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Supervisor demonstrating lab work to students

The University and MPLS Division already run award schemes to recognise a range of activity, spanning Teaching, Research Impact, Diversity and Inclusion, Innovation and Engagement, Professional Services, and Environmental Sustainability. Until now, there has not been a specific opportunity to celebrate the supervisors and research group leaders who do so much to ensure that our doctoral students and early-career researchers are supported effectively as they set out on their academic careers.

We are committed to ensuring that our DPhil supervisors and research group leaders foster an environment in which students and researchers can thrive, in line with our responsibilities under The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and our academic mission to advance learning through teaching and research. 

Annual award scheme

Following on from the success of the inaugural awards in the 2022 / 2023 academic year, we will be running the MPLS Awards for Outstanding Research Supervision again this year.  This annual awards scheme was launched to celebrate colleagues who demonstrate leadership and best practice by nurturing and supporting research colleagues in their role as DPhil supervisors or research group leaders. These awards are less about research excellence and the standing of an individual research group leader, and more about recognising the members of our research community who excel in their everyday supervision of colleagues and professional commitment to people development.

Line managers and supervisors at any career stage can be nominated for an award, and nominations are welcome from all research groups in MPLS. Full details of how to make a nomination can be found in the information and nomination template below.

The deadline for all nominations for the 2023 / 2024 round of awards was 5pm on Friday 17 November 2023.


  1. Two nomination forms are necessary for each proposed supervisor. First nominations should be from current researchers or research students in the group of the nominee. Second nominations may also come from current group members but past members are also encouraged for areas where smaller research groups are common. Each nomination can have multiple signatures from eligible researchers. If you are thinking about nominating your supervisor please talk to others to ensure there are not more than two nomination forms are submitted. Only two will be read.
  2. Testimonials (max 400 words) from each nominator form the basis of the nomination.
  3. On receipt of the nominations, HODs or their nominated representative will be asked to comment on whether they support the nomination (yes/no tick box approval) to ensure nominations will only be considered for supervisors with good standing in this area.
  4. Nominees are asked to declare that they have no conflicts of interest for the nomination.


  1. The testimonials will be submitted as pdfs to the award manager.
  2. The judging panel will be made up of 5 early-career researchers, recruited primarily from our MPLS departmental researcher representatives, and who have not provided a testimonial for that round of nominations and are not associated with any nominated supervisor (i.e. group member).
  3. The panel will be chaired by one of the Associate Heads (Research, Education or People), whose role is purely to chair the meetings, to clarify rules and to provide technical oversight of fair procedure.


  1. We expect to give 5-10 awards each year.
  2. Awards will be publicised through divisional and departmental communication channels and announced online, with winners recognised at a divisional reception later in the year.
  3. Nominations can only be received for supervisors who have not received this award in the previous 4 years (i.e., a typical DPhil or postdoctoral appointment cycle), previous awardees will be listed on the MPLS website (read about the 2022/23 winners).


  1. Nominees can be anyone in an MPLS department who supervises DPhil students and/or postdoctoral researchers and fellows.
  2. An awardee cannot be nominated again within four years of a previous award.
  3. The nominee will have been in post for at least 2 years


Download the nomination form (Word doc).

You can also view the content of the nomination form as a webpage.

Previous Winners

The awards have been running in their current format since the 2022 / 2023 academic year. 

2022 / 2023 winners

  • Professor Helen Byrne (Mathematical Institute)
  • Professor Mark Cannon (Department of Engineering Science)
  • Professor Gavin Dalton (Department of Physics)
  • Professor Christl Donnelly, CBE (Department of Statistics)
  • Dr Tom Hart (Department of Biology)
  • Professor Matt Jarvis (Department of Physics)
  • Professor Aris Karastergiou (Department of Physics)
  • Dr Barbara Maciejewska (Department of Materials)
  • Dr Sneha Malde (Department of Physics)
  • Dr Takafumi Nishino (Department of Engineering Science)
  • Professor Gail Preston (Department of Biology)
  • Professor Paolo Radaelli (Department of Physics)
  • Professor Clive Siviour (Department of Engineering Science)

See the 2022 / 2023 MPLS Awards for Outstanding Supervision News Article for more information and winner profiles.  

2023 / 2024 winners

  • Professor Ruth Baker (Mathematical Institute)
  • Professor Robert Carlisle (Department of Engineering Science)
  • Professor Alfonso Castrejón-Pita (Department of Engineering Science)
  • Professor Ian Griffiths (Mathematical Institute)
  • Professor Perla Maiolino (Department of Engineering Science)
  • Professor Michael Moody (Department of Materials)
  • Dr Nakita Noel (Department of Physics)
  • Professor Jeremy Robertson (Department of Chemistry)
  • Professor Harrison Steel (Department of Engineering Science)
  • Dr Diogo Veríssimo (Department of Biology)
  • Professor Noa Zilberman (Department of Engineering Science)

See the 20232 / 2024 MPLS Awards for Outstanding Supervision News Article for more information and winner profiles.