard.