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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).  Further details on celebrations will be advertised in due course.

MPLS Teaching Awards 2022

The 2022 MPLS Teaching Awards closed in April and there were 89 nominations.  All the nominees could have been worthy winners but in May the awarding panel chose the following eight nominees to receive awards.

Dr Dean Sheppard - Department of Chemistry

Dean Sheppard

Dean received four student and two staff nominations which were supported by the Department of Chemistry. A measure of the esteem that Dean holds is evident in the student nominations which describe Dean as the definition of the world class education promoted on the Oxford University website. His students note Dean’s innovative teaching methods, with the preparation of video solutions to the questions set for his tutorials. Dean has had a transformative impact on the delivery of Physical Chemistry teaching in the Department of Chemistry. One of the aims of his role was to improve equality of experience for all of our undergraduate students regardless of their college. To facilitate this Dean produced centralised tutorial sheets for each of the 18 core Physical Chemistry lecture courses taken by all of the students in the first three years of their degrees.

Dr Stuart Robinson - Department of Earth Sciences

Stuart RobinsonThe Department of Earth Sciences nominated Stuart Robinson for an MPLS Teaching Award, for his outstanding contributions to teaching and the department throughout the pandemic and since normality has begun to return. In Trinity Term 2021, when it first became possible to return to the field, Stuart co-designed and co-led a number of day field courses for the 1st and 2nd year cohorts who had missed the most field teaching. In the Long Vacation of 2021, 2nd year students had not been able to plan their summer mapping projects as usual, as well as missing a great deal of field teaching, so Stuart designed and led a course in Skye where they undertook mapping training and a shorter mapping project with additional guidance.

Professor Jeroen Bergmann – Department of Engineering Science

Jeroen BergmannJeroen received a number of student and staff nominations which were supported by the Department of Engineering Science. He has played a significant role in promoting multidisciplinary teaching for entrepreneurship within the division, with the successful implementation of a new engineering entrepreneurship and management (EEM) pathway within the Department of Engineering Science. This pathway offers students a unique opportunity to explore the business aspects of their engineering work in an integrated fashion. This programme has already led to creation of 9 (pre-) start-ups and has been supporting many students and staff within the Oxford ecosystem. Embedding hands-on education of EEM from undergraduate to postgraduate and beyond has led to new career opportunities for students as well as staff.

Dr Christopher Patrick – Department of Materials

Christopher PatrickThe Department of Materials nominated Christopher for a MPLS Teaching Award. He produced a more engaging set of lectures (with very high quality notes). In addition, when overseeing each of the modelling projects in Michaelmas and Hilary Term he was always available to contact for help, replying quickly and with all the information that would be useful. Christopher's student nominations highlighted his positive traits that support a productive learning environment.  One particular piece of feedback stated 'by always asking for feedback on his teaching, he ensures he will only get better.  He is a natural born teacher who goes above and beyond - his efforts not unnoticed by myself and many others who consider him the best educator in the Materials department'.

Professor Melanie Rupflin – Mathematical Institute

Melanie RupflinMelanie received a student nomination which was strongly endorsed by the Mathematical Institute. Melanie has consistently received excellent student feedback from a range of courses. She pays attention whilst preparing her lecture material and with delivering classes, with positive results for students and ensuring content is clear to understand. This has required particular versatility over the last two years, with all the changes in delivery mode imposed by the pandemic. In recent years, Melanie has lectured second-year Differential Equations I (a core compulsory course for the second years), third-year Functional Analysis I, and fourth-year/MSc Fixed Point Methods for Nonlinear PDEs.

Dr Maria Christodoulou– Department of Statistics

Maria ChristodoulouMaria received a student and a departmental nomination which were both strongly supported by the Department of Statistics. Maria has developed and delivered innovative and uniquely tailored courses in statistics for graduate students across departments and institutes of the University of Oxford. Her students appreciate that prior to any discussion of statistics, she takes a class through an anonymised data set that turns out to be the Titanic passenger list and survivor statistics by class. She invites the class to ask questions of the data set that end up being the assumptions and important considerations and limitations of the data prior to asking people to guess what the data set is and then discussing how this knowledge changes their approach to the analysis.

Dr Ellie Bath - Department of Biology

Ellie BathEllie received three student nominations which were strongly supported by the Department of Zoology. She is adept at introducing novel concepts into the tutorial using the context of pre-tutorial assignment material, making students draw their own conclusions. One of the student nominations, speaking on behalf of the Year 2 cohort, says ‘she deserves this award more than any staff member we’ve met’. All three nominations acknowledge the extremely high quality of Ellie’s teaching.

Mr Martin Hurajt – Department of Biology

Martin HujratMartin received two staff nominations and a strong endorsement from the Head of Department (Zoology). Martin has performed exceptionally well in supporting the IT for the new MBiol course which has been very challenging not just because of COVID but because the department has also been rolling out their new course at the same time. He has overseen the installation of IT/AV infrastructure in the lecture theatres and other teaching spaces to ensure that the students have received the best quality service available. Martin has been exceptional in ensuring that as many lectures as possible have been recorded and made available to students.

Previous winners

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



Individual Award 1 - Anna Bidgood, Department of Earth Sciences

Individual Award 2 - Professor Sam Cohen, Mathematical Institute

Individual Award 3 - Professor Fabian Essler, Department of Physics

Individual Award 4 – Dr Ian Griffiths and Professor Frances Kirwan, Mathematical Institute

Individual Award 5 - Mareli Grady – Mathematical Institute

Individual Award 6 - Professor Patrick Rebeschini – Department of Statistics

Individual Award 7 – Dr Lindsay Ann Turnbull, Department of Plant Sciences

2018 WINNERS  


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.