Papin Prizes salute HE technicians in trying times

Nominations are open for this year’s Papin Prizes, which recognise the achievements of technicians in higher education and research.

Papin Prizes

COVID-19 has brought both teaching and R&D into sharp focus in recent times, with technicians often having to juggle the twin demands of the role. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the technical community has gone to huge lengths to be at the forefront of swiftly transitioning academic teaching online, and in undertaking all of the requirements in making university campuses COVID-secure for the start of the academic year.

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At the same time, technicians are also playing a crucial role in supporting vital COVID research being undertaken by universities. In recognition of this, a special Papin Prize category is being launched this year to recognise the efforts of a technical team or an individual colleague during the pandemic.

“Technical colleagues across the sector have been at the forefront of the response to Covid-19, supporting critical research, the national testing programme and aiding the civic response to the pandemic,” said Kelly Vere, technician commitment lead for the Science Council and director of Technical Skills and Strategy at the University of Nottingham.

“Technicians have also had to act swiftly in response to new government guidance – including opening up testing sites on campuses and transitioning learning online, and so we look forward to receiving and reading nominations for this extra special COVID Recognition award.”

Named after the famous 17th-century technician Denis Papin, the Papin Prizes were first awarded in 2015. The Covid award will be presented alongside seven other Papin Prize categories at an award ceremony at the UK Higher Education Technician Summit (HETS), held this year at the University of Nottingham’s East Midlands Conference Centre.

“HETS focuses on addressing key topics and issues impacting the technical community along with sessions that facilitate the sharing of best practice across the sector,” said Vere.

“The landscape in terms of the importance of supporting technical colleagues has grown exponentially in recent times. HETS 2021 will see discussions on the progress of the UK’s first technician-focused Policy Commission, and the government’s recently published R&D Roadmap and planned expansion of Research and Development funding. Without investment and support for the UK’s technical community it will be impossible for the government to achieve its aspirations of becoming a ‘science superpower’ and the increase in R&D funding to get it there.”

The full list of 2021 Papin Prizes is:

  • COVID-19 Recognition
  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Newcomer
  • Core Research Facility
  • Infrastructure
  • Outreach
  • Technical Team
  • The Professor Lord Bhattacharyya Lifetime Achievement Award

More information on how to enter can be found here.