UCISA24 Awards Rising Star shortlisted nominees


Rising Star

The UCISA Rising Star Award seeks to recognise an emerging leader in digital technology. Demonstrating ongoing technical and creative expertise as well as growth in responsibility and leadership.


Helen Browne

Helen consistently delivers excellence in a very demanding Digital Transformation role as well as delivering excellent staff and student experience in her customer support role. This has been recognised in Queen’s, not only with multiple performance awards, but also this year with a staff excellence award.

Helen makes a positive impact on all our users on a daily basis as they use their email, securely logging into our systems and services without a problem and will never know about Helen. Helen works quietly in the background and goes about her work in a quiet and humble manner, however if you were to ask any member of staff in D&IS who they would go to if they had an issue, the answer would be "Helen".

Helen is very supportive, not only to colleagues within the directorate but all who interact with her. Her collaborative and inclusive nature means that interacting with Helen always feels like a learning opportunity. Her knowledge of her area of responsibility and system management is unrivalled within the organisation. Helen has an uncanny ability to have a calming influence, even in the midst of a crisis and also has the ability to think clearly and logically in such demanding situations. Most importantly Helen's desire to help and her hard work attitude combined with her ability to go the extra mile whilst taking pride in her work really makes a massive positive difference to all at Queen's!


Liam Crabb

Liam leads the Technical Services team, providing inclusive support to all the end user technology used in our teaching, meeting, social, working, and collaborative spaces, across the entire university. In his central role Liam supports over 2000 colleagues, 25000 students using a wide array of technology in over 500 teaching, meeting, and social spaces.  

To achieve this Liam has had to have a clear strategy, strong team management and leadership skills, a compelling vision for the customer service culture he wishes to create and deliver. His instinctively collaborative approach has enabled him to work collegiately across boundaries. By modelling and inspiring an institutional ‘doing it together’ approach he has been able to operationally execute this over a challenging, academically diverse, and geographically disparate physical estate. 

Liam has created a fantastic service model and culture within his team, and demonstrated to colleagues across the institution the value of having experts provide a super service, and how such experts bring a level of sophistication and customer satisfaction never previously possible. We are now able to use what we have created in areas such as practice suites, meeting and teaching rooms, as readily identifiable standards that now become the norm in any new build, or refurb that we deliver.   

Sabah Meraj

Since joining our team in the summer of 2022, Sabah has exhibited exceptional qualities in building relationships and providing invaluable support to various departments in her role as a Service Delivery Manager. Sabah’s skills, dedication and commitment to service were most evident during a Cyber Incident that significantly impacted all facets of the University in June 2023.

Sabah is able to build strong foundational relationships upon which a collaborative approach delivers significant improvements to our services. She can draw on her previous work experiences in continuous improvement and business analysis and harness them in her current role.

Sabah's impact on our organization goes beyond individual achievements, reflecting a commitment to formalizing processes and standardizing communication channels. Her approach ensures that all stakeholders are aligned, sharing issues, challenges, and opportunities for improvement consistently.

Through this approach, Sabah has not only improved the efficiency of our operations but has also set the groundwork for sustained growth. Sabah's efforts have not gone unnoticed. Positive feedback from stakeholders, particularly in the creation of a working group and service review pack for P&OD, demonstrates the value she brings to the organization. The willingness to organize onsite visits and understand pain points at P&OD reception exemplifies Sabah's commitment to actively engaging with stakeholders.

Sabah's exceptional transformational impact, commitment to a service-first approach, courage in driving initiatives, and outstanding business continuity support during the Cyber Incident make her an exemplary candidate for the UCISA Rising Star Award. Sabah's leadership and positive impact on our organization resonate with the qualities sought after by this prestigious recognition.


And the winner was .....

Sabah Meraj

Unfortunately Sabah was unable to join us on the night so the award was collected by one of their colleagues from the University of Manchester

4 people of a stage smiling