The James Watt Technician Prize is now open for 2024 nominations.

In recognition of the ingenuity of James Watt, the James Watt Technician Prize is awarded annually to a technician who is judged to have introduced significant innovation within their role to the benefit of the University, its staff and students, to the advancement of research or teaching or to the benefit of wider society.  The prize takes the form of a £1,000 payment and a certificate from the Principal.

This prize is complementary to existing recognition processes including the Long Service Awards, Teaching Excellence Awards and Research Culture Awards.

Please note that the deadline for nominations is 26th July 2024. 

Please contact the People & OD Helpdesk if you have any queries.

Who is James Watt?

Born in Greenock, Scotland, in 1736, James Watt was employed by the University as an instrument maker at the age of 20, providing him with lodgings and a workshop. During his employment he manufactured a range of items for the Professor of Practice of Medicine, Joseph Black, that included an organ and a perspective machine.

When presented with a model Newcomen steam engine in need of repair, Watt devised a separate condenser which would improve efficiency and permit enormous savings in fuel. Through developing this idea with industrialist Matthew Boulton, Watt is considered to be one of the key figures of the Industrial Revolution. The model Newcomen engine survives to this day and is on long-term display at The Hunterian.


All members of University staff on the Technical and Specialist Job Family and all Technical Specialists on the MPA or Research-Only Job Families (e.g. IT staff).

Award Criteria

There are 5 criteria against which an award can be considered: 

  1. Innovative contribution in support of the student experience
  2. Innovative contribution in support of the staff experience
  3. Innovative contribution to the development of learning and teaching
  4. Innovative contribution in support of world leading research outcomes
  5. Innovative contribution to the civic mission of the University

The judging panel will assess the applications against the following criteria: 

  1. Innovative Approach: How does the contribution evidence originality and/or demonstrate high levels of creativity.
  2. Impact: To what extent has the contribution led to measurable impact.
  3. Sustainability and/or Scalability: The extent to which the contribution has been embedded and sustained within the particular area and, where appropriate, replicated or repeated in different settings.
  4. Alignment with the University Values: The extent to which the contribution aligns with the University stated values (ambition and excellence, curiosity and discovery, integrity and truth and inclusive community).

Nomination Guidelines

The Nomination should be completed by a line manager or colleague and seconded by another member of staff. Self-nomination is not allowed.

You can find the nomination form for the James Watt Technician Prize, together with full details (including nomination eligibility, the process and guidelines), on the James Watt Awards Portal. 

James Watt Technician Prize Timelines 2024

Launch of James Watt Technician Prize                  -          3rd July 2024

Deadline for Nominations to be submitted            -         26th July 2024

Winner Announced                                                 -         23rd September 2024