Teaching Awards: Congratulations to our nominees and shortlist!

Left to right: Dr Francisco Garcia Garcia, Dr Jeff Steynor and Dr Dimitri Mignard who were shortlisted in this year's Teaching Awards
Left to right: Dr Francisco Garcia Garcia, Dr Jeff Steynor and Dr Dimitri Mignard who were shortlisted in this year's Teaching Awards

Three of our teaching staff have been shortlisted in this year’s Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) Teaching Awards.

The Teaching Award celebrate the very best of teaching and support at the University of Edinburgh by providing students with an opportunity to nominate their teaching staff across a series of categories, from 'Supervisor of the Year' to 'Outstanding Course of the Year'. EUSA was the first students' association in the UK to offer student-led teaching awards, and the Awards are now in their 12th year. 

In total, 86 of our staff were nominated, with many receiving multiple nominations across different categories (see the full list below). We were also delighted to have more staff nominated for the Outstanding Innovation in Digital Teaching Award than any other School in the University.

A huge thank you to all students who nominated, and congratulations to all our nominees and the following staff who were shortlisted! 

Dr Francisco Garcia Garcia - Teacher of the Year (shortlisted)

Fran García is a Lecturer in Chemical Reaction Engineering. He is leading a research group working on chemical reaction engineering, which focuses on clean energy production and emission control.

Fran is passionate about teaching and communicating science. He attests that his early experience teaching science in different high schools in Spain made him understand “that each student is special and unique”.

Over his past five years working at the University of Edinburgh, Fran has been teaching Reactor Design 1, Chemical Engineering Lab 1, and Kinetics and Catalysis 3, and supervising Design Projects 4, Study Project 4, Research Project 5, Carnegie Trust Summer Projects and Careerwise Summer Projects.

What students said about Fran:

  • “Dr Garcia-Garcia is very passionate about his teaching. He put a lot of efforts in helping the students, encouraging us to learn and do better. He is very approachable and very patient at explaining the theory and to a slow learner like me, I felt very blessed to have him as my lecturer.”
  • “Francisco‏‏‎ ‎has‏‏‎ ‎been‏‏‎ ‎able‏‏‎ ‎to‏‏‎ ‎spark‏‏‎ ‎an‏‏‎ ‎interest‏‏‎ ‎in‏‏‎ ‎catalysis‏‏‎ ‎in‏‏‎ ‎me‏‏‎ ‎which‏‏‎ ‎has‏‏‎ ‎lead‏‏‎ ‎me‏‏‎ ‎to‏‏‎ ‎apply‏‏‎ ‎for‏‏‎ ‎catalysis‏‏‎ ‎internships.‏‏‎ ‎He‏‏‎ ‎sparked‏‏‎ ‎this‏‏‎ ‎interest‏‏‎ ‎by‏‏‎ ‎making‏‏‎ ‎digital‏‏‎ ‎course‏‏‎ ‎feel‏‏‎ ‎like‏‏‎ ‎you‏‏‎ ‎were‏‏‎ ‎in‏‏‎ ‎his‏‏‎ ‎classroom‏‏‎ ‎with‏‏‎ ‎his‏‏‎ ‎catalysis‏‏‎ ‎museum‏‏‎ ‎and‏‏‎ ‎made‏‏‎ ‎the‏‏‎ ‎most‏‏‎ ‎of‏‏‎ ‎the‏‏‎ ‎digital‏‏‎ ‎seminars‏‏‎ ‎by‏‏‎ ‎including‏‏‎ ‎people‏‏‎ ‎from‏‏‎ ‎industry‏‏‎ ‎which‏‏‎ ‎gives‏‏‎ ‎us‏‏‎ ‎all‏‏‎ ‎a‏‏‎ ‎valuable‏‏‎ ‎link‏‏‎ ‎to‏‏‎ ‎a‏‏‎ ‎company.”
  • “In‏‏‎ ‎general,‏‏‎ ‎it‏‏‎ ‎is‏‏‎ ‎obvious‏‏‎ ‎Fran‏‏‎ ‎cares‏‏‎ ‎about‏‏‎ ‎teaching‏‏‎ ‎and‏‏‎ ‎simply‏‏‎ ‎goes‏‏‎ ‎far‏‏‎ ‎above‏‏‎ ‎what‏‏‎ ‎is‏‏‎ ‎expected‏‏‎ ‎of‏‏‎ ‎a‏‏‎ ‎lecturer,‏‏‎ ‎introducing‏‏‎ ‎new‏‏‎ ‎concepts‏‏‎ ‎beyond‏‏‎ ‎the‏‏‎ ‎course,‏‏‎ ‎sparking‏‏‎ ‎imagination‏‏‎ ‎and‏‏‎ ‎allowing‏‏‎ ‎ideas‏‏‎ ‎to‏‏‎ ‎be‏‏‎ ‎fostered‏‏‎ ‎even‏‏‎ ‎in‏‏‎ ‎an‏‏‎ ‎online‏‏‎ ‎environment‏‏‎ ‎and‏‏‎ ‎his‏‏‎ ‎willingness‏‏‎ ‎to‏‏‎ ‎help‏‏‎ ‎has‏‏‎ ‎definitively‏‏‎ ‎helped‏‏‎ ‎me‏‏‎ ‎remain‏‏‎ ‎positive‏‏‎ ‎throughout‏‏‎ ‎my‏‏‎ ‎three ‎years‏‏‎ ‎of‏‏‎ ‎studying.‏‏‎"

Speaking of his teaching role, Fran said: “I am convinced that no significant learning can occur without any significant relationship with our student. As an educator, I am very conscious of my responsibility, as a role model for my students and support for their professional and personal development. Education is the most powerful tool we can give to future generations. It will make them free, compassionate, fair, unstoppable.”

“My early experience teaching in several high schools taught me that no significant social change can occur without engaging with students at an early stage of their education. To achieve this, I organise annual visits to different high schools where I discuss some of today’s most important scientific topics such as air quality, and sustainable energy production with students, parents, and teachers from different socio-economic backgrounds.”

Dr Jeff Steynor - Support Staff of the Year (shortlisted)

Jeff has worked at the University of Edinburgh for nearly 12 years, and is currently Project Manager and Senior Experimental Officer at FASTBLADE, a state-of-the-art composite structures research facility recently co-developed by the School of Engineering and Babcock International at a site in Rosyth.

Jeff’s career began in Bermuda, where he worked in marine construction and composites manufacturing, before he embarked on a period of travelling and eventually studied for an MEng and PhD at the University of Edinburgh – during which time he founded the Engineering Society and “strived to advance the social aspects of being an engineering student”.

In addition to his current FASTBLADE role, Jeff spends many hours a week supporting our students with extracurricular activities, research and experimental work – including projects led by our student societies HYPED, Edinburgh University Formula Student and Endeavour.

What students said about Jeff:

  • “Jeff is an absolute legend. He has selflessly donated hours of his free time to provide real, incredibly useful feedback to student societies like HYPED, Formula Student and Endeavour Rockets, often staying long past working hours to go through engineering drawings, health and safety assessments, technical requirement specifications and such. Simply put - these societies would not be where they are without his input […] If anyone deserves this award, it's Jeff: he's the paragon of integrity, friendliness, professionalism and kindness.”
  • “Jeff encourages all of us in the student led projects to be creative and critical through engineering design to prepare us for future careers in industry.”
  • “Jeff has been insanely helpful with anything that was asked of him, or even mentioned as something that the [HYPED] team is struggling with - hearing of any trouble he did not hesitate to reach out to his network to help the team. Being in the School of Engineering he aided communications and promoted improvement of processes and of management tactics that helped with the planning in this difficult year.”

Commenting on his nomination, Jeff said: “My goal over the past years working with the students is to teach them how to transfer the skills developed in their studies into tangible solutions. Being nominated has lifted my spirits and given me great joy. It has also helped me know that I have achieved my goal of helping students turn their theoretical skills into practical solutions despite the challenges presented by Covid-19.

“Reading the nominations has given me a new perspective and made me realise the profound effects that a helping hand from support staff can have on our students. I am certain that by setting a good example to our students, they too, will go on to help and support others.”

Dr Dimitri Mignard - Supervisor of the Year (shortlisted)

Dimitri has worked at the University for around 15 years, and is currently Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering. His research focuses on the conversion and storage of renewable energies, as well as on adapted approaches to desalination and irrigation for low-income countries.

Dimitri teaches on our undergraduate chemical engineering degree programmes – including courses such as Environmental Issues and Chemical Engineering Design.

He also is Fifth Year Coordinator for Chemical Engineering, which he deems to have been a “particularly critical role in the current circumstances”. In addition to that, he is the Deputy Programme Director, a personal tutor and a dissertation supervisor for the MSc in Sustainable Energy Systems.

What students said about Dimitri:

  • "Dimitri‏‏‎ ‎is‏‏‎ ‎an‏‏‎ ‎outstanding‏‏‎ ‎supervisor‏‏‎ ‎who‏‏‎ ‎cares‏‏‎ ‎about‏‏‎ ‎all‏‏‎ ‎students'‏‏‎ ‎wellbeing,‏‏‎ ‎as‏‏‎ ‎well‏‏‎ ‎as‏‏‎ ‎their‏‏‎ ‎academic‏‏‎ ‎and‏‏‎ ‎professional‏‏‎ ‎progression‏‏‎ ‎[…] He‏‏‎ ‎is‏‏‎ ‎always‏‏‎ ‎trying‏‏‎ ‎to‏‏‎ ‎help‏‏‎ ‎students‏‏‎ ‎find‏‏‎ ‎ways‏‏‎ ‎to‏‏‎ ‎manage‏‏‎ ‎their‏‏‎ ‎coursework‏‏‎ ‎while‏‏‎ ‎prioritising‏‏‎ ‎their‏‏‎ ‎mental‏‏‎ ‎health,‏‏‎ ‎and‏‏‎ ‎created‏‏‎ ‎a‏‏‎ ‎Miro‏‏‎ ‎board‏‏‎ ‎for‏‏‎ ‎our‏‏‎ ‎year‏‏‎ ‎to‏‏‎ ‎share‏‏‎ ‎our‏‏‎ ‎tips‏‏‎ ‎for‏‏‎ ‎managing‏‏‎ ‎classes,‏‏‎ ‎job‏‏‎ ‎applications‏‏‎ ‎and‏‏‎ ‎thesis‏‏‎ ‎while‏‏‎ ‎working‏‏‎ ‎from‏‏‎ ‎home.‏‏‎ ‎He‏‏‎ ‎is‏‏‎ ‎an‏‏‎ ‎excellent‏‏‎ ‎supervisor‏‏‎ ‎who‏‏‎ ‎goes‏‏‎ ‎above‏‏‎ ‎and‏‏‎ ‎beyond‏‏‎ ‎to‏‏‎ ‎support‏‏‎ ‎not‏‏‎ ‎only‏‏‎ ‎his‏‏‎ ‎supervisees,‏‏‎ ‎but‏‏‎ ‎also‏‏‎ ‎the‏‏‎ ‎entire‏‏‎ ‎class‏‏‎ ‎of‏‏‎ ‎students.”
  • “Coming from a different country to Edinburgh has been an absolutely new experience for me, the teaching method has been very different as well compared to what I am used to. [Dimitri] has been very supportive and consistent with giving me the right kind of advice I need to go through the semester, he is very quick to respond to requests and also goes the extra mile”.
  • “Actively responds to feedback and always trying to make the tutorials more engaging. Great lectures with useful quizzes to assess knowledge gained from each respective lecture. Breakout rooms to encourage collaborative work on different sections. Very enthusiastic about their course.”

Reacting to his nomination, Dimitri said: “Yippee! And many thanks. I believe that supervisors, tutors and (importantly) year coordinators can greatly help with fostering our students’ development, by providing informal mentoring at every opportunity.

“We must make our students feel valued, above the background noise of course delivery and assessment. The same goes with the staff (academic and non-academic)... How do we really do justice to our many colleagues who moved mountains this year but did not get shortlisted? I’d recommend a team approach, as I proudly share a nomination for Teacher of the Year with colleague Norbert Radacsi and our outstanding tutor Allana Lewis.”

Our nominees

Chemical Engineering

Professor Stefano Brandani

Dr Michael Chen

Dr Francisco Garcia Garcia

Dr Kevin Hanley

Dr Timm Krueger

Dr Rodrigo Ledesma Aguilar

Dr Mauro Luberti

Dr Dimitri Mignard

Dr Chris Ness

Dr Daniel Oregon Mantecon

Dr Norbert Radacsi

Dr Santiago Romero-Vargas Castrillon

Dr Jennifer Skilling

Dr Ignacio Tudela-Montes

Professor Prashant Valluri

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr Athanasios Angeloudis

Dr Christopher Beckett

Professor Luke Bisby

Dr Ricky Carvel

Dr Antonis Giannopoulos

Dr Rory Hadden

Dr Zeynep Karatza

Dr Angus Law

Professor Yong Lu

Professor Jin Ooi

Dr Stefanos Papanicolopulos

Dr Tom Reynolds

Dr David Rush

Dr Simon Smith

Electronics and Electrical Engineering

Professor Tughrul Arslan

Dr Danial Chitnis

Professor Tim Drysdale

Dr Javier Escudero

Dr Istvan Gyongy

Dr Philip Hands

Professor Robert Henderson

Dr Jiabin Jia

Dr David Laurenson

Dr Chang Liu

Dr Filippo Menolascina

Dr Michael Merlin

Dr Nick Polydorides

Dr Wasiu Popoola

Dr Majid Safari

Dr Jonathan Shek

Dr Stewart Smith

Dr Adam Stokes

Professor John Thompson

Professor Ian Underwood

Dr Gary Wells

Mechanical Engineering

Dr Parvez  Alam

Professor Tom Bruce

Dr Katherine Dunn

Dr Anna Garcia Teruel

Dr Livio Gibelli

Dr Wang Han

Dr Ignazio Maria Viola

Dr Francisca Martinez-Hergueta

Dr Rohit Pillai

Dr Filipe Teixeira-Dias

Dr Harry Van der Weijde


Konstantinos Bantounos

Franziska BößL

Colin Anderson

Lucia Bandiera

Radu Bucurel

Ella Handley

Rutger Kok

David Kong

Mennatallah Labib

Allana Lewis

Danijela Stankovic

Filip Taneski

Samuel Thompson

Rahmat Ullah

Muhammad Waqas

Eduardo Rosales Ortega

Support staff

Dr Katherine Cameron

Laura Koo

Alasdair Christie

Elsie Dent

Dr Andy Firth

Deborah Fowlis

Iain Gold

Dr Jeffrey Steynor

Matt Vickers