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First ever winners of Institute of Physics Technician Awards announced

23 October 2019

The winners of the new IOP Technician Award are announced today (23 October).

Grainne McAdam, Ian Helliwell, Emma Meehan, Ian East and Donna Wyatt

Five winners in four categories - secondary school; further education and higher education; business and/or facilities and team - are the first technicians to be recognised by the IOP.

Technicians are technically qualified workers who have a vital role in a wide range of disciplines and employment sectors and can be qualified up to very high and specialist levels. Science technicians are present wherever technology is employed and they are crucial to the success of the teams they are part of.

Science technicians enable academic research, support the teaching of physics in schools, colleges and higher education institutions and are essential in industrial manufacturing, defence, healthcare and numerous other high-tech sectors.

They can be responsible for planning and preparing experiments, managing and maintaining laboratories in industrial and academic settings, installing and controlling manufacturing and process systems, and collaborating in research and innovation.

The Institute of Physics (IOP) is the UK and Ireland’s professional body for physicists. Its members come from across the physics community, including academia, industry and education; all areas where professional technicians are needed.

Inaugurated this year, the IOP Technician Awards recognise and celebrate the skills and experience of technicians and their contribution to the ways physics impacts on all of us.

And physics really does affect everyone.

Without physics we would not have textiles, clean water, a consistent food supply or mobile phones. Everything that has been designed, manufactured, transported or cleaned has involved physics.

As we progress into the 21st century, physics will be crucial to our ability to solve global issues such as climate change, digital security and supporting an ageing population through the development of assistance devices and technologies. Physicists and physics technicians will be essential to solving these challenges.

IOP President, Jonathan Flint CBE, said: “The IOP is extremely proud to be offering these awards. Technicians are science professionals in their own right, and it is time they received the status, acknowledgement and reward they deserve. We want these new IOP awards to help highlight the crucial role of technicians in education, research and industry, and raise understanding of their professional status.

“This is the first time that the IOP has awarded technicians to recognise the outstanding contribution they make to the physics community. Technicians help create and deliver the experiments that thrill school students and support the technical teaching of undergraduates and postgraduates. Without them, physics-based industries could not function and we could not expand our understanding of the natural world.”

All the winners receive a prize of £1,000, a trophy and a certificate which will be presented at the IOP annual awards dinner in November.