Category Archives: Awards

GRC Prizes 2023 Winners Announced!

Graduate and Researcher College is delighted to announce the winners of the GRC Prizes 2023. These awards honor outstanding contributions made by postgraduate researchers and members of staff across various fields and disciplines. This year, the GRC received an exceptional number of remarkable submissions, making the selection process both challenging and exciting.

The GRC Prizes were established to recognize and encourage the exceptional efforts and achievements of the university’s graduate researchers. This initiative not only highlights the outstanding contributions made by these talented individuals but also serves as a testament to the university’s commitment to fostering a vibrant and supportive research community.

Let us announce the winners of the GRC Prizes 2023:

Director of Graduate Studies/Programme Lead Maria Elisavet Balta

“Her excellence in teaching and thus her influence on others are above and beyond expectation” – Dr Zita Stone



Postgraduate Professional Service Champion Alexandra Marnerou

“Alexandra is a vital member of our team.” – Lucy Wilson
“Alexandra is an exemplary employee, who always goes above and beyond for students, staff and her colleagues.” – Katy Wade



Postgraduate Professional Service Champion (Highly Commended) Dave Donaldson

“Dave is a true asset to the School of Psychology and Division. Things would not operate smoothly without him.” – Theresa Gannon


Postgraduate Professional Service Champion (Highly Commended) Arts and Hums PGR Admin Team

“This nomination shows the appreciation and recognition for the work the team has done to make a positive contribution to the PGR student experience” – Miguel Santos


Postgraduate Teacher George Simpson

“George has made an exceptional contribution to enhancing student experience and enriching the learning environment across the modules on which he teaches” – Prof Caroline Chatwin


Research Degree Supervisor Donna Arnold

“I am grateful beyond measure. I hope that this nomination might go some way to recognising her for her kindness, empathy, support and guidance.” – Katy Brace


Research Degree Supervisor (Highly commended) Ambrose Gillick

“He is passionate and enthusiastic which shows in the way he provides valuable constructive feedback” – Richi Mohanty



Postgraduate Researcher Daniel Marshall

“Daniel has shown remarkable creativity, maturity, perseverance, and insight for such a young researcher and is a credit to the high-quality internationally-leading research students at the University of Kent.”- Dominic Orchard



Postgraduate Researcher (Highly commended) Holly McPhillips

“Holly truly is a gifted and talented researcher who is committed not only to developing her own research career but also supporting her communities and those around her.” – Dr Donna Arnold and Dr Silvia Ramos


Once again, congratulations to all the winners!

GRC Prizes 2022 Winners Announced!

The Graduate and Researcher College is delighted to announce the winners of the 2022 GRC Prizes. The Graduate and Researcher College would like to give a special mention to all the nominees, we recognise the tremendous work being carried out and thank you for your contributions to our research community. A huge congratulations to all our winners.

Postgraduate Professional Service Champion

Nicola Huxtable, Division of Human and Social Sciences 

“I would like to thank Dr Ed Morgan-Jones for nominating me for this award.  I’ve worked at the University for 32 years and so it means a great deal to me to be appreciated and to know that what I do makes a positive contribution to the experience of students and academic colleagues. I’d also like to thank my two fantastic colleagues (and friends), Lucy Wilson and Alexandra Marnerou who are conscientious, hard-working and supportive and who basically make me look good. I am thankful every day that they are part of our team. Also thank you GRC for creating these awards that praise the people, not just the institution, and make them feel valued.”

Postgraduate Researcher Champion

Sophus Zu Ermgassen, School of Anthropology and Conservation 

“I’m seriously honoured to have received this award and would never have won this without the amazing colleagues I have around me at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology who I learn so much from every day. I’m especially grateful to Dr Joe Bull, who’s been a fantastic supervisor and extremely generous in sharing his policy platform with me over the last few years, enabling the two of us to work together on the urgent challenge of improving biodiversity policy implementation in the UK and abroad.”

Postgraduate Researcher Champion

Dave S.P Thomas, Centre for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) 

“This doctorate has been the longest and most rewarding process of learning and development that I have embarked on to date. It has enhanced my appreciation for and understanding of the complexities of and nuances involved in the research process. From inception, the PhD journey has been about the struggles that pervade and invade all that I do, all that I am, and possibly all that I will become.

My journey has also been influenced by the struggles of people who have been underserved, disadvantaged and those racialized as minorities in higher education – people who have the potential and aptitude to benefit from higher education, but may not have had the opportunity. My PhD has been grounded in the Afrocentric principles of Ms’at, Utulivu, Ukweli and Uhaki (loosely translated from Swahili to mean, the quest for justice, truth and harmony’).

I express eternal gratitude to my exceptional supervisors Professor Kathleen M. Quinlan and Professor Toni Williams as well as Dr Lavinia Mitton for their expert guidance and support. I would also like to thank the students who contributed to the research, as without them the research would not have come to fruition. I also stand on the shoulders of friends and colleagues for their support. Ubunti – I am because we are!”

Postgraduate Researcher Champion

Katie Sambrooks, School of Psychology 

“I am delighted and honoured to receive this award. I would like to thank Prof Theresa Gannon for nominating me and for supporting my academic endeavours over the last 4 years. I look forward to continuing our firesetting work together.”

Postgraduate Researcher Champion

Duncan Mifsud, Centre for astrophysics and planetary science 

“I am truly honoured to have been awarded the GRC Postgraduate Researcher Prize. This recognition will surely motivate me to continue pursuing my academic goals, including furthering my research in astrochemistry. I would like to dedicate this prize to my supervisor, Prof. Nigel J. Mason, who has offered me much support, advice, and friendship throughout my time as a PhD student.”

Postgraduate Teacher

Matthew Boakes , Cyber Security Research Group

“I am incredibly humbled to have been awarded this year’s GRC Postgraduate Teacher Prize 2022. First, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Anna Jordanous, who did not hesitate and was overly willing and accommodating to provide a letter of recommendation to support my application (at a somewhat late notice of the deadline).

Second, I have always enjoyed my teaching commitments at Kent in supporting foundation level students through to master’s level across a range of modules in the School of Engineering and School of Computing, sometimes to the detriment of my research goals and timelines. However, the feedback from students in helping them overcome difficulties and understand topics has always made it worthwhile to me.

Truthfully, I’m not sure what I will spend the money on yet as hopefully (fingers crossed) I am coming towards the end of my PhD journey. Still, I hope to find a good use for it in potentially future research or development opportunities.

Finally, I would like to thank all the students who have provided me with both positive and constructive feedback to adapt my teaching and the GRC for recognising my achievement. Winning this prize further encourages me to pursue a career in education and academia.”

Research Degree Supervisor Champion

Alexandra Covaci, School of Engineering 

“I would like to thank all graduate students I am working with. I am very grateful for all the ways in which I am always learning from you – Khawla, Rafaella, Sophia, Mayank, Boyd, Anna, Boris, Mike, Raya, Ali, Chantal, and Neil. Your ideas are amazing, you take initiative, you pursue your goals with vigour and grace, you surprise and inspire me every day. Let’s continue building meaningful research together!”

Kent Researchers’ Showcase 2022

The Researchers’ Showcase celebrated Kent’s postgraduate research community with a full programme of exciting events including; research talks, a wellbeing panel session, competitions, and an exclusive Postgraduate BBQ.

Gareth Hughes was invited as the event’s keynote speaker and shared his fascinating reflections on wellbeing with his talk entitled ‘Good Wellbeing and Good Research: Myths, Challenges, and Evidence.’

The day ended with an awards ceremony and drinks reception, which celebrated the winners of the Three Minute Thesis, Research Poster Competition, Research Photograph Competition, and the GRC Prizes.

Three Minute Thesis
Runner Up – Stephanie Schlichtner
Winner – Aruna Duraisingham

Research Poster
Runner Up – Bristol Rigby
Judges’ Winner – Priya Sarma
People’s Choice Winner – Rania Kologhassi

Research Photograph
Judges’ Winner – Marzia Bilwani
People’s Choice – Silvia Rasca

Graduate and Researcher College Prizes
Postgraduate Researcher – Dave S.P. Thomas
Postgraduate Researcher – Katie Sambrooks
Postgraduate Researcher – Sophus Zu-Ermgassen
Postgraduate Researcher – Duncan Mifsud
Research Degree Supervisor – Alexandra Covaci
Postgraduate Teacher – Matthew Boakes
Postgraduate Professional Service Champion – Nicola Huxtable


Kent Pol/IR Student Hollie MacKenzie wins National PhD Prize

Congratulations to Pol/IR PhD student Hollie Mackenzie who has won the Sir Ernest Barker Prize for best doctoral thesis in political theory in 2020 from the UK Political Studies Association. Hollie’s thesis is titled ‘A Schizo-Revolutionary Labial Art-Politics’ and in keeping with the argument of the thesis and Hollie’s artistic practice it was presented as a sculptural piece in its own right. The thesis was examined by Prof. Rosi Braidotti (Utrecht) and Prof. Maria Drakopoulou (Kent).

‘The experimental form as art project is both daring and perfectly attuned to the theme and thus suited to the content matter: a feminist practice of aesthetic and theoretical resistance’. Prof Braidotti (Utrecht).

Upon hearing news of the prize, Hollie commented: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to be awarded this prize. It was a huge risk to submit an art-thesis instead of a traditional thesis, and the determination and hard work paid off. Creating an enfolded piece of scholarly writing and a melting sculpture was my feminine reinvention of the traditional idea of a thesis to challenge the hypermasculine systems, structures and content in which theses are written and defended in the discipline of political theory, and being awarded the Sir Ernest Barker Prize from the Political Studies Association confirms thata schizo-revolutionary labial art-politics is a welcomed and timely approach to creatively confront the hypermasculine institutionalisation of knowledge.

The experience of the art-thesis also presents a challenge to the reader that was welcomed by Braidotti and Drakopoulou, who both commended it was ‘highly innovative’, ‘highly original’, and ‘more approachable and enjoyable’.It is a pleasure to see that my call for different forms of expression, teaching and learning within political theory is being welcomed and I hope that it invites others to create a much needed space for feminine difference through their own responses to the question of what a schizo-revolutionary labial art-politics might become.’

Nadine Ansorg, Head of School, commented: ‘Hollie’s thesis radically challenges existing notions of how a PhD dissertation might be executed and look like, and fundamentally questions the hypermasculine institutionalisation of knowledge. By way of artistic practice, Hollie provides new ways of a feminine artistic problem of what a thesis may become for generations to come.’

The thesis was co-supervised by Dr Iain MacKenzie (Kent) and Anna Cutler (Tate), with Dr Harmonie Toros serving as second supervisor. Hollie was also awarded the University of Kent Social Sciences Seminar Teaching Prize 2018.

This is the second time in less than 10 years that the prize has come to the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent. The 2013 Sir Ernest Barker Prize was awarded to Dr Benoit Dillet (now, University of Bath) for his thesis ‘The Outside of the Political: Schmitt, Deleuze, Foucault, Descola and the Problem of Travel’, also supervised by Dr Iain MacKenzie.

Hollie with another of her pieces, titled ‘Duration.’

Summer Vacation Research Competition 2021 winners announced

The Graduate and Researcher College is pleased to announce the winners of the Summer Vacation Research Competition 2021:

  • Dr Miyoung Ahn, Centre for the Study of Higher Education
  • Dr Francesca Cavallo, School of Arts
  • Dr Christopher Dunmore, School of Anthropology and Conservation
  • Ioannis Galanakis, School of Economics
  • Aino Petterson, School of Psychology
  • Suzi Sapiets, Tizard Centre

This event, now in its fourth year, attracts PDRAs, RAs and Research Associates looking to gain additional project and line management experience through an established scheme in which they are supported by central and Divisional University colleagues.

Applications in this atypical year addressed a range of topical issues including understanding inequality in UK HE, assessing the economic impact of the recent ‘eat out to help out’ scheme and educating about climate change in Brazil. Their national and global focus reflect Kent’s role as an innovative research-intensive institution which strives to find answers to diverse challenges by exploring relevant questions for the benefit of the local, national and international communities it serves.

Professor Shane Weller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research & Innovation, said:

“I am absolutely delighted to support this year’s Summer Vacation Research Competition, which was promoted across the Divisions as part of our strategy to enable our students actively to participate in research. The competition benefits both our early career researchers and our undergraduate students. It is particularly pleasing to see that the approved projects align so well with two of the University’s new Signature Research Themes (‘Environment, Food Systems and Natural Resources’, and ‘Future Human’), whilst a third reflects another proposed theme (‘Inequalities and Diversity’). I wish all competition participants every success in their endeavours and very much look forward to reviewing the project outcomes and discoveries.”

Applications for this innovative opportunity for second- and third-year undergraduates to gain research experience are being managed by the Careers and Employability Service, and will open on 22 March. We look forward to receiving applications from enthusiastic and motivated students who are interested in learning more about the world of research through active participation in a real-life project.

Congratulations to Julie Anderson, recipient of the Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching & Supervision in History 2018

Dr Julie Anderson (Reader in History, University of Kent) has recently been awarded the Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching and Supervision in History 2018. The Graduate School would like to congratulate Julie on her incredible contribution to the research, teaching and student experience culture at the University of Kent.

‘Dr Anderson is an outstanding undergraduate teacher of history and a creative and highly effective supervisor of postgraduate historians in her field. Her enthusiasm for her subject is clearly infectious, and she has inspired a whole cohort of students to work with her, studying the history of modern medicine and disabilities in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The panel particularly liked the way she breaks down the daunting task of completing a doctorate into manageable steps or ‘milestones’, building both students’ confidence and their theoretical and transferable skills. Thus, her PhD students are encouraged to maintain a clear schedule for researching and writing the thesis, but also to publish a book review, give conference presentations each year, submit an article for publication in year two, undertake placements and outreach activities outside academia, and train to teach undergraduates. The collaborative and supportive atmosphere she has established – combined with her sensitivity to the mental and emotional struggles of postgraduate work – is much appreciated by her students and colleagues and will be an inspiration to others. In sum, her work provides a template of excellent supervision and teaching.’ (Judges’ citation)

University of Kent wins 3rd place for Postgraduate Whatuni Award

The results are in for the Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs) 2018, and we are delighted that the University of Kent has been awarded 3rd place for the Postgraduate Award out of thirty-seven universities across the UK. The University of Kent climbed nine places in the postgraduate category, going from 12th place in 2017 to 3rd place in 2018. In addition to ranking in the top three in the postgraduate category, the University of Kent ranked 5th for the International Award (climbing from 8th place in 2017).

The WUSCAs celebrate the best in higher education, and universities are selected based on 36,000+ reviews submitted via by university students across the UK. The 2018 awards ceremony took place at The Brewery in London on 19 April, and the event was hosted by comedian, Katherine Ryan. The Graduate School team was delighted to be in attendance to represent the University of Kent for the Postgraduate Award nomination, and members of the International and Enrolment teams attended to represent the University for the International Award nomination.

Congratulations to the University of Kent for ranking so high in two categories of the 2018 Whatuni Awards. The Graduate School would like to particularly thank all of the members of academic and administrative staff who work to support our postgraduate and international students at Kent.

See the top three in each of the fifteen WhatUni Awards 2018 categories here, view all of the rankings and categories here and read the official Whatuni press release here.

Kent ESRC Student Wins Poster and Pecha Kucha Competition at Annual SEDTC Conference

Madeleine Hughes, a Kent ESRC student, recently won both the Poster Competition and the Pecha Kucha Competition at the annual South East DTC and SeNSS 2017 Conference on 13 July, 2017. The conference was the sixth SEDTC Conference and was held at CASS Business School (City University of London).

You can read more about the conference here.

Find out more about SeNSS here and specifically about ESRC SeNSS studentships at the University of Kent here.

Many congratulations from the Graduate School to Madeleine!