England’s top doctor has been picked to become the first woman master at Cambridge University’s Trinity College.
Dame Sally Davies has been the country’s chief medical officer for nine years and was also the first female to hold that post.
She will take up her job as Trinity’s 39th Master on 8 October, 40 years after it let women students join.
She tweeted she “will be working relentlessly until I step down at the end of September”.
Dame Sally worked in the NHS as a consultant haematologist for 30 years before joining the civil service in 2004.
She was also director general of research and development for the NHS and helped to create Genomics England.
In December, she called for taxes on unhealthy food high in sugar and salt and on 7 February joined the UK’s three other chief medical officers to call for children to be banned from screen use at dinner times.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock paid tribute to her, saying she “led the fight against antibiotic resistance and public health risks and has pioneered world-leading action across a whole range of areas”.
Dame Sally has also advised the UK government in health emergencies, including the Ebola and Zika outbreaks in Africa and Brazil and the Novichok attack in 2018.
Prof Catherine Barnard, senior tutor at Trinity, said it was “exciting news” at a time when it was “celebrating 40 years since the college became co-educational”.
Trinity College, Cambridge has 33 Nobel Laureates, including most recently its current master Sir Gregory Winter.
It is generally considered the richest college at Cambridge university, reporting endowment assets of £1.081bn in 2015 to 2016.