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Postdoctoral Development Centre

EPS nominees

Winners

Dr Jiajia Liu (Research award)

School of Mathematics and Physics

"It is my great pleasure to nominate Dr. Jiajia Liu from the Astrophysics Research Centre (ARC) for the PDC Research Prize. Jiajia’s research falls under the general area of solar physics and space weather and over the last year he has asserted himself as one of the leading post-doctoral researchers world-wide. With more than 40 publications in total, Jiajia has published 7 research papers in prestigious peer-reviewed journals (including Nature Astronomy as lead author) since he joined ARC as a Research Fellow in May 2020. Widely recognised among the international community, Jiajia has been awarded the International Alexander Chizhevsky Medal and elected as a member of the UK Solar Physics Council. Jiajia has demonstrated his outstanding leadership by being invited to serve as a member of the Medal Committee of the European Space Weather Week (ESWW), becoming a reviewer for the Office of Astronomy for Development of the International Astronomical Union, organising and convening an RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting, and becoming an invited Guest Editor for high-profile international journals (including Frontiers in Stellar and Solar Physics). He has established a strong and successful network of collaborations with scientists from more than 20 institutes across the UK, Europe, USA and China."

Dr Matthew Streeter (Citizenship and outreach award)

School of Mathematics and Physics

"I am delighted to recommend Matthew for the ‘Citizenship and outreach’ award.  Since joining in June 2020 he has worked to build community within the research centre which had been lacking in the virtual world.  This made a huge difference in combatting isolation amongst PhD students and to the integration of new students.  Specific actions include the initiation of a biweekly journal club with a discussive and open environment, which has really helped the first year PhD students build a broader awareness of research and encouraged critical assessment helping students to develop their own writing.  In addition, Matthew started a virtual seminar series and has hosted internationally renowned researchers from a range of sub-disciplines providing opportunities for students to connect with researchers beyond QUB.  Matthew also set-up a Wiki to share information through the research centre, e.g. ‘how-to’s for running simulations.  This centralised information source is very valuable in particular to new members trying to get started. Beyond citizenship, the nominee was instrumental in initiating a public outreach competition for school students, STEM Photography, which is now being expanded for summer 2021. All this is on-top of contributions to supervision of PhD students, and a central role multiple experimental collaborations."

Dr Sungkwon Yoon (Support award)

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

"Over the past year, Dr Sungkwon Yoon has provided exceptional support to the management of the advanced polymer research laboratory. He assisted with the requisition, collection and arrangement of laboratory consumables and equipment items, to help shape our newly opened laboratory. He acted as the contact point for the laboratory when the School was implementing Covid-19 health and safety protocols in all laboratories. His contributions extended over the academic and social life of our research group. He helped supervise two PhD projects. He trained new PhD students on polymer synthesis and assisted in day-to-day activities in the laboratory. He was always ready to share his extensive knowledge of polymers and biomaterials with other group members. Furthermore, he has remained highly active and diligent on his own research project. He has made excellent progress on the project, which is highly appraised by the funder. We are expecting further contributions from him to take this project forward. This nomination, thus, acknowledges Dr Yoon’s significant support to the management of the polymer laboratory and the work and life of our research group."

Highly commended

Commendations were made by the judging panel for categories with higher numbers of nominations.

Dr Andrew Swann (Support award)

School of Mathematics and Physics

"Dr Andrew Swann has been a stalwart of teaching in the School of Mathematics and Physics for the last few years, contributing significantly beyond his remit. For the previous three years he has undertaken large numbers of L1 Mathematics tutorials, and delivered one half of the L3 Mathematics module AMA3003 ‘Tensor Field Theory’, including examination duties. Andrew’s exceptional teaching has been recognised by consistently high TEQs scores, typically ~4.9/5, contributing to correspondingly high MEQs of ~4.8--4.9/5 for successive years. 

Following shortlisting for this award last year, he has excelled further. Our S2 module was delivered online. Andrew and I, conscious of the disconnect facing students working from home, successfully applied to the EPS Connected Learning Fund for £2,000 to develop a `Lightboard’. A working prototype was constructed for the EPS and was available to use in MAP from Dec. 2020.  

Student anonymous questionnaires overwhelmingly praised the lightboard delivery in AMA3003: example lightboard video from Andrew: https://youtu.be/lP13Vgxzwy4. All students said that they felt most connected in this module, and a significant number of students stated that it was better than face-to-face lectures! I have no doubt that it contributed to raising the NSS scores provided by the students in the module."

All nominees

Research award

Brian Cunningham (School of Mathematics and Physics)
Jiajia Liu (School of Mathematics and Physics)
Prashant Kamble (School of Natural and Built Environment)

Support award

Andrew Swann (School of Mathematics and Physics)
Aodhan McIlvenny (School of Mathematics and Physics)
Bronagh Millar (School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)
Nathan Skillen (School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering)
Sungkwon Yoon (School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) - 4 nominations

Citizenship and Outreach award

Matthew Streeter (School of Mathematics and Physics)