UK-wide Technician Commitment launched

Posted by pt91 at May 31, 2017 03:34 PM |
University of Leicester is founding signatory for new pledge to support technicians

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 31 May 2017

Today, more than 35 universities and research institutions from across the UK – including the University of Leicester -have backed a pledge to support their technicians. The Technician Commitment is a sector-wide initiative led by the Science Council, supported by the Gatsby Foundation to help address key challenges facing technical staff working in research.

Five target areas have been identified, which universities and institutions will work to improve to safeguard vital technical skills. The commitment will ensure greater visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians across all disciplines. In addition, institutions will assess the impact of actions to support their commitment.

The commitment was launched today at the Higher Education Technicians Summit in Warwick. Following a panel discussion with representatives from the funding, higher education and research communities, a video unveiled the news that dozens of institutions have signed up to become founding signatories.

Professor Paul Monks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science and Engineering at the University of Leicester, said: “The support technicians play are the lifeblood of academic research and teaching in a university.   They play a myriad of often unseen roles and bring skills and expertise not available elsewhere.   We are signing the commitment as an affirmation of visibility, recognition, development and sustainability of technical roles in university research and teaching.   I know from personal experience that my own research would not be able to function and deliver without technical support.   We see our support for the technicians charter as a high-profile commitment from our University to our technical staff.   We will be working over the coming months to turn this into clear delivery of change.”

At the Summit, two technicians from the University’s Department of Engineering were shortlisted for national Papin Prize awards.

The awards recognise the skills, talent and experience of technicians who have demonstrated excellence in their field, across the UK and Ireland.

Julian Jones, Mechanical Laboratories Manager, is nominated in the Infrastructure category. Vinay Patel, Mechanics of Materials Experimental Officer, has been shortlisted in the Research category.

The commitment comes at a key time as the demand for technicians is increasing. More than 1.5 million technicians currently work in the UK, which is expected to rise by around 70,000 each year. Vice Chancellors and Directors of Research Institutes from leading institutions across the UK have recognised the need to ensure sustainability by safeguarding technical skills across their organisations by utilising and developing expertise.

Belinda Phipps, CEO of the Science Council, said: “The Science Council has been working to increase the visibility and professional recognition of technicians and to improve their development opportunities at all career stages. We are delighted to be leading on the Technician Commitment and to be working with partners across the higher education and research sector to elevate the status and profile of technicians. By working collectively we can ensure the future prosperity of technical skills in higher education and research.”

Nigel Thomas, Executive Director, Gatsby Education, said: “We at Gatsby recognise the importance of technicians across industry, and are pleased to be supporting the implementation of the Technician Commitment. The number of founding signatories shows how valued technicians are to the research community, and we hope that the commitment will reassure technicians that their needs are being listened to by senior leaders.”

In addition to the Technician Commitment, a Twitter campaign was launched at the Summit to increase the visibility of UK technicians. #ActualLivingTechnician invites technical staff to share their work on social media through pictures and stories.

To find out more about the Technician Commitment, visit www.technicians.org.uk/techniciancommitment or contact Kelly Vere k.vere@sciencecouncil.org

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Founding Signatories

Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, Canterbury Christ Church University, Cardiff University, University of Central Lancashire, Cranfield University, University of Essex, University of Exeter, University of Hertfordshire, Imperial College London, Institute of Cancer Research, James Hutton Institute, John Innes Centre, Keele University, King’s College London, Lancaster University, University of Leicester, London South Bank University, Loughborough University, Newcastle University, University of Nottingham, University of Manchester, Open University, University of Oxford, Plymouth University, University of Reading, University of Sheffield, University of Strathclyde, University of Surrey, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Warwick, University College London, University of the West of England, University of York

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