VC Awards
Guests in Hall 1

Previous winners

The Awards have run annually since 2018

Virtual Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Excellence

Watch as the Vice-Chancellor celebrates excellence in this annual award ceremony, delivered virtually for the first time for 2020.

Harriet Dunbar-Morris Welcome, everybody, to the Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Excellence. I'd like to hand over to the Vice-Chancellor. 

Graham Galbraith Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to this event of celebration: the Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Excellence. And I hope you know who I am but if you don't I'm Graham Galbraith and I'm Vice-Chancellor of this fantastic University. 

Graham Galbraith And of course, what's really great is the fact that our teaching is recognised as gold-rated by Government. And of course, we know we are ambitious and we are successful. And what's important is our strong values and commitment to doing the very best for our students and our wider community. And but, you know, success can only happen because of dedicated staff and because of the hard work of colleagues throughout the University. And this COVID pandemic has demonstrated to me just how committed my colleagues are across the University for making things work well for our students and to carry on in these difficult times through our research and other activities. 

Graham Galbraith Now, this is the third year that we've had these awards. And of course, this is all about celebration of our students and staff who have made an exceptional contribution to the University and to the community through their creativity, passion and exceptional skills. But it's very strange times that we're in. And, you know, it's very strange celebrating in this way, I suppose. And we have been a bit later this year, I suppose, hoping that maybe the pandemic would magic away and we'd be able to it in person. But that's not been the case. So despite the circumstances that we're in, I think it's really important that we do take the time to celebrate together, even if we can't be in person to do that. 

Graham Galbraith I think the great thing about these awards is the fact that they are drawn from individuals who have been nominated by University staff and students and members of the community. And that's good because it's like our peers saying these are the individuals who have done outstanding things. And so it's good that we're recognising those outstanding achievements today. And we have today 7 awards and 4 commendations and they will be given out to well-deserving teams and individuals. So I'm really grateful to be here today with you and to acknowledge the impressive contribution that you all have made towards the success of the University. So I'll now handover to Harriet, Dean of Learning and Teaching and chair of the awards panel to guide us through the ceremony. Thank you. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris Thank you, Graham. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris So as chair of the awards panel, I can say we really did find out about some excellent work going on across the University community. And it was quite difficult to whittle down the nominations and arrive at these final awards and commendations. I'd also like to let you know if you hadn't noticed, that the event is being recorded and will be shared externally. So if you're uncomfortable with that, please do feel free to turn off your camera, although it is lovely to see those who have kept their cameras on. If you could also change your settings to 'speaker view' to make sure that you can see us as we award each of the awards, that would be great. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris I'm delighted today that we are celebrating the good work of 4 recipients of Vice-Chancellor's Commendations for Excellence and highlighting them in this Roll of Honour. And I'd like you to join me in recognising and celebrating the following recipients. Perhaps you could use in Zoom one of the reactions buttons and show your appreciation through that as I give you a little bit of information about each one of the recipients. And that will be the same when we come to the award winners. And many of you will have, if you can see this in my hand, a glass, the award winners and the commendations have received this in the post. If you could raise your glasses, that would be great. I won't do that because I've got to do a lot of sharing screen buttons. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris So. I'd like you to hear about, first of all, Raben Aytas, Jamelia Brown, Theodore Entwistle, Georgia Olley and Jessica Ware. Five students who ensured that their fellow flatmate, Ben de Souza, received urgent medical attention for meningitis. Please do show your appreciation for our first commendation winners. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris Second commendation winner, Bobby Mehta. For his work as an ambassador for the University, especially the way in which he has forged links with the Bangladeshi community. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris And our third commendation winner, Marta Roldo. For her work to ensure student's access to overseas mobility experiences and also for pursuing the 'internationalisation at home' agenda. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris And our fourth commendation winner is Ben Rudge for his work to develop self-defence workshops for student societies and the University's residence services. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris So, please, all do show your support now to all receiving Vice-Chancellors Commendations today. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris And without further ado, let's move on to celebrating our award winners. And I'd like to ask all our nominators to get ready with your microphone unmute buttons. You'll be asked in turn to read your citations for your award winner and we will then turn to the Vice-Chancellor, certificate at the ready, and then we will all raise our glasses, again, those who've got your glasses, or clap for each of the award winners. So if Jennifer Gupta, nominator Jennifer Gupta, please, could you tell us about the achievements of our first award winner, Nic Bonne? 

Jennifer Gupta Nic has devoted his career to engaging young people with physics, particularly those with visual impairments. Since 2016, he has let the award winning Tactile Universe project taking research from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation and making it accessible to people with vision impairments. As a blind astronomer himself, he is an inspiring and relatable role model for the children he works with. Nic has gone above and beyond to ensure the success of the Tactile Universe, taking over the management of a large public engagement grant while I was on maternity leave. He has travelled the country training others to use the Tactile Universe resources and established himself as a leading authority in accessible physics outreach. 

Graham Galbraith Well done, Nic, congratulations. And so impressed with the credit that you bring to the University, particularly for your work in schools and engagement outside the University. So much appreciated. Well done. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris And by the magic of Zoom, here is Nic with his certificate. If you'd like to show your appreciation. Congratulations, Nic, and let's raise our glasses. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris The next award winner is Mohammad Alatoum. Unfortunately, Mohammad's nominator, Ahmed Khamiz, is not available today, so I will read his nomination. Mohammad organised the biggest student social entrepreneurship competition to take place at the University. He was selected as a Campus Director to host the Hult Prize, a global programme powered by the United Nations, in our University. Over 103 students participated and came up with profitable business ideas that contribute to solving a climate change issue. They were trained in multiple workshops by Google, and the winning team represented Portsmouth in the semi-finals in London. Mohammad is also the Vice-President of the Entrepreneurs Society, in which he continuously works with our students to come up with business ideas and turn them into effective, profitable start-ups while they are studying. 

Graham Galbraith Well done, Mohammad, and congratulations for your inspiration of so many students to take up entrepreneurship and to be involved in the Entrepreneurship Society. Well done. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris Here is Mohammed with his certificates. Very nice background there, Mohammad, and many congratulations. And let's raise our glasses to Mohammad. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris Andrew Wood will now tell us about award winner Louisa Burton. 

Andrew Wood Thank you. I'm really pleased Louisa has won this award. She's transformed a programme for students of accounting to work with local charities. Through energy, creativity and doggedness she's more than doubled the number of students involved and tripled the number of charities involved. At the same time, she's created accounting and tax advisory clinics for individuals and to help individuals, small businesses and entrepreneurs. And all of these are delivered by students. These initiatives have been developed in liaison with Portsmouth City Council and take place at HIVE Portsmouth as well as on the campus. I think these initiatives fit very well with the University's values and the strategic objectives that we have. Not least in providing students with genuinely meaningful, life changing experiences that considerably enhance employability skills, but also in helping us achieve our aspirations of being one of the UK's leading civic universities. Thank you. 

Graham Galbraith Well done, Louisa, congratulations. And just as was said there, taking the University out into the community and inspiring our students to get engaged in community work. And using their expertise and academic knowledge is something quite fantastic and really aligns well with the values of the University. Well done. And congratulations. 

Louisa Burton Well, thank you so much. This has been really unexpected. I'd like to congratulate the other winners and commendations, your stories were really inspiring. The accounting and the community initiative is something that we feel is very important to the student experience and also to our commitment to being a leading civic university. I couldn't do it without the support of my course leader, Ian Toon, or my subject head, Andrew Wood. Along with many other valued colleagues at the University. I just feel really lucky to work with a University that supports these initiatives. In March, when we faced the suspension of face-to-face teaching, I was really worried about how our students were going to be able to continue working with charities in the community. But thanks to the power of Zoom, we've been able to reach even further into the community. And we're really delighted to be able to keep growing this initiative. Thank you for your support. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris So congratulations to Louisa and thank you for her message. Let's raise our glasses. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris And the next award winner, Vikas Kooneti, was nominated by several staff and students, but Ana Baker will be reading the citation. 

Ana Baker Well done, Vikas, good to see you on the screen. So, Vikas. My citation to the Vikas was this, like Harriet said, along with many other members of staff and students across the University. In a world with ongoing concern about sustainability and energy efficiency, we're lucky to have students, now alumni, like Vikas who are creating, sharing and applying knowledge to make a difference to society. Throughout his tenure, Vikas led the Society of Petroleum Engineers to some very successful outcomes. Winning the Society of Petroleum Engineers Best Performing Student Chapter and the Students' Union Award for Outstanding Society achievement, are both recognition for his energy and enthusiasm for ensuring his fellow classmates have the opportunity to engage with their subject area outside of the classroom. Having lived in India, Germany and here in the UK, he's brought these lived experiences to Portsmouth and shared them through collaboration with staff and students across the institution. Well done, Vikas. 

Graham Galbraith So congratulations, Vikas, and thanks for all the work that you've done, inspiring students and even down to things like the organisation of the beach clean up in Southsea. So well done, congratulations. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris Congratulations to Vikas and let's raise our glasses. And this is a picture of Vikas on a beach clean, I believe. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris Award winner, Anna Vaernes, was nominated by a student and by a member of the wider Portsmouth community, Will, whose citation I am going to read on his behalf today. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris Anna has been an integral part in the University's engagement with Hampshire Constabulary to tackle students' experiences of hate crime, discrimination and intolerance. Anna has led the way in this piece of work, which has resulted in the University signing up to become a third party reporting centre for hate crime. This work has been pushed by Anna's inspirational passion to support international students and address issues they may face, refusing to turn a blind eye to the harm some students experience. Anna's initiative in this area has resulted in training being provided for the office even before this became part of the wider University scheme, purely motivated by commitment to improving the experiences of students. 

Graham Galbraith Congratulations, Anna, and well done again. I'm so pleased that you've been able to do what's quite difficult work liaising with different external organisations in this way. But the fact that we are now a reporting centre is excellent news for the University. Thank you and congratulations. 

Anna Vaernes Thank you. I want to very quickly say a big thank you to Will for the work that we've done with the third party reporting centre and hate crime awareness. And, of course, a very big thank you to Bobby for all his support as well. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris Congratulations, Anna. And let's raise our glasses. And if I could now invite Trevor Keeble to read his citation for award winner Charlie Watts. 

Trevor Keeble Thanks, Harriet. CCI TV is an important part of the University's civic engagement. Led for many years by Charlie Watts, CCI TV's engagements include filming graduation's, the city's annual Remembrance Ceremony and a number of one-off events, which last year included the live screening of the general election hustings. At the heart of the CCI project is a fantastic partnership between academic and technical teams, who together support our students to work in real-world, real-time live and recorded broadcast environments. Our students' achievements are at the highest possible standard, and they consistently represent the Faculty and the University at its very best. This can be seen each Saturday at Fratton Park where, trained and supported by CCI TV team, our students undertake the live screen filming of all Portsmouth, Pompey home matches. So congratulations, Charlie. 

Graham Galbraith Yes, well done and congratulations, Charlie, for your really professional work that you do. And so often I've been at the other end of your camera and filming. So impressive. And of course, as Trevor said, on a match day and Saturday (when we had those match days) it was amazing for the Eisners to commend the work that the students and that you and CCI TV do in filming and creating atmosphere videos and the like. Our students are really impressive because of the work that you do and your support of them. Well done. Thank you. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris And it won't surprise you to know that Charlie was able to send in a video. 

Charlie Watts Well, I'd just like to say thank you. It's lovely to be recognised for an ongoing pursuit, which is very close to 15 years. There's a lot of work gone into this. So, yeah, thank you, thank you very, very much. Just like to convey some thanks to the team as well. Firstly, whoever nominated me, but also to the team, because obviously, this is a team effort. So big thanks to David, to Evan, to Ben T, Louise, Mike, Steve and also Zoe, Katie and Gary. A lot of people involved behind this. So thank you very, very much. And also, I'd like to say thank you to my wife and children for all those times I was zoned out, for those times I wasn't present because I was worrying about this, sort of, thinking and planning about that. Really, really appreciate it. Thank you to everyone, cheers. 

Graham Galbraith I think Charlie's ready for an Oscar now, certainly got his speech ready. And please do raise your glasses to Charlie. Louise Fell, would you like to tell us about the Women's Football Club achievements? 

Louise Fell Yes. So the 2019/20 season was an excellent one for women's football. The first team have consistently been our top-performing sports team, ranking in the top 10 women's football teams in the entire country. And our women's second team have recently gone a season unbeaten and have been promoted to 2A, regularly playing against first teams of other universities and really holding their own. They also developed the first ever competitive women's football team in the history of University of Portsmouth Women's Football. However, their plaudits aren't just on the pitch. Off the pitch, these ladies are consistently breaking barriers through volunteering, making lunches for the homeless, walking rescue dogs with the RSPCA, packing shoeboxes for children with Samaritans, and leading activity sessions at the local Regency care home. The championing of equality in sport was also key in establishing a women's football site in the annual Staff vs Students Charity Match. They have been a pleasure to work with this past year. 

Graham Galbraith And of course, it's so impressive not just to be outstanding at your sport, but also I think this is about recognising the wider work that the football team has done. So congratulations and well done. 

Charlotte Hi, my name's Charlotte and I was President of Women's Football last year. I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who nominated us for this prestigious award and the Vice-Chancellor, himself, for presenting us with the award. We couldn't be more proud of what we achieved last season and the acknowledgements we have received from all our hard work. I'd like to say a last thank you to the Sport and Rec staff for supporting us throughout all of our initiatives along the way. Thank you. 

Harriet Dunbar-Morris Congratulations to the Women's Football Club represented today by Charlotte Long. Let's raise our glasses to the Women's Football Club. So congratulations to everybody, some great achievements. And I'll now hand back to Graham for some closing comments. 

Graham Galbraith This is so impressive to see the work of so many students and colleagues across the University. And I think this is just a small snapshot of the amazing work that people do, but it's good to be able to recognise that. And, you know, I want to take time to thank all those who have been involved in putting this together because it's not been easy doing it in this way. But hopefully, you've enjoyed the event. But I'd like to also mention the nominators because if it wasn't for the nominators, there would be no one being awarded! So I would encourage you to speak to colleagues and, you know, please lets be an institution that puts forward those that we know are doing a great job for these kinds of awards in the future. And I also want to thank the awards panel, because it's not an easy task sometimes making those final decisions about who gets an award or who gets a commendation. So, again, I'd like to thank them for the work that they put in, in putting this together. And, of course, the Communications and Events team that are always in the background making events like this happen and make them run smoothly. So thank you and thank you all for attending. And yeah, another successful year for the University and another successful event. But again, get your nominations in for next year. Thank you. 

Vice-Chancellor's Awards 2019

In 2019 12 awards and 10 commendations were awarded to individuals and teams at a celebration event at the New Theatre Royal, to recognise a range of achievements including supporting students with complex mental health difficulties, showcasing motion capture and virtual realities, raising money for homeless charities, and encouraging students to progress to college and university, who might not otherwise think of doing so.

Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Excellence event 2019


Students and staff who have made exceptional contributions to the University of Portsmouth and the community were recognised at the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence 2019.