Technicians awarded prestigious Papin Prizes

Outstanding technicians awarded prestigious Papin Prizes at HETS 2023

Papin2023winners

L-R Karen Haggerty, Martin Farley, Syliva Whittle, John Hancock, Rachael Walker, Kris Hart (Credit: Alex Wilkinson Media) 

Higher education and research technicians from across the UK have been honoured with prestigious awards which recognise excellence in academia at the only national event dedicated to celebrating the success and achievements of technical staff. 

Eleven Papin Prizes were presented across a range of categories at the biennial Higher Education Technicians Summit (HETS) organised by Midlands Innovation and MI TALENT in partnership with the Technician Commitment and the Science Council.  

This year’s event and Papin Prizes was also sponsored for the first time by UKRI. The awards were presented at HETS where 500 technicians attended the sold-out event at the University of Warwick, which featured a keynote speech from Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam.

A new Knowledge Exchange category was added to this year’s list of awards to acknowledge technicians who have made significant contribution to delivering knowledge exchange and innovation activities on behalf of their institution. 

The following Papin Prizes were presented by Professor Christine Ennew OBE, Provost at the University of Warwick: 

Contribution to Infrastructure  
A member of technical staff that has made a significant contribution to day-to-day infrastructure to support research and/or teaching – for example, roles may include technical staff who look after building facilities or technicians that provide key services. 
Winner: Kris Hart, University of Birmingham  

Contribution to Research 
A member of technical staff that has made a significant contribution to research. 
Winner: Geoffrey Nowell, Durham University  

Contribution to Teaching  
A member of technical staff that has made a significant contribution to the student teaching and learning experience. 
Winner: Karen Haggerty, Northumbria University  

Core Research Facility 
A member of technical staff within a central research facility/platform who has provided exceptional skills/expertise.  
Winner: Christopher Thrasivoulou, University College London 

Knowledge Exchange 
A technician who has made significant contribution to delivering knowledge exchange and innovation activities on behalf of their institution. 
Winner: Rachael Walker, Babraham Institute  

Newcomer 
An individual who has embarked on a technical career within the past four years and shown exceptional promise – for example, this may be a trainee or apprentice technician.  
Winner: Sylvia Whittle, University of Sheffield  

Outreach/Community 
A member of technical staff that has made a significant contribution to community/outreach activities.  
Winner: Alice Thomas, University of York  

Technical Team 
A technical team which has worked together to deliver excellence.  
Winner: Crop Transformation Team, John Innes Centre 

The Professor Lord Bhattacharyya Lifetime Achievement Award 
An award to recognise continued excellence and/or significant achievements across an individual’s technical career. 
Winner: John Hancock, Manchester Metropolitan University  

Papin Prize Medal   
A special medal awarded in recognition of the recipient’s contributions to advancing the status and opportunity of the technical community in academia. It is awarded by the Executive Committee of the eight Midlands Innovation universities. 
Winner: Martin Farley, University College London 


Ends 

Notes to editors: 

HETS has grown from strength-to-strength since it was established in 2015 by Midlands Innovation, in partnership with the Science Council. The previous event in 2019 saw seven outstanding technicians receive Papin Prizes. This is the fifth time Papin Prizes have been awarded at the biennial HETS event. 

Midlands Innovation is a collaboration of eight research intensive universities in the Midlands (Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Leicester, Loughborough, Keele, Nottingham and Warwick).  

Papin prizes are named after Denis Papin, a 17th century technician who worked with Robert Boyle. He invented the steam digester and was one of the first technicians to publish in his own name. The awards celebrate technicians who have demonstrated excellence in practice.  

The 2023 event was held at The Oculus, University of Warwick.  

A record-breaking 357 nominations were received representing 67 higher education and research institutions.  

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