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Department of Earth Sciences


Dr Neil Davies, who is Lecturer in Sedimentary Geology and Fellow of Churchill College, has been awarded the prestigious Pilkington Prize in recognition of his teaching excellence.

It is often said that the best geologist is the one that has seen the most rocks, and Dr Neil Davies has probably seen more than most, having spent over 39 months performing field-based research since 2000! The Department is incredibly fortunate to be able to draw on Neil’s vast field experience to develop innovative and exciting field teaching that compliments his equally innovative and popular lecture courses. Designing and leading a field trip is one of the greatest responsibilities we ask of our staff. Neil designs and leads multiple trips each year, continuously refining and adapting them to create a rich educational experience for our undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The pandemic created unprecedented disruption to field teaching across the world, yet Neil rose to the challenge, immediately designing bespoke day trips that could be safely achieved within strict Covid constraints. Our students were amongst the very few in the UK to receive any field education during the 2020-21 academic year, which is reflected in the glowing feedback that Neil receives for his efforts. As our Deputy Director of Teaching, Neil’s work will ensure that Cambridge’s reputation for producing world-class field scientists will continue, whatever the world throws at us!

The Pilkington Prize was set up in 1994 by Sir Alastair Pilkington, who believed that the quality of teaching was crucial to the University’s success. The prizes are awarded to individuals who make a substantial contribution to the teaching programme of a Department, Faculty or the University as a whole. Nominations are made by each of the six Schools.