Wytham Woods team Highly Commended in Vice-Chancellor’s Professional Services Awards

They were Highly Commended in the Outstanding Support award for their tireless work to support researchers in the Woods, which are among the most intensively studied landscapes in the world after decades of painstaking investigation. 

The judges were also impressed by the team’s dedication to keeping the Woods open as much as possible throughout the pandemic to provide the people of Oxford with a much-needed place to relax and get away from everyday stresses, as well as for their long-term commitment to public engagement. This includes working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and building relationships with local communities over many years. 

They demonstrate that Oxford is for everyone, whatever their background – for example, by providing work experience placements, obtaining grants for local schools to improve biodiversity, running wellbeing days for secondary school pupils. Most recently, they have successfully launched of the Bear Wood Project in 2022 - this enables anyone to collect an acorn from a veteran oak tree, plant and raise it at home, and eventually bring it back to form part of a new area of woodland that is being created on what was formerly low-quality grassland. 

We were delighted to be nominated and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the work of people all over Professional Services – it’s very rare to get a chance to sit down and enjoy the accomplishments of your colleagues,’ said Nigel Fisher, Conservator of Wytham Woods. ‘We were even more delighted to be “runners up” in the Outstanding Support category. Now we look forward to going one better in 2024!

Researchers use Wytham Woods as a ‘living laboratory’ that lets them monitor everything from slow changes in the mix of plant species in different areas of the wood and the behaviour of badgers and blue tits to the impact of climate change and the spread of new diseases such as Ash Dieback. Much of this work would not be possible without the dedication of the Woods team, who combine support for research with an exciting programme of public engagement and educational activities, and with maintaining the Woods as a place for the general public to enjoy. 

Everyone is welcome to visit Wytham Woods. If you would like to order a free walking permit or find out about, and sign up, for upcoming events, visit the Woods website

The Vice-Chancellor’s Professional Services Awards recognise the extraordinary contribution that colleagues in administrative, professional and support roles make to the University, and to furthering Oxford’s academic mission. 

In particular they celebrate colleagues who demonstrate the principles of Professional Services Together – the University’s framework for spreading best practice across our professional services.   

More information about the awards is available on the Staff Gateway.  

Contact us


01865 614460

More news