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Posted on 15 Aug '23

Who’s Judging our 2023 Postgrad Awards?

This year, we’re celebrating stand-out contributions to student wellbeing and widening participation through the commercial category of our Postgrad Awards. Our judges are hard at work assessing the four shortlisted initiatives for our Outstanding Contribution to Postgraduate Support and Wellbeing Category, and we’re excited to announce the winner in September!

For now, we thought we’d give some insight into who’s judging this year’s awards, and how they’re making the all-important decision.

The judges

Up first is Jennifer Wilkinson, Director of Student Recruitment & Business Development at London Metropolitan University.

We were particularly keen to work with Jennifer on judging our Postgrad Awards because of her specialist knowledge of widening participation. She has played a major role in a joint initiative between London Metropolitan University and historically Black institutions in the USA to improve the experience of minority students on campus. She’s excited to be part of “an amazing opportunity for unsung heroes in the sector to be celebrated and thanked for their efforts”.

Reena Kaur is a Student Recruitment and Access Officer at Keele University. Her recent MA research focused on the underrepresentation of ethnic minority students in postgraduate study, meaning she is also well-qualified to assess the merits of our shortlisted widening participation campaigns!

She hopes that the awards will spark "new ideas and conversations in the postgraduate sphere" and inspire all the wonderful campaigns and initiatives to come.

Rob Hardwick is Head of Innovation and Skills and BBSRC. With a PhD and five years as a postdoctoral researcher under his belt, Rob is no stranger to the postgraduate community!

He now helps the BBSRC fund the most impactful research in bioscience by overseeing its investments into doctoral training. He believes the value of the Postgrad Awards lies in “showing that positive actions and behaviours are valid” and setting a strong example for others in the community to follow.

Head of Education at SMRS, Dan Beynon, is an expert in helping universities deliver marketing campaigns and strategic consultancy projects with a big impact. He is well-placed to assess the real-world changes that universities are driving with their wellbeing and widening participation initiatives!

Finally, our very own Director of Marketing, Sarah Linington, joins the judging panel for the first time. Sarah has over 15 years’ experience in higher education and has been integral to providing students with the resources they need to find their ideal postgraduate programme since joining FindAUniversity in 2012.

She believes the awards can play a crucial role in “thanking those whose innovative support initiatives ensure that there is equal, fair and supportive access to postgraduate education for all” as well as raising the profile of postgraduate study across the wider sector.

The process

Our panel leaves no stone unturned in judging all the fantastic shortlisted candidates across our award categories.

We share the full nominations with everyone and allow them to provide individual scores on three main criteria:

  • How clear was the description of the campaign?
  • How well did it demonstrate the impact on postgraduate students?
  • How does the additional evidence included support the nomination?

The judges also share their comments and discuss any close scores or particularly interesting nuggets from the shortlist. We’re always keen to celebrate all the achievements which go above and beyond!

This gets shared with the Events team who review all the judges’ comments and scores. The campaign with the highest score out of 30 will become a 2023 Postgrad Awards winner! In the unlikely event of a tie, it's back to the judges for a round of voting to decide who'll clinch the prize.

We’re excited to announce our Postgrad Award winners next month. Keep an eye on our Linkedin and subscribe to our Pulse newsletter to be the first to know!

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