Technician wins national prize

A technician in the Department of Physics has won a national award recognising her work.

Dr Jennifer Williams won the Newcomer category at the Papin Prizes awards ceremony during the national Higher Education Technicians Summit 2017 (HETS 2017) held at the University of Warwick.

The Papin Prizes recognise the skills, talent and experience of technicians in higher education, across the UK and Ireland.

Dr Jennifer Williams with Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, chairman of WMG, University of Warwick

Nominees were selected from a broad range of universities, showcasing technical staff who have demonstrated excellence in their field, in categories such as ‘research’, ‘teaching’, and ‘lifetime achievement’.

She was nominated by Dr Philippe Blondel in the Department of Physics, who said: “Dr Williams started in August 2013 and already made a very strong impression on laboratory teaching, reorganising and creating new experiments. She has fully participated in the design of new experiments in conjunction with lecturers, to cater for the new provision of teaching in Physics with Astrophysics, delivering it all well in advance of the academic year. She is now planning to provide astrophysical experiments in the field, on campus and further afield, adding to student choice, learning and satisfaction. Her activities fully match the criteria of success through innovation, expertise and leadership. Her personal rapport with students, and volunteering for a Mental Health course, also contributed to their support and satisfaction.”

Jennifer said: “It was lovely to find out I had been nominated by Phillipe Blondel for the Papin Prize award. I actually got nominated for the University of Bath Faculty Learning Support award at the beginning of April too so I felt particularly appreciated that week. I was very surprised when they said that I won as I really didn't expect to.

“I would like mention that it is not just a solo effort that keep the undergraduate lab running smoothly. Also working in the lab are my colleagues, Isabel Wells and Martin Fullick, and Ashley Brewer, who has since left the university, who are key members of the team. I would also like to thank my line manager Alan George for all his support.”

The largest event of its kind in the country, HETS 2017 was a day dedicated to promoting a professional identity for technical staff in UK and Ireland higher education.

The Technician Commitment was launched at the event- a sector-wide initiative led by the Science Council, supported by the Gatsby Foundation, to help address key challenges facing technical staff working in research.

More than thirty-five universities and research institutions from across the UK backed the pledge to safeguard vital technical skills, and to ensure greater visibility, recognition and career development for technicians across all disciplines.

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