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Professor Donal Bradley with Professor Ekaterina Shamonina and Professor Sonia Contera

At the MPLS Summer reception on Tuesday 17th July, Head of Division Professor Donal Bradley outlined staff achievements over the last six months (honours, awards, significant appointments, grant funding and fellowships), and gave an update on capital projects and new MPLS spin-outs.

The Reception featured presentations from Professor Ekaterina Shamonina (Engineering Science) on metamaterials, and from Professor Sonia Contera (Physics) on the use of atomic force microscopy to study biological processes.

The Reception also saw the presentation of two sets of awards to MPLS staff.

The 2018 MPLS Equality and Diversity Awards

These awards were introduced to recognise the impressive work within the division to advance equality, diversity and inclusion. £1,000 is granted to each recipient.

The winners, announced by Prof Niranjan Thatte (Chair of the Physics Equality and Diversity Committee, and member of the MPLS Equality and Diversity Steering Group) were as follows:

Best Initiative. This award recognises a successful activity or initiative aimed at increasing equality and diversity in a department, group, or subject area. Two awards were made:

  • ‘It All Adds Up’, an annual event in the Mathematical Institute designed to inspire young women nationwide to continue with Maths education, recognising the contributions of Rebecca Cotton-Barratt, Mareli Grady, Frances Kirwan and Vicky Neale in making this event a success.
  • The Anti-Bullying Week activities in the Department of Chemistry, held on an annual basis since 2014, and led by Abbie Muchecheti.

There were also two special mentions in the category: Benjamin Fernando, a DPhil student in Earth Sciences, who submitted an open letter to the Guardian in response to the release of Oxford’s undergraduate admissions statistics, which collected over 1000 signatures from current students at Oxford; and Shazeaa Ishmael, a DPhil student in Materials, and the Women in Materials Science team, started last year by a group of predominately DPhil students.

Best Team Effort. This award recognises effective collaboration between team members - within a department or across departments - working together on an equality and diversity related activity or initiative.

  • The Gender Gap Working Party, a team effort between the Department of Chemistry and the University Student Data Management and Analysis team to research, analyse and understand the gender gap in student examination performance.

Lifetime Achievement. This award is made to an individual who has shown outstanding dedication, sustained commitment, and effective leadership in advancing equality and diversity.

  • Catherine Goodwin, Projects Manager in the Mathematical Institute. Over the last few years, Catherine has been involved with the Department’s Good Practice Committee, supporting and driving a number of initiatives across the department to increase equality and diversity among students and staff, and increase well-being in general in the department.

The 2018 MPLS teaching awards

All the nominees could have been worthy winners but the awarding panel chose six to receive the Teaching Awards.  These divisional awards carry a financial award of £1,000 per awardee.

The winners, announced by Professor Michael Bonsall (Associate Head of Division (Teaching)) were as follows:

  • Professors Ruth Baker, Helen Byrne and Sarah Waters (all Associate Professors in the Mathematical Institute) for leading on the recent development of the mathematical biology stream through the undergraduate programme in mathematics. Ruth, Sarah and Helen worked together to develop a new, much needed, second year course in Mathematical Modelling in Biology.
  • Professor Simon Benjamin (Professor of Quantum Technologies, Department of Materials) for developing a series of online videos and multiple choice quizzes to teach the course on Vectors, Matrices and Determinants, thus freeing up lecture time to focus on more challenging material and on problem-solving discussions.
  • Professor Xenia de la Ossa (Reader in Mathematics, Mathematical Institute) and Professor Andre Lukas (Professor of Theoretical Physics, Department of Physics) for their leadership on the development and implementation of the new MSc Mathematical and Theoretical Physics.

Further details on previous Teaching Award winners and the awards scheme in general can be found here