Awards for Excellence in Doctoral Research Supervision

About the Awards

These awards recognise and reward outstanding supervision of doctoral researchers.  As a research-intensive university, Birmingham is committed to carrying out research that is world-leading in terms of its originality and distinctiveness, significance and rigour. The awards recognise the significant contribution made by academic supervisors to the successful completion of high-class doctoral research at the University.

Nominations are now open for the Excellence in Doctoral Research Awards.

You can download the guidance notes here and the nomination form here.

A panel from each College will create a shortlist, and five winners will be selected - one for each College - by a University level judging panel. The winners will be announced at the annual University Graduate School Awards Event in June. Each winner will receive a prize of £100 to support their research. 

Congratulations to the 2018 winners:

  • College of Arts and Law - Dr Erin Sullivan
  • College of Social Sciences - Professor John Bryson
  • College of Engineering and Physical Sciences - Dr Michael Burrows
  • College of Life and Environmental Sciences - Dr Julie Christian
  • College of Medical and Dental Sciences - Dr Emma Frew

Guidance Notes

 Who can make nominations?

Current and previous PhD researchers and academic members of staff.

Who is eligible to be nominated?

Any current Birmingham academic member of staff who supervises candidates on PhD programmes. They must have supervised at least two students to completion at the University of Birmingham. It is not possible to self-nominate for the award.

How do I make a nomination?

Before submitting a nomination, the person being nominated must have given permission. Forms where the supervisor has not given permission will not be accepted.

Nominations must have been made on the standard nomination form.

Please fill out all sections of the form and remember to include the supporting statements, including a statement of support from the Head of School. The statements should demonstrate how the nominated person meets or exceeds the judging criteria below.


 Judging Criteria

The University expects all of its supervisors to support their doctoral researchers to achieve the following:

  • initiate and plan a research project, where appropriate
  • understand the societal, political and economic context in which the research is conducted
  • acquire the skills and knowledge to undertake research and gain adequate access to resources
  • submit a high quality thesis on time
  • be successful in examination
  • disseminate the results appropriately and to develop the communication skills to do so
  • develop self-motivation, self-reliance and independence
  • lay the basis for their future career.

It would expect that an excellent supervisor would be outstanding in most or all of the following:

  • an interest in, and enthusiasm for, supervising and supporting doctoral researchers
  • the ability to recruit and select good candidates and establish effective working relationships with them and, where appropriate, with co- supervisors
  • the ability to offer appropriate support to doctoral researchers’ projects, including encouraging and supporting them to write up their work, giving useful and prompt feedback on submitted work, advising on keeping the project on track, and monitoring progress
  • a concern to support the personal, professional, and career development of doctoral researchers
  • an ability to support doctoral researchers through the processes of completion of their thesis and final examination
  • an ability to critically evaluate their practice as supervisors and, where appropriate, disseminate it.

When filling out your nomination, please ensure you have shown evidence for how the supervisor fulfils these criteria. 

What happens next?

The shortlisted forms will be judged by College panels before being forwarded to the University Graduate School, where a University level judging panel will select one winner from each College. The winners will be announced at the University Graduate School Awards Event in June.

If you have any questions about the process, please email