Current Newsletter Spring 2024

Welcome to the Harkness Alumni News Issue 13
Spring 2024

Last year the Harkness Fellows Association replaced its former winter dinner, with a new summer version.  Fellows who joined the event spoke highly of the speaker and the chance to meet other fellows over dinner; and less highly of the noise in the restaurant and the rigidity of a seated three course dinner. This year, we will try a social gathering with food in a more informal setting so fellows can more easily interact with each other. There will be short presentations at the start of the evening. Please save Wednesday June 5th.  You can book here to reserve a place for the central London venue, and then review when there are more details.

Regional dinner gatherings are being planned. Dates will be based on the availability of those who want to attend.  Invites will be sent after the HFA has completed the forthcoming survey to all fellows so that up to date contact details are available. Please look out for the HFA survey, due to be sent in June.

As always, please let us have any updates to

More than One; Harkness Fellows in the same family

Amahl Smith (HF 1988-90) tells the moving story of his father Neilson Voyne Smith’s fellowship and life and then his own time as a Harkness Fellow. Neilson studied with Noam Chomsky. See here.  Are there other families where more than one has been a Harkness Fellow? Do let us know. by contacting Lizzie on​


‘Invisible Everywhere’: Poetry and Science

In a break from our usual talks about topical issues, Katrina Porteous (HF 1982-84), a creative fellow from when the scheme included such opportunities, will share some of her poetry with us, and discuss connections between poetry and the public understanding of science. Book here. 

Fellows’ Survey coming soon

All fellows will receive a survey in June so that we can update contact details and engagement opportunities. This will help with planning activities for the Centenary and regional dinners, as well as engaging support for future returning fellows.  Progress has been made with surveying returning fellows about their experiences. Invites to on line focus groups have been sent to UK fellows from the last 15 years.


Trump and the Media: Judges and Politics. Two recent talks

On line talks remain popular and interesting. In the last few months we have gained insight into the way that politics and the media can influence the independence of the judiciary with Professor Satvinder Juss HF 1996-96.  See here. More recently, John Gapper, HF 91-92, FY journalist and author gave his audience a better understanding of how Trump gained the support he has in the USA. See here


Harkness Fellows Updates

Please send us updates about yourself.  We know that Harkness Fellows like to hear about fellow alumni but we can only share what we are told.  These should be sent to

Congratulations to Jennifer Dixon (HF 1990-91) Chief Executive of The Health Foundation, who was awarded a damehood in the King’s New Year Honours List for services to the NHS and public health.

Alice Murray (HF 2016-17) has been appointed as a Colorectal Consultant at UCLH 

Maddy Phipps-Taylor (HF 2014-15) has been appointed as Managing Director for Europe for Magentus, a global health technology company.

We are sad to report the deaths of:

Nicholas Barton (HF 1968-70)  a supporter and member of the Harkness Fellows Assocaition died in 2023. See here for more information about Nicholas.

Neilson Voyne Smith (HF 1966-68) who passed away on 16 November.  See here for more information, written by his son, Amahl, also a Harkness fellow.