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Leicester technician wins prestigious Papin Prize

A technician from the University of Leicester has won a prestigious Papin Prize at the Higher Education Technicians Summit (HETS) conference in Birmingham today. Lorenza Francescut, who specialises in providing technical support for research groups focused on cardiovascular physiology at the University of Leicester, was the winner in the Research Category of the Papin Prizes – awarded to the technician whose work contributes to important research at their university.

The award was presented at HETS 2019, which aims to share best practice amongst higher education technical staff in UK, Ireland and beyond, and is the largest event of its kind in the country, with over 700 technicians attending.

Lorenza, or ‘Lory’ as she prefers to be known, provides crucial support within the laboratories of six Principal Investigators through her skills in a diverse range of specialist techniques. She also manages the busy shared cell culture facility and supports undergraduate student practicals. Her nominator described her as “hardworking, effective and personable; a team player who has made important contributions to research success”.

On her award, Lory said: “I am extremely thrilled, elated, grateful and humbled by receiving the Papin Prize. It was so unexpected to be even nominated, let alone win this prize. I am forever grateful to everyone who nominated me and in doing so made me feel valued. I also want to acknowledge all the other technicians in the University who do a fantastic job and sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve.”

Speaking about the Papin Prizes, Kelly Vere, Technician Commitment lead for the Science Council, said: “This year, the standard of entries for the Papin Prizes was incredibly high, so all of the technicians and technical teams that have been nominated for the awards should be very proud of their achievements.”

Named after Denis Papin, a famous 17th century technician, the Papin Prizes were first awarded at the inaugural Higher Education Technicians Summit in 2015. Held biennially, the Papin Prizes recognise and reward innovation and excellence amongst technicians working in higher education.

HETS is sponsored by Midlands Innovation, a partnership of eight universities - Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick, in partnership with the Science Council.

Dr Helen Turner, Director of Midlands Innovation, added: “I am particularly delighted that we have had so many entries for the Papin Prizes from right across the UK. This demonstrates that the excellent work which technicians do throughout the country is greatly appreciated by their work colleagues and students. I am pleased that through HETS and the Papin Prizes we are able to support technicians in HE and recognise their achievements.”

For more information about HETS and the Papin Prizes, visit Midlands Innovation's website.

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