Helen Sharman standing in a laboratory

IST appoints Helen Sharman OBE as their new President

Science Council member, the Institute of Science and Technology appointed Helen Sharman OBE as its new President on 19th October 2015. Helen will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the IST team and to the technical community at large.

Helen’s commitment to raising the profile of technical staff was demonstrated when she attended the inaugural 2015 Higher Education Technicians’ Summit earlier this year as a high-profile keynote speaker; a summit which was partnered by the Science Council. The summit celebrated the talent and achievements of technicians – the ‘unsung heroes’ of UK higher education – and was the first of its kind.

She started her career with a degree in chemistry from the University of Sheffield before working in industry for GEC and Mars Confectionary. Helen then became the first British astronaut when she launched into space on board a Soyuz spacecraft on 18th May 1991. After her space flight Helen became a science communicator before starting a new career in management, working at the National Physical Laboratory and at Kingston University London, before moving to Imperial College in the summer of 2015.

On her appointment Helen says,

“I am delighted to be the IST’s new President. Having worked in technical and managerial positions in manufacturing, research and education, I am aware of the vital part technical staff play.”

Helen adds,

“As the IST is the leading professional body for the technical community I am looking forward to working with the chairman Terry Croft and the IST’s committees to support specialist, technical and managerial staff, professionally and to highlight the positive impact of these roles. Whether it be through professional qualifications, team dynamics or otherwise, I believe that technical staff deserve full and proper recognition.”

In announcing the appointment, IST chairman Terry Croft says,

“I am looking forward to working with Helen. Our combined experience will ensure that we continue to deliver the services and support provided by the IST to the technical community and to continue to develop and enhance the technicians’ profile. As the“voice” of the technical community the IST made this key appointment to ensure this mission continues to move forward in raising the profile of the Professional Technician.”

Photo credit: Thomas Angus, Imperial College photographer