Prof Christl Donnelly is one of the recipients of the inaugural MPLS Awards for Outstanding Research Supervision. This new annual awards scheme celebrates those who demonstrate leadership and best practice by nurturing and supporting research colleagues in their role as DPhil supervisors or research group leaders.

Professor Donnelly is the Head of Department of Statistics and Professor of Applied Statistics. Her research expertise is in infectious disease epidemiology and control, real-time outbreak analysis and response, disease transmission dynamics, and the interface between science and policy.

She was recognised in the nominations for the great induction she offers for new members of her group, where she introduces them to their role and the department, answers any questions they have, and then takes them on a short walking tour of Oxford. Her nominators comment on the care she shows for both professional and personal matters, through the COVID pandemic and various issues team members have faced. In the work context she doesn’t direct research as much as guide it, and she encourages researchers to be independent by pursuing their own interests.  

Research is one of the pillars of the university life. As a research team, we learn together and gain a collective understanding. It is an honour to supervise such talented and hard-working students and postdocs.

Prof Christl Donnelly

Christl was recognised for her ‘open and engaged’ approach to meetings, and her non-judgemental approach to any perceived “stupid questions”. The feedback she gives on work is described as kind, supportive, prompt and thorough. She also finds opportunities for her research students to develop themselves. One researcher was enabled to work with their academic hero, for example, and another to work on the MPLS Science Together programme. She celebrates the achievements of the group by highlighting its successes to everyone involved, and she arranges enjoyable social events to bring people together. According to one nomination she goes above and beyond as a supervisor.

Read more about the award and the other winners.

She is living proof that you can be successful whilst also lifting up others and I aspire to follow in her footsteps.