We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Durham Energy Institute



Congratulations to Barbara Vest, Doctor of Science

(15 January 2020)

Durham University has awarded Barbara Vest an honorary Doctorate of Science in recognition of her long and successful career in the power industry and her support to Durham Energy Institute. Barbara has selflessly devoted much time over the years to supporting our students and early career researchers through her role in the DEI Advisory Board. Barbara was also awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list 2020.

Barbara Vest has enjoyed a long and successful career in the power industry, including with Northern Electric, Yorkshire Electricity, RWE and Gaz de France ESS. Barbara joined the Association of Electricity Producer in 2008 and was appointed Director of Generation at Energy UK in 2012 becoming its Special Advisor in 2018. Barbara also served as a member of the UK Government’s Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage Cost Challenge Task Force, Chairs the National Grid Joint European Stakeholder Group and is appointed to the Executive Council of the House of Commons All Party Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies.

An active member of the Durham Energy Institute Advisory Board, she has also provided support to students and early career researchers. At Energy UK, she was instrumental in setting up the Young Energy Professionals Forum in 2013, a network to promote the next generation of energy industry professionals, providing opportunities to collaborate, develop and recognise successes - which now has over 2000 individual members and representation spanning over 340 different companies

Barbara Vest’s dedication and passion for her work embody Durham University's values and we are incredibly proud to award her an honorary degree.

On receiving the award, Barbara Vest said:

As a County Durham resident this is extra special. My daughters are extremely proud of me and that makes me so happy. They tell me I’m their role model for showing them that as a full-time working Mam you can make a difference through hard work and determination.

I am proud to have been able to ensure that Durham Energy Institute students get to meet and greet members of our Energy UK Young Professionals Forum enabling them to learn more about opportunities within the energy sector whilst growing their own network of contacts.

I’m also really proud of the fact that I can go into many industry meetings today and see a fair mix of male and female attendees. This definitely was not the case during the 1990’s. There are so many opportunities in the energy sector during our transformation to a low carbon future and there has never been a more exciting time to work within it.

During January Durham University held winter congregation 2020, where over 1500 of our students graduated at ceremonies in Durham Cathedral and four people, including Barbara Vest, were awarded honorary degrees. We award honorary degrees to inspiring individuals, who are nominated by our colleagues, in recognition of their long and exemplary service of national and international importance.

They were joined by family and friends to celebrate their hard work and inspiring achievements, and to wish them well in their future endeavours.

We hope that all of our graduates and honorary graduates take Durham with them where ever they go and that they become ambassadors for our University, City and region.


Find out more

Find out more about our honorary graduates

Honorary degree recipients