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The Royal Society of Biology have announced the shortlist for the HE Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award 2019.

The award recognises teachers who have shown an outstanding contribution to higher education in the biosciences. Individuals can be nominated by their students, peers, senior management or themselves.

Dr Mark Downs CSci FRSB, chief executive of the Royal Society of Biology said, “Congratulations to the three finalists shortlisted for this year’s award.

“The shortlisted individuals have displayed a dedication and passion for teaching, through their innovative and considered teaching practices.

The RSB recognises the importance of celebrating those who are outstanding in their field, not only to reward those who are exceptional at what they do, but to also inspire others and help build a network of experts who can share ideas and best practice.”

The winner will be announced at the inaugural HUBS Annual Meeting on 30 April – 1 May 2019, and will receive the Ed Wood Memorial Prize of £1,000 to spend as they wish, £250 worth of Oxford University Press books, and one year’s free membership to the Society. The remaining finalists will receive £150 and one year’s free membership to the Society.

The three finalists will now each prepare and present a case study on their teaching methodology and practice, followed by an interview by the judging panel in March.

Dr David Martin from the University of Dundee, Professor Kevin O’Dell from the University of Glasgow and Dr David Smith from Sheffield Hallam University have been selected as finalists.

Dr David Martin is a senior lecturer at the University of Dundee. After contributing to a diverse range of projects including malaria, sleeping sickness and potato genomes, David was appointed lecturer and has been teaching full time since 2014.

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Dr David Martin in his natural habitat (Photo credit: Dr Martin)


David has a diverse range of interests including bat population genetics and building educational gadgets. His teaching has won institutional awards for his innovative student centred approach to data analysis skills and bioinformatics.

Professor Kevin O’Dell is a professor of behavioural genetics at the University of Glasgow. His research interests are in genes and behaviour.

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Professor Kevin O’Dell teaching students and fighting crime (Photo credit: O'Dell)


Kevin has developed a storytelling approach to the problem solving, data analysis and experimental design components of the undergraduate genetics degree programme, helping him win a University of Glasgow Teaching Excellence Award in 2007 and a Student Representative Teaching Award in 2012. In March 2017 he published what might be the world’s first storytelling science textbook, ‘Genetics? No Problem!

Dr David Smith is a national teaching fellow who has been teaching biochemistry at Sheffield Hallam University since 2010.

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Dr David Smith in the lab (Photo credit: Dr Smith)


David is a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has been awarded the Sheffield Hallam University student-nominated Inspirational Teaching Award three times. David aims to inspire and engage all students by teaching with both enthusiasm and passion for his subject.

This year, several lecturers were nominated by their students for the award, in recognition of their exceptional teaching. Dr Gemma Lace from the University of Salford, Professor Mark Fox from the Royal Veterinary College, Emmanuel Adukwu from the University of the West of England, and Linda Martin from Blackpool and Fylde College will all receive certificates in recognition for these student nominations.

This award is made possible through sponsorship from Oxford University Press and Heads of University Biosciences (HUBS), a special interest group of the RSB.