Royce Technical Operations Manager shortlisted for Papin Prize for technical excellence in HE and Research

Congratulations go to Cath Davies, Henry Royce Institute and Photon Science Institute (PSI) Technical Operations Manager on being shortlisted for the prestigious Papin Prize – the UK’s only award dedicated to celebrating technical excellence in Higher Education and Research.

Cath was shortlisted in the Contribution to Infrastructure category, which recognises a member of technical staff who has made a significant contribution to day-to-day infrastructure to support research and/or teaching.

Cath is responsible for two highly complex buildings which house a breadth of state-of-the-art technical facilities, from vibration-controlled spaces, to humidity-controlled rooms, as well as laboratories equipped to support wide-ranging research related to biomaterials through to next-generation fuels. Cath manages a large and varied team of expert technical staff who operate a >£100m suite of equipment open to both academia and industry users.

Dr Eliza Gardner, Royce Head of Operations said:

“I am absolutely delighted Cath has been nominated for this unique award. She is an exemplary Technical Operations Manager and for the past three years she has also been the technical lead for the Royce Hub Building project, liaising extensively with academic, research and technical staff to ensure their requirements were translated into the laboratory designs and fit-outs. We are extremely grateful for her huge contribution to ensuring we’re now open for business for all in the materials community.”

Cath, alongside colleague Dan Tate, Technical Project Manager and members of the wider facilities team, worked tirelessly to oversee the Royce Hub building fit-out, as well as the transfer of existing equipment from across the University and the delivery and commissioning of £45m of new state-of-the-art equipment. Under Cath’s leadership, the expert technical team continued to progress all of this during the Global Pandemic, ensuring the Royce Hub facilities can operate efficiently and effectively, providing users with a high quality and safe experience.

Dr Helen Ryder, Royce Research and Facilities Manager added:

 “Cath is so deserving of this nomination given everything she has achieved over the past 18 months, despite the major hurdle of the 2020 lockdown which happened just days before the main Royce Hub Building construction was formally completed. Her unparalleled dedication and professional liaison during this extremely challenging period resulted in the first researchers commencing work in December 2020 whilst construction work continued across the rest of the building.”

Sixty-one technicians have been shortlisted for an acclaimed Papin Prize across ten categories.  Hundreds of individuals and teams were nominated for the year’s prestigious awards which will be presented at the biannual Higher Education Technician Summit (HETS) 2021 on 10 November 2021 at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University of Nottingham.

The Papin Prizes are named after Denis Papin, a 17th century technician who invented the steam digester and was one of the first technicians to publish in his own name.