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The award seeks to recognise outstanding supervision and exemplary supervisors who support the academic progress and wellbeing of their students throughout their postgraduate journey.

In February 2022, Council approved a new Award for Excellence in Supervision of Research Students, aligned with the strategic goals of continuous enhancement of teaching and learning, and standing up for research.

The award aims to acknowledge the important role that supervisors play in the success of their postgraduate students and rewards a culture of excellence in supervision in Trinity by recognising the significant contribution supervisors make to College’s teaching and research mission. The award also acknowledges the contribution of supervisors who support students in difficult situations.

Who can nominate a supervisor?

We are delighted to announce the award scheme for 2022-23 and welcome the nominations from:

  • Current or former doctoral candidates who are/were directly supervised (i.e., as primary or co-supervisor) by the nominee.
  • Directors of Teaching and Learning (PG) within the School.
  • Academic staff members from within the School or Discipline.

At least one nomination must be received and supervisors cannot self-nominate for the award. The deadline to nominate a supervisor was Friday, 3rd February 2023 at 5pm.

Who is eligible to be nominated for the award?

  • All current Trinity staff members who are or who have been primary supervisors of a student on the PhD register may be considered for nomination. To be eligible candidates must (a) have supervised at least one PhD student to completion in Trinity, (i.e., the final version of the thesis has been approved by Council) and (b) must be eligible under Calendar regulations to be primary supervisors. Candidates may also have supervised other research students, but these do not replace the requirement for supervision of at least one PhD student through to completion in Trinity.
  • Two categories of awards are proposed: one for early-career supervisors (i.e., those who have supervised no more than two PhD students through to completion in a primary supervisor role, one of whom registered in Trinity; the second candidate may have been in Trinity or in another university) and one for those with more extensive opportunities to develop their supervision skills, either in Trinity or in other universities (established researcher supervisor category).
  • Previously unsuccessful applicants are eligible for re-nomination.
  • Award winners will not be eligible for re-nomination for the same category of award for a period of 10 years.

The Process

  1. An invitation to nominate will be sent from the Dean of Graduate Studies to all staff and students and where possible, relevant alumni, including former PhD students (in the week commencing 23rd January 2023).
  2. Students/Staff/alumni who wish to nominate a supervisor submit to the Dean of Graduate Studies a [200-300] word nomination addressing the following question: Why you have nominated this supervisor and what makes their supervision outstanding? in relation to at least three of the assessment criteria listed below. This component will account for a maximum score of 10 in the final application review process (the deadline to nominate supervisors is Friday, 3rd February at 5 pm).
  3. Once all nominations have been reviewed for eligibility and completeness, each Head of School and the relevant Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) will be sent the list of candidates from that School for whom eligible nominations have been received (by 5 pm on Monday, 20th February 2023). Should either the Head of School or the DTLP be nominated, they should indicate whether or not they wish to proceed and if so, should nominate a replacement who will undertake management of the remainder of the review process. Heads of School are encouraged to share the nominations with supervisors who have been nominated.
  4. Nominated candidates who are eligible for the award will be invited by the Dean of Graduate Studies to submit a statement (max 1,000 words) to their Head of School, outlining/evidencing their achievements in relation to the agreed assessment criteria. The statements must be received by Heads of School by 12 pm on Monday 13th March 2023. Candidates in the Early Career category can select three or four of the six criteria listed below to showcase their achievements. Early Career applications will be marked out of a total of 60 (noting some criteria are weighted at 20 and others at 10). Candidates in the Established Research category should provide evidence of their achievements in each domain listed and will be marked out of a total of 110. (Note, the score from the initial nomination will be added subsequently to this total).
  5. Where appropriate and where not already included, Heads of School (or the Director of Teaching and Learning, Postgraduate, as deemed appropriate) may invite students of nominees to indicate their support for a nomination.
  6. Each School will convene a panel that should include at a minimum the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate), a student nominee and at least one other member to review the applications and consider them in light of the assessment criteria, as well the nominee’s contribution to supervision in the wider context of the School. Where the DTLP is a nominee, another academic member of staff should be appointed to the review panel. Similarly, if a Head of School is nominated, and wishes to proceed, a nominee should be appointed to the review panel. In all instances, care should be taken to ensure that there is no conflict of interest represented within the panel.
  7. Based on their deliberations, the internal review panel will nominate one supervisor for consideration for shortlisting for the Faculty award in each category. This candidate will be considered to have achieved the School award for Excellence in Supervision of Research Students.
  8. The Head of School or Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) will provide a one-page letter of support for the chosen candidate (max word count, 500 words) and this, along with the candidate’s statement, will be returned to Academic Practice by 5 pm on Friday 21st April 2023 to be included in the next stage of University-level award review.
  9. A University-level judging panel will be convened to review and select final award recipients, allocating at least one award per Faculty. The winners will be notified in the week commencing 15th May 2023. All nominees will receive a certificate of Excellence in Research Student Supervision.

What are the characteristics of Excellence in Research Supervision?

The award scheme seeks to recognise achievement across the various dimensions of excellence in supervision. Supervisors will be assessed on agreed criteria and the panel will award the supervisor who has evidenced the most outstanding achievement/composite result in relation to the criteria, with one award per Faculty.

The qualities and characteristics of a good supervisor include:

  • Passion and commitment to supervision.
  • Support of candidates to manage progress towards timely completion of their thesis and success in their final examination.
  • Support of personal, professional, and career development of doctoral researchers:
  • Personal: Prioritisation of students’ needs, wellbeing, welfare:
    • Respects and supports students as individuals.
    • Willing to spend time and effort to support students.
    • Responsive to problems raised, within a sensitive time frame.
  • Professional: Fostering student success in research:
    • Supports the development of candidates' research skills, promoting excellence and encouraging innovation and engagement in research.
    • Supports students to reflect critically on the societal impact of their research.
    • Supports doctoral researchers to disseminate the results of their research appropriately.
  • Career: Fostering student success in their profession:
    • Supports and encourages students’ career development.
    • Supports the acquisition of transversal skills and graduate attributes.
  • Engagement in formal supervision development opportunities and/or contribution to the development of supervisory practices by others within the University, or nationally or internationally.
  • An ability to critically evaluate their practice as supervisors and, where appropriate, support dissemination of examples of good practice in supervision.

2021-22 Excellence in Supervision of Research Students Award Winners

The first awards ceremony was hosted by the Provost on June 30th, 2022. The University-level judging panel selected the following overall winners:

1. Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Main category: Joint award - Professor Olive Healy and Professor Gillian Wylie
  • Early career category: Professor Joseph Roche
2. Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Main category: Professor Lidia Tajber
  • Early career category: Professor Gareth Brady
3. Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • Main category: Professor Anna Davies
  • Early career category: Professor Susan P. Murphy

The Timeline

What are the assessment criteria for the award?

  • Evidence of significant and sustained contribution to research student supervision within the School, appropriate to career stage, for example through (20 marks):
    • Mentoring of staff new to supervision.
    • Involvement in and contribution to supervisor workshops and training.
    • Impact of research activities on research training and supervision.
    • Development of policies and programmes to enhance the postgraduate community and the quality of the environment for postgraduate research.
  • (Sustained) contribution to an ethos of excellence, inclusion, and equity for research students within the School and the university, engaging students in the broader intellectual life of the discipline and university and a pioneering approach to supervision (above and beyond that expected of any good supervisor). (20 marks)
  • Track record in supporting student success in research development and thesis completion, through evidence of (20 marks)
    • Effective feedback and critical advice, challenging students intellectually and helping them to make substantial contributions to their academic field.
    • Encouragement of creativity, innovation and engagement in research.
    • Reflection on societal impact.
    • Effective support for students at all stages in the PhD, enabling timely completion.
  • Track record in fostering student success, through supporting students’ career development and acquisition of transversal skills through activities such as involving students in research networks and conferences and mentoring students in their career development following completion of their research degree. (10 marks)
  • Evidence of commitment to personal needs of students, particularly in relation to wellbeing and welfare, as evidenced through: (20 marks)
    • Respect and support for students as individuals.
    • Willingness to spend time and effort to support students.
    • Responsive to challenges experienced by students.
  • Evidence of commitment to ongoing development of supervision skills through reflective practice and engagement in formal supervision development opportunities; or contribution to the development of supervisory practices by others within the University, or nationally or internationally. (10 marks)
  • Original nomination. (10 marks)

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