The Royal Society Hauksbee Award Winner: The ‘Technicians: We Make the Difference’ 100 Technicians

Today, it was announced that The ‘Technicians: We Make the Difference’ 100 Technicians, including Star Refrigeration’s Tom Woolston and Sam Gills, were awarded The Royal Society Hauksbee Award, for their tireless efforts in tackling the critical technician skills shortage and their invaluable contributions to various industries.

The Royal Society Hauksbee Award is given for outstanding achievements in science to an individual or team whose work is mostly ‘behind the scenes’ or supporting, including technicians, research office staff or other contributors who might not normally be recognised.

The 100 Technicians have been found and championed in both Technicians: The David Sainsbury Gallery, a free, permanent, interactive gallery at the Science Museum, and Technicians: We Make the Difference, the national campaign by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. Both were made possible by the expertise and collaboration of over 100 technicians across the country, from a wide variety of industries. Aimed at 11-16 year-olds, both address the shortage of technicians and celebrate the vital but often hidden role technicians play in all our lives, with the ultimate aim of increasing the number of young people considering technician careers.

Since its doors opened to the public on 3rd November 2022, the Technicians Gallery has received around half a million visitors. It showcases the unsung heroes of sectors such as advanced manufacturing, creative industries, health science and renewable energy through one-of-a-kind interactive exhibits. Visitors have the chance to go behind the scenes with technicians, explore where they work, hear their inspirational stories, and experience daily life as a technician. Created in collaboration with partners such as the NHS, Marvel Studios and National Grid, visitors also have the opportunity to handle essential items technicians use every day and replicate the important tasks technicians perform.

At the Technicians Gallery, some of the winning technicians also host interactive ‘Meet an Employee’ workshops for schools where KS3 and KS4 students meet a technician from a partner organisation and experience what it’s like to do their job, through hands-on activities or Q&A sessions.

Of the 100 Technicians recognised, Tom Woolston of Star Refrigeration said “I’m honored to be a part of this award and aspire for it to support individuals in less typical technical positions, like those in the RACHP industry, feel acknowledged and appreciated!

As always a massive thank you to Star Refrigeration for ensuring young technicians have the opportunity to develop to the best of their abilities. Kudos to everyone who played a part in this!”

Jessie Auguste, Cyber-Security Technician, CybSafe adds: “I’m excited to be included in this award and hope that it goes towards helping those in less recognised technical roles, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, feel seen and valued! I also hope it helps more young people who are unsure about their careers, see that they are wanted, needed and celebrated in the STEM industry.”

Commenting on the award, the gallery’s namesake, David Sainsbury said: “I am delighted to hear The ‘Technicians: We Make the Difference’ 100 Technicians have been awarded The Royal Society Hauksbee Award, and been recognised for generously offering their time, support, and input to the Technicians Gallery at the Science Museum and my Gatsby Foundation’s Technician’s campaign.

“Both projects aim to inspire the next generation of the technical workforce – engaging and inspiring 11-16-year-olds. The technicians have allowed their personal and career achievements to be prominently displayed, and their stories and career paths underpin much of the content within the exhibition and campaign. They have also enthusiastically supported the exhibition and campaign in many ways.

“On reading and hearing the stories and achievements of each of the many technicians involved, I could happily argue for each to be considered separately for the Hauksbee Award, but they have not individually sought the spotlight, and it is their collective voice which has been critical to addressing the nation’s huge technical skills shortage.

“The best figures we have for the number of vacancies today is provided by a NAO report in 2018 which calculated that there were 800,000 vacancies for apprentices and technicians at that time. And the situation can only have got worse since then. The introduction of the new system of T-levels provides the country for the first time with an effective system of technical education, and the voice and enthusiasm of the young technicians who have supported our two projects has played an important role in focusing people’s attention on the new scheme.” The Technicians: We Make the Difference website showcases 100 different technician roles, from an Architectural Technician and Digital Imaging Technician to a Space Engineering Technician, as well as the stories of the real-life examples of people in those roles as they talk about their day-to-day and what routes they took to get to where they are today.

To book a visit to the Technicians Gallery, please go to the Science Museum’s website here.


About Technicians: We Make the Difference

Technicians: We Make the Difference is a campaign by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation that aims to educate parents and young people alike on technician careers.

While some technicians work in a lab, most don’t. Technicians are making a difference across society, doing exciting and interesting jobs in almost all industries.

It’s their balance of scientific, engineering, or technological knowledge with skills like attention to detail and critical thinking that makes technicians special. That can be almost anything – from making a life-saving vaccine to working behind the scenes at a music festival.

And with thousands of other interesting technician roles across almost every kind of industry – there’s a good chance that there will be one out there that you would enjoy.

Find about more about how technicians make a difference every day via


Technicians: The David Sainsbury Gallery at the Science Museum

Aimed at 11-16 year-olds, this free interactive gallery seeks to change perceptions of technical careers and inspire the technicians of the future. Working with organisations such as Marvel Studios, NHS, National Grid and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the gallery will provide unique access into the world of technicians via interactive exhibits, with visitors able to try the tasks technicians perform and explore the remarkable stories of real-life technicians.

Funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the gallery helps address the urgent need for 800,000 additional technicians and apprentices across the STEM sector and provide vital careers education for young people.

The gallery opened to the public on 3rd November.


About The Royal Society

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

The Royal Society Hauksbee Award Winner: The ‘Technicians: We Make the Difference’ 100 Technicians

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