university technician

Launch of Technician Commitment

The Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham has backed a national pledge to support technicians working in higher education.

Professor Sir David Greenaway is one of more 35 signatories pledging support for The Technician Commitment: 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.

Launched today, the commitment has identified five target areas, which universities and institutions will work to improve to safeguard vital technical skills. It will ensure greater visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians across all disciplines.

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, and that figure 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.”

Earlier this month Neil Barnes, a senior technician in the School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham received one of the highest accolades from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) — the President’s Award for outstanding contributions to the dissemination, advancement or applications of chemical science.

Neil was nominated, not only for his excellence as a research technician but his support of generations of physical chemists and his ‘extraordinary role’ in popularising chemistry via YouTube where he has attracted thousands of fans across the world.

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