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University partner wins women’s award for science and technology

29 Jun 2010

A businesswoman with close professional and personal links to The University of Manchester has won a significant award for women

Angela Strank accepting her award
Angela Strank accepting her award

Angela Strank, a former student at the University who now is one of its key strategic partners, was awarded the Science and Technology prize at the First Women Awards 2010 last week.

The geologist is technology vice president for Lubes and Fuels at BP and enjoys a close working – and personal – relationship with the University.

The University of Manchester was selected by BP earlier this year as a key academic research partner to further investigate, amongst other subjects, materials and corrosion science and technology. Manchester is also BP’s UK training centre of excellence for BP projects and engineering operations.

As part of this, Angela is a member of the joint steering group and is always keen to promote the advances in science and technology research at the University.

In addition, her daughter recently graduated from the University in History of Art while her son is a second-year medical student.

Angela began her studies at the University in 1972, and, having completed her BSc degree in Geology, she became a research assistant for a year. 

Then she went on to do a PhD, eventually leaving the University in 1980.As well as being a strong advocate for women in science, Angela has always championed the University for the opportunities it gave her.

She joined BP in 1982 as a geologist and biostratigrapher in exploration and production. In 1989, she set up Frontiers Exploration Methods, a team charged with research and development of new exploration techniques including airborne remote sensing and slimhole drilling.

Subsequent roles with the company have ranged from senior business analyst to business development  manager in Angola. She was appointed to her current role in May 2008.

Angela said: “It was a huge honour to receive the award and I am so proud to win it for all the people who have helped, mentored and encouraged me over the years.

“The University of Manchester has always been a big part of my life, and now that of my family as well, and I have always kept in contact because what they gave me.

"I have always been grateful for the fantastic education I received from The University of Manchester and the encouragement they gave me to break into the male-dominated world of geology.

"I would like to pay special tribute to my PhD supervisor Dr Fred Broadhurst, whose passion for geology and outstanding teaching, inspired and encouraged me to pursue my goal of becoming a geologist in the oil industry.

“The support and level of teaching I recieved are key reasons why I am so glad to be working with the University now in my role with BP.

“I am so happy and proud to win this award both for BP and for the University of Manchester.”

Over the years, the First Women’s Awards have recognised the achievements of women including fashion designer Nicole Farhi CBE, leading businesswoman Baroness Sarah Hogg and philanthropist and entrepreneur Ann Gloag OBE.

The awards were given out at a glittering ceremony at the London Marriott, Grosvenor Square, last week.Dame Mary Perkins DBE, who set up the €1bn turnover Specsavers group in 1984 with husband Doug in their spare bedroom, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other winners included Caroline Shaw, a former midwife and now chief executive of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, was also singled out for her success in building the Manchester-based hospital into the largest cancer treatment centre of its kind in Europe. 


Notes for editors

The winners in full are:

Annabel Karmel MBE (Media) – entrepreneur, brand icon and best-selling author of books on nutrition and cooking for young children.

Sally Bailey (Retail and Consumer) - chief executive of lifestyle retailer White Stuff, which has a portfolio of 60-plus UK stores and is about to launch internationally.

Michelle Rushbrook (Manufacturing) - probably the most senior woman in the UK defence sector, who negotiates contracts all over the globe as head of commercial at BAE Systems.

Johanna Dow (Business Services) - finance director of Business Stream, Scotland’s largest water supplier.

Angela Strank (Science and Technology) - geologist and technology vice president at BP.

Marion King (Finance) - CEO of international payments transaction specialist VocaLink.

Michelle McDowell (Property) - chair of civil and structural engineering at BDP, the largest interdisciplinary practice of architects, designers, engineers and urbanists in Europe.

Kristine Landon-Smith and Sudha Bhuchar (Tourism & Leisure) - joint artistic directors of London-based theatre company Tamasha.

The Olympic Delivery Authority was also awarded the First Women Business of the Year Award in recognition of its commitment to supporting and promoting a truly diverse workforce.

The First Women Awards are hosted by Real Business magazine and this year’s ceremony took place on 23 June at the London Marriott, Grosvenor Square.

The patron is Sarah Brown and judges included Chrissie Rucker, founder of the White Company, Gaynor Coley, managing director of The Eden Project and Margaret Heffernan, entrepreneur and writer.

The ceremony was attended by more than 450 guests including Home Secretary The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Minister of State for Security Baroness Neville-Jones, Helen Alexander CBE - president of the CBI, Fru Hazlitt - former CEO of GCap media plc and soon to be ITV’s managing director of commercial and online, Professor Susan Vinnicombe - Director of the International Centre for Women Leaders at Cranfield University, Sarah Walter - director of fashion at River Island, Rita Clifton - CEO of Interbrand and royal biographer Penny Junor. 

The Lifetime Achievement award was supported by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; the Science and Technology category was supported by BAE Systems; the Finance category by the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants for England & Wales); the Public Service category by the Benenden Healthcare Society.

For further information on the awards visit:

For more information please contact: 
Ruth Grundy                          
T. 0161 235 0307                            

Fiona Mackie
T. 0161 235 0332

Dan Cochlin
Media Relations
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 8387