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2024 is the first year that NDPCHS held the Values Awards – a peer recognition scheme to recognise and reward staff and DPhil students who have exceptionally demonstrated the department values through their work, behaviour or projects and activities in the department.

Values awards logo

There were an incredible 104 nominations, 84 for individuals and 20 group nominations across the department. The difficult, although rewarding, task of shortlisting nominations fell to a judging panel of five chaired by the Associate Head for People EDI, Catherine Pope, with: Kamal Mahtani, Michelle Yeung, Ailsa Butler and Jo Gearing as representatives from the Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team and Value Champions.

The panel were impressed by the range of nominations with colleagues nominating teams and individuals in different groups and areas of the departments and also of different levels of seniority.

Congratulations to all those nominated as well as those highly commended and the winners! The highly commended and winners were announced at our Department Open Meeting on 6 June: 


There were 17 nominations for the value of Ambitious and two highly commended nominations.

Highly Commended: Sharon Dixon and Anna Dowrick

Sharon and Anna received highly commended for their commitment to patient and public involvement (PPI) that is truly ambitious. This nomination is specifically for their work on a primary care intervention for families affected by domestic violence. This is obviously not an easy topic to research, nor to reach people who have experience of it. They have gone to great efforts to find the people for whom their research is most relevant, working sensitively and over a long period with appropriate organisations, building trust and relationships, and understanding the need for everything they do to take a trauma-informed approach.

Furthermore, they have been generous in sharing their experience of PPI with the aim of supporting and encouraging other researchers to do more ambitious PPI, especially where the topics being investigated might be complex or challenging.


Highly Commended: Nicola Pidduck, Elizabeth Woolliams, Jeanette Allsworth and Charlotte Thompson-Grant

This group offered their genuine support and showed extraordinary dedication to the smooth running of the department during a challenging time. They went above and beyond, minuting high level meetings co-ordinating the extra workload among each other brilliantly and shifting diaries at a moment’s notice. They showed true ambition in both their behaviour and their activity.


Winner for the Value Award of Ambitious: Nerys Astbury

Nerys received four convincing nominations for this category alone. An extract from one nomination reads: “Often ambition, especially in women, can be seen as a negative, like you are reaching or striving, trying to get above your station.  This is an unfortunate double standard, and I am thrilled to see our department smashing down those stereotypes.  And for good reason, because this person exemplifies what it means to be ambitious, not by stepping on others, but by lifting others up.  She is not only incredibly successful but she strives to ensure that everyone around her is successful as well.” The examples of how she uses ambition are numerous, including her research, teaching and leadership roles as well as contribution to team to go above expectation in times of need.


There were 25 nominations for the value collaborative with two highly commended and one winner.

Highly Commended: Kiana Collins

Kiana played a pivotal role in fostering collaboration across our department, in both the DPhil community and beyond. She is proactive to collaborate with many individuals and research teams on multiple projects in the department. In her role as DPhil rep there are multiple examples of how she has gone above and beyond whilst navigating challenges.


Highly Commended: Lucy Cureton, Nicola Kenealy, Jared Robinson, Joy Rahman, Nguyen Tran

This team of Senior Trial Managers took responsibility for many of the tasks usually undertaken by the Head of Operations during an interim vacancy. As well as continuing their day to day tasks and collaborations as senior trial managers the additional collaborations included working and developing relationships with departmental colleagues externally with other CTU leads, UKCRC, UKTMN, EMIS and CRN representatives.


Winner Finance and Grants Team

The winner of Collaborative value award went to a team who work across the department and who were nominated as both individuals and as a group. Despite the complexities that they need to work with, the nominations appreciated this team’s determination, willingness to assist and ability to accommodate the diverse perspectives of their customers.

Team members: Jacqueline Belcher, Freya Cooke, Felicity Peachell, Emma Brant, Kristy Smitten, Dawn Evans, Lewis Butler, Edward Bond, Anna Karlinska, Natalie Stamp, Cristina Arraes, Ana Mendez Franco


There were seven nominations for the Value award of Creative with one highly commended and one winner. 

Highly Commended: Paula Wray

Paula is continually innovating, thinking creatively and problem solving to ensure the research we do meets the needs of the communities we serve. She takes a non-hierarchal approach to leadership and values the skills, expertise and opinions of those she works with. She actively seeks the contributions from the whole team, and takes this approach with her wider colleagues and community members she works with. 


Winner: Lauren Bandy

Lauren’s innovative and creative ideas as lead of the EMCR group support EMCRs across the department. Her organisation of the Speed Dating "Research not Romance" in 2023 allowed many colleagues to get to know each other in a short space of time and promoted curiosity for EMCRs and DPhils to find out about each other's work which helped colleagues to connect. 


There were nine nominations for the value of fair with one highly commended and one winner. 

Highly Commended: Jack Amiry, Ruth Wilson and Laura Ingle 

Highly Commended goes jointly to three people together, all part of the undergraduate teaching team, who the panel felt the citations reflected the value fairness. 

Jack works in the Undergraduate Teaching Group as Academic Lead for Year 4 Teaching. He is also a tutor on the Clinical Communication Skills and Year 5 courses run by our team. Across these roles Jack consistently demonstrates his striking commitment to fairness and equity of opportunity. He spotted an opportunity for involvement of a group not otherwise represented at the Department Conference and his dedication and support were hugely impactful to those people on a personal level. He has a natural concern for the well-being of others and approaches tasks and projects with a keen sense of balance, ensuring responsibilities are distributed in a manner that is fair and reasonable for both academic and professional services colleagues. 

Ruth was nominated for the support she’s given to change the culture of the teaching environment for staff and students. An environment of openness has been possible under her leadership where the regular tutor updates discuss both positive and less positive experiences, reframing mistakes as learning opportunities in a supportive environment. 

Laura consistently demonstrates a deep commitment to values highlighted by the department and helps foster a culture of trust and integrity within the UG team. Laura ensures deadlines are met and projects are followed through on. In group meetings, Laura demonstrates an invaluable ability to put forward questions and angles of discussion that encourage the team to share ideas, hopes and concerns for the work proposed. She collates student feedback into a digestible format and specifically shares it with educators “on the ground” which was described as invaluable.


Winner: Rafael Perera 

Rafael has made the department a better place for all involved in post-graduate teaching. Fairness and justice are hardwired into the way he makes decisions as Director of Graduate Studies, from the application process and scoring DPhil candidates to DPhil supervisors and post-graduate student welfare, Rafael has made the department a better place for all involved in post-graduate teaching.

Respectful & Kind

There were 26 nominations, two highly commended and one winner for this value.

Highly Commended: Lucy Curtin

Lucy was nominated for her personal touch and genuine interest and care for individual’s wellbeing as well as her efficient and proactive support.  One nomination wrote that this person “made me feel incredibly welcome and supported when I joined the department, helped me navigate systems, introduced me to people and teams and generally checked in with me and continues to do so.” Another nomination describes her as “The golden thread that connects many of us in the department, and the person who makes our days a bit better and easier. She is the ultimate professional, always being positive and constructive in her approach despite having a huge workload. I think her good citizenship in always treating others with respect and kindness whilst under some pressure herself, is a great example of how the way we do things is as important as what we do.”


Highly Commended: Richard Stevens

In the words of the nomination Richard “has offered me kindness and support several times over my DPhil, despite my not being in his group or having any working overlap. Each time, he has offered his help simply out of a kind and supportive nature.” From showing patience when running a course to connecting colleagues to help expand the DPhil’s network Richard works to make the department a safer place.


Winner: Nicola Lindson

Nicola received a number of nominations. She embodies the values of our department, consistently contributing to a friendly, welcoming, and enjoyable work environment. She is a beacon of good citizenship, always treating everyone with dignity and respect. The impact of her self-less actions are felt by the whole team. She’s been described in another nomination as “The most influential, admirable, and respectful colleague I have worked with at NDPCHS”. Her integrity and commitment to doing the right thing is not just in her remarkable research, but present in all she does.

Trusting & Accountable

20 nominations for this category with one highly commended and one winner.

Highly Commended: IT Team: Shadi Alsamhouri & Andrew Kong & John Briggs

The IT support team are problem solvers and fixers and they keep going until they have the answer. The service offered is equitable for all department members, regardless of position and one nomination noted how friendly the team are given the constant support calls that come through and in light of the growing department. This team take responsibility for providing the best IT service they can and nominees felt lucky to have such great and trustworthy support.


Winner: Angela Martin

Winner of the value Trusting & Accountable goes to someone described as the cornerstone of this team's activity. She provides support across the group to researchers at all career stages in grant development and project delivery. Supremely organised, a tremendous source of wisdom she creates shared ownership of projects, enables growth among less experienced team members and ensures that our collaborations with other universities or organisations reflect our values. She acts as a role-model for trustworthy and accountable leadership.

Opinions expressed are those of the author/s and not of the University of Oxford. Readers' comments will be moderated - see our guidelines for further information.

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