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Technician Commitment has “exceeded everyone’s expectations” says Lord Sainsbury in “One year in” report

07 Nov 2018 | Advance HE Advance HE is proud to support 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 higher education and research

Advance HE is proud to support 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 higher education and research. Professor Sally Bradley, Senior Adviser, Advance HE, sits on the Steering Group for the Technician Commitment and played a key part in the development of this initiative, which was launched last year.

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 the One Year In report at the Tower of London last night. 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.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Settlor of the Gatsby Foundation, said: “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.”

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 including the University of Bath. 

Professor Sally Bradley, Senior Adviser at Advance HE, said: ““I am delighted to hear of the impact the Technician Commitment has made in one year.  Not only has the Technician Commitment raised the profile of the invaluable contribution technicians make to teaching, learning and research but in getting technical staff recognised professionally.  Their contribution  has also been recognised in the Teaching Excellence Framework submissions further raising their profile. This has been supported by  Advance HE through HEA Fellowships and the  Athena SWAN Charter.”

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.”

You can download Technician Commitment: One year in


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, Canfield 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 

New signatories - 6 November 2018

University of Bath, Coventry University, Durham University, Falmouth University, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, University of Roehampton, University of Southampton, Staffordshire University, York St John University 

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.


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