2021 Winner

Congratulations to the  winner of the 2021 James Watt Technician Prize:

Ewan Russel, Technician, James Watt School of Engineering

Ewan has provided excellent support for the development of ENG1026 Engineering Skills 1, and has driven forward curricular developments in a significant number of areas. Instrumental in supporting SolidWorks over a number of years, he has also played a significant role in the introduction of BIM to the Civil Engineering students through REVIT and FORMIT. The introduction of FORMIT was so successful that it was subsequently introduced to all first year Engineering students.  Switching from SolidWorks to Fusion 360 as the main CAD package, he revised the student deliverables and created supporting video tutorials enabling the package to be successfully introduced across all first year students for academic year 2019/20.

In support of the Design, Build and Test activities in Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Product Design Engineering, Ewan's ideas have been adopted for student activites - passive walker for the Biomedical Engineering Students, trebuchet for Mechanical students and rubber-band powered car for PDE students.  In each case Ewan helped develop the requirements, actively supported the activities, and helped with formative and summative assessment of the activity.

Nominated by Brian Robb, Technical Services Manager - Laboratories and Logistics and supported by a number of colleagues who said: 

"Anything regarding CAD stated by Donald (Ballance) equally applies to Ewan's contribution to the CAD component in BME Skills 2 where his involvement has been instrumental to developing this part of the course." (Dr Henrik Gollee, Head of Biomed Engineering Teaching Division)

"Overall Ewan is invaluable to the running of this course, provides exceptional support, and has helped develop and introduce innovations to the course. This has hugely benefitted the learning of first year Engineering students." (Dr Donald Ballance, Lecturer Mechanical Engineering)

"Ewan has led the way in providing blended and online content for students many years before the Covid-19 rush to e-learning... I do regard Ewan not only as a support technician but as an equal partner in working with the students towards their academic progression both in terms of practical skills and in conceptual understanding of design methods." (Dr James Sharp, Lecturer Mechanical Engineering)"

"Ewan has been amazing at innovating and leading in CAD teaching across multiple courses and should be recognised for the fantastic work he does in innovating in this and working with the students." (Prof Fiona Bradley, Head of Civil Engineering Teaching Division)

"Ewan has been instrumental in defining Eng Skills 1 project for BME and is leading CAD part of Mech Design 2. He initiated translation to Fusion 2 that improved quality of design and enabled students to do more sophisticated FME analysis and learn about mech properties of different materials. For MSc projects it enabled me to offer novel projects that are appropriate for distance learning. I would not be able to run these courses on a high standard without his help."  (Dr Alexandra Vuckovic, Lecturer Biomed Engineering)

2021 Runners Up

John Pediani, Research Technologist, Research Institute Molecular Cell & Systems Biology

Nominated for his innovative work around Teaching and Research in the face of the challenges presented by Covid-19.  As a teacher of both undergraduate and postgraduate students, John updated his FRET lecture by introducing single molecule FRET (i.e. ALEX FRET) using TIRF microscopy. To present this work successfully John created movie animations of donor and acceptor molecules interacting with one another using TIRF microscopy.

John overcame the obstacles of Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions by creating 4 online video tutorial practical lessons (using Capture Wiz software) uploaded to the GU Moodle 2 website so that the students could safely complete their FRET exercise course work off campus. This still gave the students the opportunity to learn techniques involved in FRET without the hands on experience.

To cover Image Manipulation training with regards to the Institutes Research Integrity training, John suggested a Zoom 'Image Manipulation Workshop' for staff and post-graduate students, which was attended by over 50 Technical/Academic staff and Post Graduate students from within the institute and from other parts of the College. This was a really important workshop in the defining Image Manipulation within Microscopy.

Johns research work has seen him use Fluorescence Fluctuation Spectrometry Suite Software, and he worked closely with the software companies to link with SpIDA software. He has also successfully linked 2c SpIDA program to work in MATLAB. 

John has continued his research work and has gained co-authorship on a scientific paper Ward R.J, Pediani J.D., Marsango S, Jolly R, Stoneman M. R., Biener G, Handel T.M., Raicu V, Milligan G, Chemokine receptor CXCR4 oligomerization is disrupted selectively by the antagonist ligand IT1t, Journal of Biological Chemistry (2021)

John developed and produced a section on the Institute website covering Bioimaging, an extremely useful resource in identifying the services the Institute can provide to staff and students as well as providing specialist technical advice on Bioimaging. 

Nicholas Scott, Technician, James Watt School of Engineering

In response to the challenges presented by Covid-19 restrictions, Nicholas implemented creative solutions to develop virtual laboratories for the engineering students. His innovative contribution in support of the student experience was to create the interface to control equipment remotely to run engineering labs. His utmost drive was to enhance the students' learning because of the situation that they were facing where they could not get real experience using lab equipment.

He recreated real oscilloscopes and waveform generators using LabVIEW software that mimicked the exact behaviour of the equipment. Once these were developed, the equipment in the lab was connected to live experiments and the students were able to control the equipment remotely.  This has paved the way to create remote controlled labs that can be used in different scenarios and has helped staff to have a larger reach of students. For example, students in Scotland and China can learn the basics of circuit design remotely. Even if some students cannot travel to Scotland for any particular reason, they do not have to miss on hands on learning if they can access the laboratories remotely.  This enhances the learning and teaching because it is now possible to offer quality education to students all around the world. Exploitation of the virtually controlled labs will improve education and make the university course more complete and convenient for students.

Nicholas' creation was so complete that it helped to create labs for Electrical circuits 2, Analogue Electronics 1 and 2, and can be adapted for any other lab that requires an oscilloscope and waveform generator. His creation demonstrates how committed he is to the students and their learning.