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Abertay technician wins HEA Technician of the Year Award

1 May 2014

A technician from Abertay University has been awarded the prestigious HEA Computing Technician of the Year Award 2014.

Gerry High - who is an Engineering Services Technician here at Abertay - was nominated by staff and students from the School of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Technicians play a vital role in supporting the student learning experience, and the HEA Technician of the Year Awards were set up in recognition of this.

The awards are a UK-wide initiative, with institutions from across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland competing for the much coveted awards.

Gerry has worked at Abertay for more than 20 years and his work has changed considerably during this time.

Originally focused on the traditional elements of mechanical engineering and manufacturing, he is now more involved with the integration of mechanical engineering and computing.

He works very closely with students and staff in Abertay’s specialist laboratories, developing and implementing new, current, and engaging practical labs.

His nomination included numerous testimonials from those he sees on a daily basis, with one senior member of staff calling him a "master engineer" and a fourth-year student saying "he’s always willing to go beyond the call of duty to help students out."

Gerry received his award at the Higher Education Academy (HEA) STEM Conference dinner which was held in Edinburgh last night (Wednesday, April 30).

Dr John Isaacs – Lecturer in Computing at Abertay – explains why he decided to nominate Gerry:

"Gerry is a brilliant person to work with. Although his job is mainly to maintain the hardware devices which we use for teaching purposes, he does much more than that.

"In the past year, we’ve been working with new equipment, including Arduinos, the Raspberry Pi, Thymio robots and LEGO Mindstorms and it would be well within Gerry’s remit to simply set these out for the students and make sure they all work. But on top of that he’s learnt how to use them all and how to programme them and, as a result, is now considered something of an expert – or Jedi Master, if you ask the students – on the software and how to use it.

"We also need these devices to communicate using a variety of wired, wireless and mobile technology, and Gerry has taken it upon himself to get to grips with how this all works so that he can help the students. This has meant that, rather than getting bogged down in small technical parts of a project, the students are able to overcome these hurdles and produce really excellent work which wouldn’t always be possible without his help.

"He also gladly gives up his time to help with numerous outreach events and open days, and his enthusiasm thoroughly inspires everyone who meets him, so nominating him was a no-brainer, and we’re really pleased he won – I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the award."

Gerry High – who received the HEA Computing Technician of the Year Award last night, said:

"I was very surprised, and flattered, to hear of my nomination for this award.

"I really enjoy working with the students and staff within the School of Science, Engineering and Technology - there is always something new and interesting to become involved in.

"The staff within the School are very keen to move forward with any new technology available, and incorporate this into our courses.

"This now means that our current labs are right up-to-date with technology that is changing at an alarming rate.

"Two of our latest labs use the Raspberry PI computer systems, and the Electric Imp Wi-Fi system.I’m sure this integration between Computing and hardware will continue to be a very interesting area to work in.

"Thank you very much, to all the staff and students who nominated me for this award."


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes to Editors:

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) champions excellent learning and teaching in higher education.

There are eight Technician of the Year Awards in total, the other categories being:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Built Environment
  • Computing, Engineering and Materials
  • Geography Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
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