Liverpool technicians shortlisted in national awards for COVID-19 efforts

Technicians and professional staff from the University of Liverpool have been shortlisted for prestigious national awards in recognition of the critical role they played during the pandemic.

The Papin Prizes, which celebrate the achievements of UK technicians in higher education and research, will be presented at the 2021 Higher Education Technician Summit next month.

The team from the ISARIC Clinical Characterisation Consortium (ISARIC4C) Outbreak Laboratories at the Universities of Liverpool and Glasgow have been shortlisted in a special COVID-19 Recognition category for National Impact.

Liverpool Outbreak Lab volunteer Eve Wilcock has also been shortlisted in the Newcomer category, which recognises those who have embarked on a technical career within the past 4 years and shown exceptional promise.

From the start of the outbreak, technicians, professional staff and graduate students in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool and the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research stepped forward to support the rapid establishment of two ‘Outbreak Laboratory Hubs’ for the UK arm of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infections Consortium (ISARIC).

ISARIC4C Chief Investigator Professor Calum Semple said: “As part of world’s largest prospective study of COVID-19, technicians at Liverpool and Glasgow worked together to receive, process and distribute, thousands of human samples sourced from NHS hospitals to research groups across the UK to facilitate rapid research and development.

“Their efforts were critical in enabling several important scientific advances, including the development and validation of diagnostic assays and understanding the immunogenicity of the Oxford vaccine.

“The expertise and dedication shown by our technicians has been vital to the outputs of the ISARIC4C team and the UK-wide response to COVID-19, so it’s only fitting that their contribution has been recognised in the awards shortlist.”

The Papin Prizes 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.

The awards will be presented at the Higher Education Technician Summit (HETS) 2021 on 10 November 2021 at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University of Nottingham.

Image: Some of the team preparing a shipment of samples. Originally posted on the Liverpool Covid-19 blog by Dr Shona Moore.