Aston Technician awarded prestigious honour

Charlie Clarke-Bland

3 Friday 2015

An Aston technician’s remarkable effort, expertise and dedication to supporting students has been recognised by the prestigious Papin Prize Awards. 

Charlie Clarke-Bland, a Microscopy Technician at the Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA), was presented with a Papin Prize for her outstanding Contribution to Teaching in higher education. 

The Awards celebrate the skill, talent and experience of technicians from the M6 Universities – a group of six Midlands universities (Aston, Warwick, Birmingham Leicester, Loughborough and Nottingham) who have partnered together to boost research collaboration and the sharing of key equipment and resources. 

A major aim of the Prizes is to promote the good and often essential work of technicians on a national level and to help raise their professional status in higher education. 

To be considered for a Papin Prize, Charlie had to meet certain strict criteria. She must have shown strong leadership and collaborative skills while endeavouring to go ‘the extra mile’ to support teaching and learning activities for students. She must also have undergone significant personal development and increased her technical ability to the benefit of the University and beyond. 

At ARCHA, Charlie ensures the Centre’s complex equipment is accessible and functional, trains and manages all users of the equipment and maintains health and safety standards in an environment with a variety of ethical and risk assessment requirements. 

In addition to this, Charlie contributes to research being conducted at ARCHA to the extent that she has been named a co-author on several academic papers and routinely acknowledged on others. She also provides masterclasses for sixth form students looking to continue to higher education, runs classes for the Aston Progression Pathway scheme and acts as an academic tutor at undergraduate level. 

Dr Carol Holland, Director of ARCHA, said: “Charlie fully deserves this award and I’m sure I speak for all of my colleagues at the Centre when I say that I am delighted for her. She always goes above and beyond in everything she does, whether assisting with research or providing vital advice and encouragement to undergraduate and even college level students.” 

The Papin Prizes were held at the 2015 Higher Education Technician Summit, hosted by the University of Nottingham. They are named after Denis Papin, a 17th century technician who worked with Robert Boyle. Papin invented the steam digester and was one of the first technicians to publish in his own name. 

ARCHA takes a multidisciplinary approach to successful ageing by asking how technological, therapeutic and psychosocial strategies can be employed to understand and arrest age-related decline. Their mission is to facilitate research that helps understand, predict and prevent age-related degeneration.