Professor awarded MBE for Paralympic research

02 January 2015

Professor Jan Burns has been recognised in the Queen's New Year's Honours list for her work in enabling athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete once again in the Paralympics.

Professor Burns, Head of the School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology, led a team of academics through extensive research to develop a robust new classification system to allow athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete in the London 2012 Paralympics.

Professor awarded MBE for Paralympic research

Professor Jan Burns receiving a Podium Award in 2012 for her research and work with athletes with intellectual disabilities.

This was the first time this group of athletes was allowed to compete on the international stage at the Paralympics since the disqualification of the Spanish Basketball team at the Sydney Games.

Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, said: “We are delighted that Professor Jan Burns has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list, in recognition of her research and work with athletes with intellectual disabilities.

“The research which Jan and her team conducted directly influenced the re-inclusion of elite athletes with intellectual disabilities into the London 2012 Paralympic Games.This honour is in recognition of such amazing work, which once again demonstrates how research by our staff at Canterbury Christ Church University can have impact and contribute valuable changes to society today. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the New Year.”

More recently Professor Burns has returned from Cameroon, after presenting a workshop aimed at developing Paralympic sport for intellectually disabled athletes in the African nations.

The Cameroon Federation of Sports for Athletes with Intellectual Deficits invited Professor Burns and The Agitos Foundation, the charitable arm of the International Paralympic Committee who provided the funding for the event, to present a workshop to over forty delegates representing Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of Central Africa (RCA) and Chad. The workshop was to promote and develop an infra-structure in the region to redress the lack of inclusion of athletes with intellectual disabilities in the Paralympic movement.

Professor Burns has been awarded an MBE for services to People with an Intellectual Disability.

Notes to Editor

For more information about courses within the School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology, visit the website.

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 93% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2013 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2012/13 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey


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Last edited: 04/12/2017 23:15:00