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University of Warwick science technician up for prestigious award

Phil AstonA University of Warwick scientist has made the shortlist for the prestigious title of West Midlands Chemistry Technician of the Year.

Mass Spectrometry Technician Philip Aston is one of nine hopefuls hoping to take home the award, which will be handed out at a special ceremony on September 15.

The award has been set up to recognise excellence in technical work in support of chemical sciences across the wide spectrum of activities which utilise and depend on chemistry-based technicians in the West Midlands

Philip said he was shocked to have made the shortlist, especially because he had only been doing the job for a matter of months.

“It was a bit of a surprise at first. I’m really, really happy and proud that someone thought about putting my name forward for it,” he added.

“I never thought I would go through because I only started the job in October.”

Philip was put forward for the award by the University’s chemistry research fellow Ana Mario Pizarro who was impressed with his attitude from day one.

She said:  “Phil takes great pride in his work and goes above and beyond the call of duty dispensing valuable advice. He has assisted students and post-docs in the research group where I work several times even helping repair instruments not under his care when we required his expertise.“Mass Spectrometry facilities in the Department of Chemistry are world class and Phil has had a positive impact upon the team and the department as a whole. He has enabled the service to run as a well-oiled machine, running samples, carrying out the training of students and instrument maintenance.”

The award ceremony is taking place as part of the British Festival of Science at Aston University between September 14-19.

Nominations for the three awards were open to anyone providing technical support to those working in chemical sciences from Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent,

 The award has been developed in partnership between University of Warwick, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Advantage West Midlands, University of Aston and HEaTeD to recognise excellence in technical work in support of chemical sciences across all sectors, including business, education, research and government in the region. 

Notes to Editors
 The other nominees are:
Andrew Anetts, King Edward VI School, Birmingham
Ange Ress, Nunnery Wood High School, Worcester
David Walter, Aston University, Birmingham
Kim Cockerill, Avon Valley School, Rugby
Mike Reilly, Manor Park School, Nuneaton
Paul Tack, Aston University, Birmingham
Susan Izon, Heart of England School, Balsall Common
Walter Goodman, The Woodlands School, Coventry  

For more details contact Luke Hamer, Assistant Press Officer, University of Warwick, on 02476 575601, or on 07824 541142, or email

From August 27, contact Alison Rowan, Strategy Officer, University of Warwick, on 02476 150423, or on 07876 218166, or email