Horticulture technician standing in a greenhouse

Half of UK universities back Technician Commitment

Today, universities and research institutions from across the UK 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 address key challenges facing technical staff working in research.

The commitment was launched in May 2017 and signed by 36 founding signatories, including several Russell Group universities and world-class institutions. Today at New Scientist Live (Excel London), Belinda Phipps, CEO of the Science Council announced that the number of signatories had reached 60 — representing nearly 50% of UK universities.

Through the Technician Commitment, five target areas have been identified to improve and safeguard vital technical skills. The pledge 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, 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 protect skills across their organisations by utilising and developing expertise.

Kelly Vere, Higher Education Engagement Manager, Science Council, said:

“Technicians are critical to the success of our universities and research institutes. The Technician Commitment is a sector wide, collaborative initiative to ensure elevated status, profile and opportunity for the technical community in higher education and research. We are delighted with the pace of engagement from the sector and look forward to working with all signatories and partners to ensure visibility, recognition, development and sustainability of technical skills and expertise”.

Kelly Vere, Science Council

Nigel Thomas, Executive Director, Gatsby Education, said:

“Technicians are a lynchpin of the UK economy and it is testament to the critical role of our country’s research technicians that almost half of all universities have signed-up to the Technician Commitment within just four months of its launch. With such a positive start, I am confident that the Commitment will be an initiative that the entire sector will want to be a part of.”

Nigel Thomas, Gatsby Education

Sir Paul Nurse, Director for the Francis Crick Institute, said:

“Laboratory research staff play an important role in research at the Crick and are pivotal to our long-term success. I am delighted to be involved in the Technician Commitment, and to be pledging support on behalf of the Francis Crick Institution in recognition of the contribution technicians make.”

Sir Paul Nurse, Francis Crick Institute

Dr Tim Bradshaw, Acting Director of the Russell Group, said:

“Our members could not deliver world-class research, teaching and knowledge-transfer without the work of skilled technical staff. The Technician Commitment will help ensure their contribution is fully recognised and I am pleased that Russell Group universities have played a key role in driving this initiative forward.”

Dr Tim Bradshaw, Russell Group

Find out more about the Technician Commitment on the website, or get in touch.