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The MPLS Divisional Teaching Award Scheme celebrates success, and recognises and rewards excellence in innovative teaching. Awards are available to all those who teach, including graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and learning support staff. The Teaching Award Scheme is administered by the MPLS Divisional Office and awards are made, on merit, across the departments by a cross-departmental panel chaired by the Associate Head of Division (Academic). The awards are celebrated by the Head of Division at the MPLS Summer Reception in July.

MPLS Teaching Awards – 2019 WINNERS

The 2019 MPLS teaching awards were announced on Wednesday 3rd July as part of the MPLS Summer Reception. All the nominees could have been worthy winners but the awarding panel chose six to receive awards

The winners, announced by Professor Charlotte Deane, Deputy Head of Division were as follows:

Anna Bidgood - Department of Earth Sciences

The Department of Earth Sciences supported Anna’s nomination to be considered for an MPLS individual teaching award for her dedication to, and talent for, giving high-quality tutorials in Petrology and for her field teaching.  Anna has become the “go-to” demonstrator in the Department for both students and faculty as she has a gift for explaining concepts in a clear and concise way that students find easy to follow.  A measure of the esteem that she is held on by the students is that she was awarded “demonstrator of the year” by our undergraduate students in the student-led departmental teaching awards.  

Professor Sam Cohen – Associate Professor, Mathematical Institute

Dr Ian Griffiths – Mathematical Institute

Professor Frances Kirwan – Professor of Geometry, Mathematical Institute

The Mathematical Institute jointly nominated Ian, Frances and Sam for an MPLS teaching award for their work on Friday@4.  Fridays@4 is an initiative which started in 2015-16 to help improve graduate students study skills but has developed into so much more. These weekly sessions offer a variety of talks and workshops such as 'How to give a bad talk', 'Careers beyond academia' and 'Imposter syndrome'.  These sessions enhance students' study skills and their long-term educational development and help integrate students within the department.  The Mathematical Institute nominated the Fridays@4 organisers for their continued support and work on this initiative.

Professor Fabian Essler – Professor of Physics, Department of Physics

The Department of Physics supported Fabian’s nomination to be considered for an MPLS individual teaching award for the content of Professor Essler's lectures on Quantum Mechanics.  He has introduced an innovative lecturing style that promotes student interaction and participation which is demonstrated through outstanding course evaluations.  

Mareli Grady – Mathematical Institute

The Mathematical Institute nominated Mareli to be considered for an MPLS individual teaching award for raising awareness of mathematics and engagement with the public.  The Oxford Maths Festival is an annual festival for the local community. This is the second year the festival is ran a packed weekend of mathematical activities over the weekend of 11-12 May. Last year this event attracted around 2,000 local residents, with children aged 3-14 as well as adults. The event was set up and is run by Mareli who has been the driving force behind this fantastic initiative for that reason the Mathematical Institute nominated Mareli for a Teaching Award.

Professor Patrick Rebeschini – Associate Professor, Department of Statistics

The Department of Statistics supported Patrick’s nomination to be considered for an MPLS individual teaching award for the design, development and teaching for the first time a new course aimed at Part C, OMMS, and Statistics MSc students titled “Algorithmic Foundations of Learning” (AFoL). Patrick designed an original syllabus that presents recent trends in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) in a unifying framework, combining together ideas from high-dimensional probability, statistics, and optimisation.  Focusing on mathematical foundations and on the interplay between statistics and optimisation, particularly on the modern probabilistic tools to investigate random structures in high dimensions, AFoL filled a gap in the offering of AI/ML courses across the University.   AFoL is timely within the Oxford landscape, given the recent focus on AI at the university (e.g., the plan to build a new graduate college with a focus on AI, and the recently-launched AI Festivals/Expos) and the recent introduction of the Oxford Masters in Mathematical Sciences (OMMS). The course was taken by approximately 50 students.  

 Dr Lindsay Ann Turnbull - Associate Professor, Department of Plant Sciences

The department nominated Lindsay in recognition of her exemplary willingness to drive forward the design of the new course alongside the many other commitments that come with her APTF position.   Lindsay developed an innovative proposal in consultation with colleagues across the two Departments and guided it through all the stages to final approval. Lindsay brought energy, enthusiasm and profound insight to the development of the course, and she was undaunted in pursuing the Departments' central objective of creating a course that will allow our graduates to remain competitive in the workplace and for graduate training programmes.  The department already knew that Lindsay was an outstanding teacher, one of the best to judge from the feedback returns for the current degree course. What they now know is that Lindsay's passion for teaching is coupled with formidable leadership skills that have been, and will continue to be, pivotal in driving the MBiol forward. The first students for the new course arrive in Michaelmas Term 2019, and it is particularly fitting that Lindsay's remarkable drive and vision be recognised with an MPLS Teaching Award.


MPLS Teaching Awards – 2020 scheme

Details for the 2020 awards will be explained in Hilary term 2020.


Details on previous winners is below.



Previous Winners

The awards have been running in their current format since 2012. The winners of the awards since 2012 are listed below including detailed descriptions for last year's awards. Winners of teaching awards from years before 2012 (when the awards were in a different format) can be requested by emailing



Individual Award 1 - Professor Ruth Baker, Mathematical Institute

Individual Award 2 - Professor Simon Benjamin, Department of Materials

Individual Award 3 - Professor Helen Byrne, Mathematical Institute

Individual Award 4 - Professor Xenia de la Ossa, Mathematical Institute

Individual Award 5 - Professor Andre Lukas, Department of Physics

Individual Award 6 - Professor Sarah Waters, Mathematical Institute

2017 Winners  

Individual Award 1 - Professor Byron Byrne,  Engineering Science

Individual Award 2 - Professor  Dan Ciubotaru, Mathematics

Individual Award 3 - Professor Steven Balbus, Physics

Individual Award 4 - Professor Peter Darrah, Plant Sciences

Individual Award 5 - Professor Claire Vallance, Chemistry


2016 Winners  

Project Award: Dr David Johnson, Senior Research Associate, OERC

Individual Award 1 - Dr Vicky Neale, Whitehead Lecturer, Mathematical Institute

Individual Award 2 - Mr Eric Peasley, Teaching and Design Engineer, Engineering Science

Individual Award 3 – Professor Caroline Terquem, Professor of Physics, Physics

Individual Award 4 – Dr Helen Johnson, Associate Professor, Earth Sciences

Individual Award 5 – Dr Jonathan Burton, Associate Professor, Chemistry


2015 Winners  

Project Award: Dr Christopher Palmer, Departmental lecturer, Physics   

Special Category Award for innovative use of IT in teaching: Ms Belinda Hughes, Teaching Design Engineer, Engineering Science

Individual Award 1 - Dr Steve Sheard, Associate head of Department (teaching), Engineering Science 

Individual Award 2 - Dr Andrew Ker, University lecturer, Computer Science

Individual Award 3 – Dr Cath Wilkins, Departmental Lecturer, Mathematical Institute  

Individual Award 4 – Prof Fabian Essler, Professor, Physics

Individual Award 5 – Prof Owen Lewis, Professor, Zoology 

2014 Winners

Project Award - Dr Janet Dyson and Dr Richard Earl, Mathematics

Special Category Award (Oxford Sparks Public Engagement Award) - Dr Joanna Barstow, Physics

Individual Teaching Awards - Dr Nicholas Green, Professor Elspeth Garman, Professor Steve Simon, Professor Brian Follett   

2013 Winners

Project Award - Mr Rok Sekirnik

Special Category Award - Dr Greg Gyurko

Individual Teaching Awards - Professor Luis Fernando Alday; Professor Philip Maini; Dr Christina Goldschmidt; Dr Richard Palin.   

2012 winners

Project Award - Dr Martin Griffiths

Special Category Award - Alan Howe  

Individual Teaching Awards - Dr Kathryn Gillow, Prof Jon Chapman, Tom Close, Jamie Frost   


      If you have any questions on the Teaching Award Scheme, please email us.