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2016 Winners

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated in our 2016 Staff Awards!

All shortlisted staff were invited to a celebratory gala dinner on Friday 11 March, sponsored by Warwick Conferences and Warwick Print, where the overall winners were announced.


With over 350 nominations made across the University, we'd like to say a huge thank you to all those staff who took the time to make nominations to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions of their colleagues! For a full list of nominated staff, please see our long-list and short-list of nominees.


Find out who won and who was highly commended, and hear from the colleagues who nominated the winners about what made them stand out. It was a fantastic night and congratulations to all involved.

Outstanding Contribution

Winners: Saul Jacka, Professor (Statistics) and Nicola Hunt, University Events Manager (External Affairs)

Heads of Department in Statistics have always turned to Saul for advice on teaching, research and administrative strategy. He listens carefully, offers constructive suggestions and is willing to find time to implement some of those suggestions. In the last year, senior University staff have requested more of Saul’s time, and have benefited from his flexible support. Saul has benefited staff within the University and beyond. He has also continued research, and supervision of four research students. Saul’s research output is well beyond the mathematics expectation of one article per year, despite his substantial administrative and leadership contribution."

Nicola has been an exemplary colleague over the last two years. As University Events manager and Project Manager for the 50th Anniversary, last year was definitely her year to shine. Using her experience of managing a wide variety of events, she has steered both the Events and 50th Anniversary teams to deliver outstanding contributions to the University’s externally facing events and 50th celebrations. She has done this with determination to succeed, integrity and inner strength, calmness in a crisis, support for all team members and a sense of humour. Not to mention the emergency chocolate tin on her desk!"

Highly Commended:
Sue Thorn, Director of CareersPlus (WBS) and Russell Boyatt, Senior Academic Technologist (IT Services)

Student Experience

Winners: Justin Greaves, Senior Teaching Fellow (Politics and International Studies) and Rashida Mohamed, Undergraduate Secretary (Physics)

Justin’s contributions to PAIS are ultimately recognised by students and staff as being exceptionally significant in promoting the student experience. He is a true ambassador for making Warwick as supportive and enjoyable as possible for students. Justin’s approachability makes him accessible to students from when they join right through to when they graduate. Throughout their degrees, students appreciate Justin’s determination to ensure that the department is delivering, overcoming any boundaries that arise. He is passionate about developing students and always seeks to collaborate."

Rashida, as the secretary in the undergraduate office in the physics department, is the first point of contact for all our students. Her sense of duty goes well beyond what is expected of a secretary, and is greatly appreciated by all. Staff are completely reliant on her availability throughout the teaching term, often from very early in the morning. Rashida goes out of her way to help staff that deliver teaching, and engages with our students in a reassuring fashion, fully contributing to the positive experience they have at Warwick.

Highly Commended: Zahra Newby, Associate Professor (Reader) (Classics and Ancient History)

Research Excellence

Winner: Don Pollacco, Professor (Physics)

Don Pollacco is an outstanding astrophysicist and planet hunter hoping to answer the question “Do other Earths exist?” His WASP project is by far the most successful ground based detection facility and, in 2010, he received the Royal Astronomical Society Team Award for having discovered over 100 transiting planets. SuperWASP followed, as did Don’s Next Generation Transit Survey. This project, based in Chile, concentrates on much smaller Earth-like planets. Now the European Space Agency has selected the PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars mission to launch in 2024, with Don as Mission Science Coordinator. This means Don will extend his planet searching to a dedicated space-based telescope."

Simplify, Collaborate Deliver

Winner: The Salto Strategy and Change Delivery team (Nick Dalton, Wendy Roberts, Diane Sergeant, Jane Wilson, Matthew Scott, Jill Grant, Ben Pithouse, Kevin Edwards, Alan Warwood Steve Poynter, Justin Gill, Lee Cartwright, Andrew Derby, James Farrow, Natalie Hurdwell, Simon Oke, Adrian Gurney, Gareth McConnell)

This is a first class example of collaboration across many university departments delivering real change and significant financial benefits. The team challenged the existing configuration of the SALTO system, in terms of its complexity. The reason for the project’s success is that all the key stakeholders came together as a group and worked collaboratively to suggest a way forward."

Highly Commended: Kathryn Balanescu, Head of Finance Projects (Finance Office)

Community Contribution

Winners: Rachel Moseley and Helen Wheatley, Associate Professors (Film and Television Studies) (joint winners)

Dr Moseley and Dr Wheatley have developed a new collaborative relationship with The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, one of the University’s major regional partners in the cultural sector. Both worked on a major exhibition documenting the history of children’s television in Britain that has led to significant economic and cultural impact in the local community. Last year’s exhibition was widely publicised and exceptionally well-attended. This initiative shows how specialised research at Warwick can translate into a major cultural collaboration at a local level. Such work encourages the emergence of new dialogue between academia and the local community."

Highly Commended: Nick Barker, Senior Teaching Fellow (Chemistry) and Peter Corvi, Professorial Teaching Fellow (WBS)

Global Contribution

Winner: Suzanne Frey-Kupper, Associate Professor (Reader) (Classics and Ancient History)

Suzanne operates on a global stage. She’s put numismatics at Warwick onto the world map through publications and research collaborations which span three continents. Her international leadership is establishing Warwick as an influential centre for the development of numismatic teaching. Suzanne’s personal international reputation and contacts work to the benefit of our students, as she’s creating new opportunities for our student body to pursue studies abroad."

Highly Commended: Cathy Fawcett, Postgraduate Recruitment and Marketing Manager (WMG);
Shirin Rai, Professor (Politics and International Studies) and Sarah Hodges, Associate Professor (History) (jointly highly commended)

Outstanding Team

Winners: The Initial Teacher Education team (Centre for Professional Education) (all team members)

Initial teacher education teams were judged outstanding in all aspects by OFSTED in November 2015; the highest grade in the OFSTED inspection framework. The team trained over 400 new teachers mainly working in local schools and 100% of trainees made a good or outstanding contribution to pupil progress in the final placements. The teams also achieved 96% overall satisfaction in the PTES 2015 survey; amongst the highest in the University and the biggest improvement since 2014. The team will also be leading on the Erasmus + project, to develop Teacher Education policy in the EU with Universities in Holland, Sweden and Austria."

Highly Commended: Security Services team (all officers) and the NTD Modelling Consortium team (Dr Deirdre Hollingsworth, Hajnal Farkas, Prof Matt Keeling, Dr Kat Rock, Dr Ron Crump Dr Mike Irvine, Dr Orin Courtenay, Dr Lloyd Chapman, Dr Louise Dyson, Dr Sarah Jervis, Stephanie Caven, Helen Reynolds)

Inspirational Leadership

Winner: Kevin Neailey, Professorial Teaching Fellow (WMG)

Kevin Neailey is an exceptional communicator who is able to motivate and influence others. He always knows the right questions to ask and listens very carefully to answers. In this way Kevin really understands the root cause of an issue and is able to offer sound guidance. Kevin is also exceptionally organised and analytical, applying logical thinking to complex situations. Consequently Kevin is also a confident decision maker. He’s also quick to champion his team’s efforts and achievements appropriately and meaningfully. However, he is himself modest and works incredibly hard to achieve the calm, crisp authority which seems to come naturally to him."

Highly Commended: James Bell, Duty Manager (Warwick Conference Park and Events) and David Lees, Teaching Fellow (Modern Languages)

Unsung Hero

Winners: Val Biggs, Awards and Ceremonies Coordinator (Academic Office); Jacqui Carroll, Food and Drink Assistant, (Warwick Retail) and Chris Veal, Research Development Manager (Maths, RIS)

In her 17 years at Warwick, Val has been a constant, marking the turn of the academic cycle. Val has remained a reassuring presence amidst the whirlwind of chaos that are degree congregations. Val has exceeded anything that could be expected of her. She has led from a position of knowledge and her approach has proven infectious. She’s helped ensure every student is guided through the process of celebrating study success through increasingly successful graduation ceremonies."

Early every morning, colleagues are often greeted by Jacqui, who is invariably warm, positive, and engaging both then and throughout the day. Jacqui does much more than serve food and drink: she shows us all how we should approach the day! Despite Jacqui’s very pressurised role, she is able to maintain her positivity and provide the best possible service at all times. She’s an example for us all to follow, and also an excellent role model for our students."

Chris Veal is Research Development Manager in Mathematics and his value as a colleague is reflected in the unanimous support he has received for this prestigious award. Chris is a powerhouse of knowledge for research grant writing. Importantly however, he is delighted to share this knowledge with staff in the most generous and unassuming manner. His contributions never go unnoticed, whether he’s helping new academics prepare their first grant submission or fine tuning a doctoral training grant for a seasoned professional. Indeed, having gone through Chris’s meticulous ‘peer review’, proposals are usually vastly improved and funded."

Highly Commended: Michelle Cooke, Clerical Assistant (HR); Adrian Seymour, Buildings and Facilities Manager (Engineering) and Mitzi Ward, Postgraduate Scholarships Officer (Academic Office)

Public Engagement

Winner: The Festivals Delivery team: Pam Thomas (Physics), Nicola Hunt (External Affairs), Ruth Cooper (Computer Science), Ally Caldecote (Physics), Claire Rocks (Computer Science), Matt Teft (PG Student), Emily Little (External Affairs), Christine Fearn (External Affairs), Nathalie Pattison (External Affairs), Barbara Drew (External Affairs), Laura Anderson (External Affairs)

The activities planned for the anniversary celebrations were designed to have public engagement at their heart, to bring people together, and to engage with key stakeholders. Festival of the Imagination facilitated an opportunity for over 450 staff and postgraduate students to engage with the public. The marquee at Cheltenham Science Festival involved over 120 University members. Warwick worked together with Cheltenham Festivals to maximise opportunities for our academics to showcase their expertise, and give profile to the University. The role of the 50th team was to create, facilitate and maximise these and other opportunities, which they did to great effect."

Highly Commended: Deborah Griggs, Research Portfolio Development Manager, WMS and Jane Hutton, Professor, Statistics

If you're interested in being involved in the 2017 Staff Awards, or have any feedback on the 2016 awards, please contact

"I think it’s really vital to get people involved in the wider community and one of the ways to do that is to recognise effort and achievement – and the Awards are a very good way to do that. It’s a very pleasant experience to work for such a friendly institution and this is one way of encouraging that friendliness."

Saul Jacka

"It’s fantastic to have a night like tonight to celebrate the achievements of all those people who go above and beyond to ensure we do fantastic things at Warwick for all our students and staff. That recognition - it really makes a difference to how people feel – please do nominate next year!" Justin Greaves

"It was an absolute honour to be nominated, let alone to win the award. I wanted to win it for the department. I wasn't expecting it at all - thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing me!"
Rashida Mohamed

"I was absolutely astounded to be nominated. I've been here for three years and each year has been really good and gets stronger all the time. This is fantastic!"
Don Pollacco

"A lot of hard work went into this project and this is the culmination of a lot of effort for a lot of teams. It’s a great example of people working together across the University, from a range of departments - it’s a pleasure to be part of it."
SALTO Strategy and Change Delivery team

"Thank you very much for this award and thank you to all the people we worked with at the Herbert, the BBC, Kaleidoscope, the Children's Media foundation and Lincoln and Glasgow Universities. And huge thanks to Hugh Jones and Annie Wells – our main collaborators at the Herbert who made us look wonderful by doing a fantastic job!"
Helen Wheatley and Rachel Moseley

"It’s fantastic – what a validation – it feels like a whole University recognition of something we do as a fairly small team, but that has a huge impact. It feels great!"
CPE team

"It's very surprising to win this award. I basically do my job. It's very humbling to have this recognition."
Kevin Neailey

"I feel very privileged, honoured and proud. Just being nominated was wonderful, but to win the award as well is a very big honour.
A very big thank from the bottom of my heart. I really appreciate it!"
Jacqui Carroll