University staff shortlisted for Times Higher Education awards 2023


University of Liverpool colleagues have been shortlisted for three Times Higher Education Awards this year.

IT and AV Technician Michael Bayliss, the ‘On the Beach’ team and Dr Catherine Queen from the Department of Geography and Planning have all been shortlisted.

Outstanding Technician of the Year

Michael Bayliss, IT and AV Technician in the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures has been nominated for Outstanding Technician of the Year award.

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Michael was nominated for his contribution to teaching across the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures (University of Liverpool), a true model for collaboration between academic and technical staff in teaching innovation.

As a Technician, Michael always performs well beyond what is expected of him: this year he led the teaching team in podcasting for a Spanish module, taught subtitling, political radio broadcasting, and writing for radio. Michael teaches the audio and video technology elements in an innovative, supportive and professional manner, making his contribution integral to the success of the modules.

Michael’s input is central to the modules’ pedagogical design and to students achieving learning outcome. Michael has also played a key role in supporting staff to develop their training and leading them in using technology-based and student-led learning methods in the classroom, allowing staff and students to truly thrive.

Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year

From the Institute of Population Health, ‘On the Beach: VR Mental Wellbeing for Students on Placement’ have been nominated for Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year.

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The team developed a unique virtual reality (VR) tropical island environment to help address mental wellbeing issues faced by University students undertaking industrial and clinical placements. The 3D immersive VR environment uses 3D headsets to place users on a realistic, interactive tropical beach where students and tutors can engage.

The island has waves, insects, birds, mammals and a range of tropical plants and transports students from what can be lonely residential spaces into a safe place where they can relax and be mindful. There are dedicated zones on the island where students can have confidential discussions with support tutors, meet each other socially via customisable avatar figures or undertake formal group peer reflection.

Students enjoyed being able to escape and reduce anxiety, while the ability to meet other students in the environment via their avatars was warmly welcomed.

International Collaboration of the Year

Dr Catherine Queen from Department of Geography and Planning is part of the ‘Cities Alive: Designing cities that work for women’, collaboration with Arup and the United Nations Development Programme and has been nominated for International Collaboration of the Year.

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This published work found that designing cities that are responsive to the needs of women creates safer, healthier, fairer and more enriching places for all. It also provides practical, actionable guidance for urban practitioners, city leaders and decision-makers on how to create more gender-equitable cities.

Combining the knowledge and skills from the three diverse partners, and supported by students from the University of Liverpool, research encompassed 50 global locations, 20 countries and six continents. The publication, launched by the UNDP on World Habitat Day 2022, has sparked a truly international conversation reaching audiences in excess of 1 million through conferences and social media.

The publication recently triumphed at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Research Excellence winning the Planning Practitioner Award. The team received the award at the UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference which took place last week.

Further information

To view the full shortlist for the THE Awards 2023, please visit:

This year's winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday 7 December 2023, concluding day two of THE Campus Live UK&IE which takes place in Liverpool.