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MDC Excellence Awards winners announced

15 Jul 2020

The winners of the Manchester Doctoral College Excellence Awards 2020 have been announced, these awards are given in recognition of the outstanding achievements of our postgraduate researchers and supervisors

The awards invite supervisors, PGR students and colleagues from all faculties to nominate individuals based on their achievements for their research or their successes and contributions outside of their studies.

This is the seventh year the awards have run and the achievements of the winners have not only made valuable contributions to their own research, but also to the University and wider community.

This year’s winners are:

Best Contribution to PGR Environment

Kelly Birtwell, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Kelly developed the ‘Mindfulness for Postgraduate Research’ workshops. These workshops are tailored for PhD students, teaching mindfulness skills and improving the wellbeing of PGRs across the University.

Best Contribution to Society

Katy Finch, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Katy has worked with local communities on many projects, including widening participation initiatives, improving engagement with literacy for disadvantaged children and increasing understanding of multilingualism.

Best Contribution to Internationalisation

Tian Chen, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Tian has enhanced the international visibility of his department, and has facilitated strategic collaborations between the University and the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre and the China University of Mining and Technology

Best Outstanding Output Awards

Chunhu Shi, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Chunhu has made important contributions and insights to our knowledge on the development of pressure injuries. He also published four papers in world-leading health journals before graduating.”

Mollie Arbuthnot, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Humanities

In just the second year of her PhD, Mollie’s article on Soviet culture in Russia in the 1920s, was accepted into the most prestigious journal in Russian Studies

Yuan Shen, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Science and Engineering

After just 6 months Yuan published his first paper in a very highly respected journal. He has now written three publications during his first year and carried out influential experiments in his field.

Since winning the MDC Excellence Award the Best Contribution to Society in 2018/19, Elliot McKernon has applied for funding from the University, hired a team, developed his Wellspring app, and is aiming to release it shortly. In addition to creating this, Elliot and his team have also launched a website for the app.

Supervisor of the Year Award

In addition to recognising the achievements of our PGR students, the MDC Excellence awards also recognise supervisors who have created the most supportive, stimulating and inspirational research environment for doctoral students.

Professor Will Dixon, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

“Completing a PhD and taking the vital – but sometimes uncertain - next steps in a career requires our students to build a wide range of skills and expertise. These extend beyond the core PhD research methods and results. Having read the nominations from my special cohort of postgraduate students, they valued not only timely feedback about their projects, but also support in learning about academic writing, presentation skills, mentorship to achieve their own individual goals and aspirations (wherever these may lie), and receiving  opportunities that allowed them to take steps towards these goals. Receiving this award is an honour, especially as the students provided the nomination secretly, adding to the vicarious pleasure of seeing my students flourish.”

Dr Sarah Hall, Faculty of Humanities

Thank you to the PhD students and colleagues who nominated me for this award - it means such a lot coming from those who I admire. This is really a shared celebration, because being a PhD supervisor requires mutual trust, understanding and respect, with students, co-supervisors and professional support colleagues. I find being a PhD supervisor both the most enriching and the most difficult part of my role as an academic, and that's because it involves navigating a really significant relationship - helping to develop and nurture the next generation of scholars. So this award is for all of you too!”

Prof Jovica Milanovic, Faculty of Science and Engineering

During his academic career Professor Milanovic supervised over 270 PDRAs, Visitors, PhD, MSc  and  undergraduate students. His past 30 PhD students have come from a wide variety of backgrounds and nationalities and now have admirable careers around the world, from professors in academic institutions, directors and principal consultants  in industry   to entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses. His undergraduate, MSc and PhD students received awards at leading international conferences for their papers, many of which have been subsequently  published in top  journals, received awards as  best postgraduate research student of the year in the EEE,  and  four of his PhD graduates received Springer prize for scientific excellence and research impact and had their thesis published as books. During the past year two of his four PhD graduates received Springer award for their thesis and each of three MSc graduates published an international conference or journal paper.

The University really values the work of our PGR community and is delighted to share the details of their accomplishments and is excited to see how these individuals progress throughout their time at Manchester and in their careers.