Dr Nakita Noel, centre front, and members of her research group in the Beecroft Building at the University of Oxford

Dr Nakita Noel, centre front, and members of her research group in the Beecroft Building at the University of Oxford

Dr Noel receives Outstanding Research Supervision award

Photovoltaics and nanoscience
Condensed Matter Physics

Dr Nakita Noel has been given a 2023/24 MPLS Award for Outstanding Research Supervision. The awards recognise those who have gone above and beyond in nurturing and supporting their colleagues, by demonstrating inspirational leadership and enabling people to flourish in their careers. A minimum of two nominations per entry were required and the judging panel was made up of research staff representatives from the MPLS Research Staff Forum. 

Dr Noel is an EPSRC research fellow and her research sits at the intersection of chemistry, solid-state physics and materials science. Its focus is developing insight into the fundamental processes governing thin-film crystallisation and defect formation in solution-processable semiconductors. Dr Noel’s approach to leading her research group receives praise for how she champions the work of its members. She battles for their contributions to get external recognition and if they have been treated unfairly, she will advocate for them. She is very focused on her group's development, pushing researchers to take up opportunities that will help them grow; this is illustrated by her often-used question 'What does this mean for your development and your thesis?' Within her group she has established boundaries that enable her team to flourish; she supports collaboration within the group rather than competition, as well as supporting colleagues’ mental health. She encourages them not to overwork, emphasising that there is life outside research.

Dr Noel provides a nurturing and inspiring environment for her group: ‘She is selfless to a fault, and drives everyone around her to be better scientists,’ and ‘I feel excited to do my next set of experiments and discuss my results with Nakita.’

‘It means a lot to me to receive this award,’ comments Dr Noel. ‘I work hard to create an environment that allows for scientific freedom for my group members but that also provides support and a framework where required. It’s the kind of environment that I would want for myself and one that I have been lucky enough to experience earlier in my career. I have learned from the good and the bad of my own experiences of supervision and am obviously still learning. You can do great science anyway but finding great colleagues is not something that should be taken for granted.’