UK Higher Education Technician Summit

Proud to announce the date for HETS 2021

Midlands Innovation is proud to announce the date and location for the UK’s Higher Education Technicians Summit. It will take place on 23rd June 2021 in Nottingham. Read more here

Registration for HETS 2021 will open in the autumn, but in the meantime you can register your interest here to receive a notification of when registration opens, and to receive eNews updates as we announce further details of the UK’s largest conference for Higher Education Technicians.  

Call for workshop proposals

The Summit is structured around a range of “hot topics” that impact the technical community. Previous examples of topics include designing the perfect practical, presentation skills, health and safety, social media, sustainable laboratories and more. The Organising Committee is inviting proposals for workshops for the 2021 conference. Workshops can be on a diverse range of topics.  

The goal of the workshops is to provide an informal forum for delegates to discuss current and emerging topics and challenges impacting the technical community.

Workshops will last for 50 minutes with morning and afternoon sessions available. The goal of the workshops is to provide an informal forum for delegates to discuss current and emerging topics and challenges impacting the technical community.

Workshops will last for 50 minutes with morning and afternoon sessions available.
Proposals should be limited to 500 words and include the following information:
• Proposed title and organisers (names, affiliations, email; please identify one primary contact person)
• Description of workshop: objectives, goals, and expected outcomes
• Statement explaining how the workshop can benefit HETS 2021 delegates
• Proposed workshop format
• Any special A/V needs
• Short biographical sketch for each presenter, describing relevant experience and qualifications (not included in page limit)

Please submit your workshop proposals here

• Proposals due: February 23rd 2021.
• Presenter notification: March 12th 2021.
• Presenters are responsible for any travel and hotel costs.
• Any presenter who is unable to attend should arrange for another qualified individual to present the paper/poster in question. If such a change is necessary, please notify the HETS Organising Committee.

The History of HETS

In 2015 Midlands Innovation founded the UK Higher Education Technicians Summit, a national conference for technical staff working in higher education and research. Our 2017 event attracted over 500 delegates from over 60 organisations and in 2019 over 700 delegates from over 70 organisations.

HETS conference photoby Alex Wilkinson

This national event promotes a professional identity for technical staff in higher education and beyond, Midlands Innovation delivers it in partnership with the Science Council.

The conference is the largest event held specifically for UK and Ireland HE technical staff. Its sessions focus on professional development and networking opportunities with a range of “hot topics”. The conference also discusses broader issues around technical skills and education including the importance of technical skills in driving forward innovation, and current initiatives to ensure the future provision of technical education to young people.



In 2015, alongside the Higher Education Technician Summit, Midlands Innovation also established the Papin Prizes – a series of awards to publicly recognise technical excellence in academia.

The Papin Prizes are named after Denis Papin, a 17th century technician who worked with Robert Boyle. Papin invented the steam digester and was one of the first technicians to publish in his own name. The Papin Prizes recognise the invaluable role played by technicians in Higher Education. Their aim is:

  • To provide national recognition and reward for excellence in technical services within higher education
  • To raise the professional status of technicians in higher education

2019 Winners

 HETS conference and Papin Prize Award Winners. Photos by Alex Wilkinson Media (45 of 56)

  • Research: Lorenza Francescut, University of Leicester
  • Teaching: Amy Horne, Nottingham Trent University
  • Newcomer: Hannah Constantin, University of Nottingham
  • Core Research Facility: Steve Hindmarsh, University of Warwick
  • Infrastructure: Paul Gilbert, University of Liverpool
  • Outreach: Jane Thorning, University of Plymouth
  • Technical Team: School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University
  • Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Lifetime Achievement Award: John Baum, Lancaster University

2017 Winners


  • Infrastructure - Hazel Smulders, University of Sussex
  • Research - Jennifer Haworth, University of Manchester
  • Teaching - Teresa Needham, University of Nottingham
  • Core Research Facility - Matthew MacKenzie, University of Birmingham
  • Newcomer - Jennifer Williams, University of Bath
  • Lifetime Achievement - John Andrews, University College London
  • Technical Team - University of Loughborough Textiles Technical Team

Outreach/Community - Callum Crane, Loughborough University

Callum Crane, Technician in the Department of Chemistry won the Outreach category for his work in organising Loughborough’s ‘3M – Science Detectives’ event, which saw over 100 children participating in CSI-style activities using scientific knowledge and skills to solve a mock crime. He commented: 

I am honoured to have won the prize but couldn’t have done it without the support of the technical team in the School of Science. It is fantastic to see the profile of Loughborough technicians, and the important contributions they make, becoming more visible.

2015 Winners

  • Community - Aziza Alibhai, University of Nottingham
  • Infrastructure - Robert Johnston, University of Warwick
  • Research - Lisa Storer, University of Nottingham
  • Teaching - Charlotte Bland, Aston University and the University of Warwick Satellite Team
  • Facility and Equipment Management - Michael Beard, University of Nottingham
  • Leadership - Carl Hingley, University of Birmingham
  • Lifetime Achievement - Victoria Wilson, University of Nottingham
  • Outreach - Neil Barnes, University of Nottingham
  • Working with Business - Val Street, University of Nottingham

Newcomer - Justyna Janus, University of Leicester#

Winner of the Newcomer Prize, Justyna is an Imaging Technician at the University of Leicester’s Preclinical Imaging Facility. She said: 

I was pleased to take part in the first Higher Education Technician Summit celebrating the achievements of technicians and even more delighted to receive the Newcomer Papin Prize Award. Being recognised for my work gives me satisfaction and encouragement to further develop my skills and see where my role as a technician can take me. I’d like to thank the event organisers and inspirational speakers, my colleagues in Core Biotechnology Services and all of the researchers at the University of Leicester who I have worked with so far.