The Minister for Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi, and the Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science Baroness Minouche Shafik, are among a select group to be awarded honorary fellowships of MRS, in recognition of their exemplary work supporting market research.

MRS is awarding Honorary Fellowships throughout 2021 to mark its 75th anniversary as the UK’s professional body for research, insight and analytics. All the recipients have been chosen for the way they have demonstrated the importance of high-quality evidence and the transformative power of curiosity and insight across society. The new Honorary Fellows are:

  • Nadhim Zahawi MP, for contributing to the UK’s leading reputation for excellence in market research, including as co-founder of one of the most recognised sector leaders, YouGov, in 2000. More recently, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment, Mr Zahawi has led the UK’s widely praised vaccine deployment programme.

  • Seema Malhotra MP, for her work on evidenced policy development while at professional services firm PwC and for being a consistent supporter of MRS’ diversity and inclusion programme, one of the sector’s key priorities. Ms Malhotra is the founder of the Fabian Women’s Network, which strives to ensure that women’s voices are influential in politics.

  • Baroness Minouche Shafik, reflecting the historic ties between MRS and the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she is Director. Baroness Shafik’s first role was in the research department of the World Bank – since then, her positions have included Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

  • Sir John Curtice, recognising his work as President of the British Polling Council, including promoting the value and use of polling, and interpreting its results for public understanding. Sir John is Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and a Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Social Research.

The four new Fellows join the initial nine announced by MRS in March. The final 2021 Honorary Fellows will be revealed later this year as MRS celebrates its 75th birthday and its growth from an elite band of just 23 professional researchers to an organisation that includes over 4,000 individual members and over 600 Company Partners.

Jane Frost CBE, CEO of MRS, comments: “Each of these Honorary Fellows has a long track record of championing evidence throughout an impressive career. It feels pertinent that they are receiving the Honorary Fellowship at this moment, with the role of research in shaping public policy and economic strategy more important than it ever has been.

“As we take stock after the pandemic, decisions made now will reverberate for decades and it is crucial that they are anchored in quality data and insight if we are to navigate our way towards a prosperous and more equal world. These latest Honorary Fellows are established advocates of an evidence-based approach and are all well-deserved recipients of this honour.”

Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment, comments: “"On its 75th anniversary, I am delighted to have accepted an Honorary Fellowship from MRS. Now, more than ever, we need accurate data to face the political and commercial challenges of the 21st Century. I look forward to bringing my comprehensive experience, as co-founder of YouGov, to MRS to inform high quality decisions from the next generation of political and business leaders."

Seema Malhotra MP, Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston, comments: “To receive an Honorary Fellowship from MRS is an enormous honour. It is a tribute to everyone I have worked with over many years in evidence-based policy and strategy – and those who believe passionately in the highest standards of research and evidence for public policy.

“We know the best research drives the best decisions, and that the best insights come from a broad range of inputs. That’s why MRS’ work on equality, diversity and inclusion is so important as it continues to raise the bar and ensure all voices are heard and represented. My congratulations to MRS on its 75th anniversary and on all it has achieved.”

Baroness Minouche Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science, comments: “Rigorous evidence has underpinned much of my career in international organisations, the civil service and most recently, LSE, which was created to know the causes of things for the betterment of society. At a time when facts are often contested, the work of organisations like MRS are more important than ever in informing decisions and debates that shape our world.”

Sir John Curtice, President of the British Polling Council, says: “Opinion polls are a particularly prominent corner of the world of market research, and they have long profited from MRS's crucial role in promoting best professional research practice in the industry and public understanding of what it does. I am thus deeply honoured by the award of a Fellowship of the Society and look forward to continued interaction and involvement with its work in future."

See all MRS Honorary Fellows here.

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