Prizes for technicians

Technicians do not always get the recognition they deserve. One way to fix this is to nominate one of your fellow technicians for a prize or an award to recognise their efforts.

In October 2000, the German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was visiting the Middle East to urge the Israelis and the Palestinians to implement a peace agreement. At a ceremony Schröder accidentally extinguished Israel's memorial flame for the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust - a potential diplomatic disaster. In a panic the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, tried unsuccessfully to help. It took a technician to save relations between Germany and Israel, he quietly stepped forward and reignited the symbolic flame.

Schröder won many prizes and awards during his career; this unknown technician is likely to have won no prizes. Technicians tend to be understated and anonymous. Indeed, historically there have been few high-profile prizes for technicians in the UK, but this is changing. There are now more and more prizes available to us; we just need to start applying and nominating colleagues. Below is a selection of ones I have managed to find out about, please let us know if there are more.

Bioscience Technician Awards
Awarding body: Royal Society of Biology
The ‘Higher Education Bioscience Technician of the Year Award’ seeks to recognise the superb work of technical staff, which underpins the bioscience research and teaching at all levels in universities across the UK and Ireland.

CPD awards
Awarding body: Science Council
The Science Council’s CPD Awards are designed to celebrate the continued professional development efforts and achievements of Registrants across Registered Science Technician (RSciTech), Registered Scientist (RSci), Chartered Scientist (CSci) and Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach) status. Nominees can be from any discipline of science and be working at any level but they most hold Science Council professional registration.

IET Achievement Award
Awarding body: The Institution of Engineering and Technology
The IET’s Apprentice and Technician of the Year Awards recognise individuals who standout from their peers and have made noteworthy achievements in their area of expertise. They look for individuals who are role models to others and are passionate about promoting engineering to the world.

Institution of Civil Engineers
Awarding body: Institution of Civil Engineers
Jean Venables Medal promotes the role of newly qualified engineering technicians. Candidates are put forward by their reviewers for showing exceptional qualities in their Technician Professional Review. The QUEST Eloise Plunkett award is open to newly qualified female ICE members who were successful at their Professional Review.

Institute of Science and Technology awards
Awarding body: Institute of Science and Technology
Valery Chapman Award is available annually to enable a school/college laboratory technician to attend a conference or training event for the first time. The John Robinson award fund has, in the past, been used for an Outstanding Achievement Award, Outstanding Trainee/Apprentice Award, and Best Conference Poster Award.

IOM3 Technician of the Year Award
Awarding body: Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining 
Each year, the Institute makes two awards for the Technician of the Year (TOY). The award is open to all those currently studying materials or minerals technology or related subjects and those who have completed such courses within the last two years. There is no age barrier.

Papin Prize
Awarding body: Higher Education Technicians Summit 2017
Named after the 17th century technician Denis Papin the Papin prizes are a series of awards to be made to technicians who have demonstrated excellence. They were last awarded at the Higher Education Technicians Summit 2017 (HETS 2017). The next summit is planning for sometime in 2019.

Psychology Technicians Awards
Awarding body: The British Psychological Society
The technical support in psychology teaching award and the technical support in psychology research award recognise the valuable role that technicians play in supporting both teaching and research in their psychology departments.

Salters’ National Awards for Science Technicians
Awarding body: Salters Institute
This may not be relevant to university technicians but why not nominate the technician in your local school! The aim of the awards is to highlight the importance of technicians in enabling high quality practical work in science in schools and colleges.

STEM inspiration award
Awarding body: STEM Learning
The STEM Inspiration awards are a free award scheme, designed to celebrate individuals and organisations working to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

S-labs awards
Awarding body: S-Lab
S-Lab is a not-for-profit initiative that works with university, research institute, and other laboratory sectors and stakeholders to support good practice in laboratory design, operation and management. The S-Lab Awards for Excellence in Laboratory Design, Management and Operation were initiated in 2012 and have been held every year since. The Making a Difference award is particularly applicable to technicians.

Sustainability awards
Awarding body: University of Leeds
Celebrating the work of people who have contributed to creating positive change on campus and further afield. The awards are for: Embedding Sustainability through Collaboration, Building Knowledge and Capacity, Being a Positive Partner in Society, Making the Most of Resources, and The Sustainable Purchasing Award.

Vice Chancellors H&S awards
Awarding body: University of Leeds
It is not just technician specific awards that technicians can be nominated for. The prestigious Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Health and Safety reward and celebrate the exceptional inspiration, commitment and practice of University staff and students.

Women of Achievement Award
Awarding body: University of Leeds (Athena Swan)
The Women of Achievement awards recognise the significant contribution and impact that women have made across the University and beyond. The awards are part of the University of Leeds’ commitment to further promote gender equality and support the career development of talented women in all areas of the organisation.

By Andy Connelly

Posted in: