University backs new Technician Commitment

a techicnian working in a laboratory

The University of Liverpool has joined universities and research institutions from across the UK in backing a pledge to support 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. Last week in London at the New Scientist Live event, Belinda Phipps, CEO of the Science Council announced that the number of signatories had reached 60 — representing nearly 50% of UK universities.

The pledge was signed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Patrick Hackett and work to drive the commitment forward will be led by the University’s new Leadership, Organisational, Staff & Academic Development Academy (The Academy).

Dr James Howard, Director of The Academy, who was at the event last week, said: “We are proud to join other institutions across the UK in supporting this pledge. The Academy will be working with technicians and other colleagues from across the University to build on good practice and further enhance the work of this key group of staff.”

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”.

For more information about the Technician Commitment visit the website.

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