Collage of technicians in their workplace

Technician Commitment has “exceeded everyone’s expectations” says Lord Sainsbury

Last year the Technician Commitment was launched. One year on, 75 institutions have pledged to transform how they support their technical staff: representing more than 50% of UK universities and a number of world-leading institutions.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Settlor of the Gatsby Foundation which has provided support of the Commitment since its launch, unveiled Technician Commitment: One year in at the Tower of London on Tuesday 6th November. The report documents key themes emerging across the sector; most notably a distinct change in culture driving the professionalisation of technician roles and formal recognition of the vital role of technicians working to enable research and teaching.

The Technician Commitment comes at a key time as the UK faces a shortage of technicians across all industries and sectors.

What has been achieved in just the first year has exceeded all expectations. Rather than simply getting their house in order and putting a plan together, the vast majority of early signatories have forged ahead and already made significant changes. Demonstrable progress has been achieved both within institutions and across the sector more widely.

Lord Sainsbury

Through the Technician Commitment, four key areas have been identified to improve and safeguard vital technical skills in higher education and research. A year after backing the Technician Commitment, signatories are required to complete a self-assessment exercise and submit a two-year action plan to the Technician Commitment steering board.

The steering board of sector bodies including Wellcome Trust, Advance HE and UKRI met earlier this year to assess progress towards delivering greater visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians across all disciplines.

The report shows that signatories have already initiated programmes of work to identify and develop clear career pathways for technical colleagues, and are demonstrating a desire to safeguard technical skills which has led to the development of new apprenticeships and opportunities to further drive talent.

The report received a positive reception at the Tower of London event, where a number of new signatories were also revealed: University of Bath, Coventry University, Durham University, Falmouth University, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, University of Roehampton, University of Southampton, Staffordshire University, and York St John University.

To date, 23 of the 24 Russell Group universities have backed the Commitment.

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, Chief Executive of the Russell Group

Kelly Vere, Technician Commitment Lead, said: “The shift in culture in the first year of the Technician Commitment, in terms of how technician roles across higher education and research are viewed, valued, recognised, developed and sustained is undeniable.We are delighted with the progress to date and look forward to continuing our work with signatories to ensure that technicians are afforded the esteem they so richly deserve.”

Technician Commitment signatories

University of Aberdeen, Anglia Ruskin University, Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, Canterbury Christ Church University, Cardiff University, University of Central Lancashire, University of Chester, Cranfield University, De Montfort University, University of East Anglia, University of Edinburgh, University of Essex, University of Exeter, Francis Crick Institute, University of Glasgow, Harper Adams University, University of Hertfordshire, Imperial College London, Institute of Cancer Research (London), James Hutton Institute, John Innes Centre, Keele University, University of Kent, King’s College London, Lancaster University, University of Leeds, University of Leicester, University of Lincoln, University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moore University, London South Bank University, Loughborough University, University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, MRC Harwell Institute, Newcastle University, University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, Plymouth University, Queen Mary University of London, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Reading, Royal Holloway University of London, University of Salford, University of Sheffield, University of St Andrews, University of Stirling, University of Strathclyde, University of Surrey, The Open University, The Sainsbury Laboratory, University College Birmingham, University College London, University for the Creative Arts (UCA), University of Warwickshire, Wellcome Sanger Institute, University of the West of England, University of Winchester, University of York, Writte University College

Technician Commitment steering board

Gatsby Foundation, Science Council, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Medical Research Council (MRC), Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA), Wellcome Trust, King’s College London, University of Nottingham, Office for Students, Advance HE, Careers Research & Advisory Centre Ltd (CRAC), Chartered Institute for IT (BCS), Engineering Council.