N8 universities make national technician pledge in response to new report

Universities of the N8 Research Partnership have announced they will commit to implementing recommendations from a national policy commission report published in 2022.

Compilation of images from technician week

The TALENT commission report, which was published in February 2022, aims to strengthen the future of technical skills and staff in higher education and research. 

The report outlines 16 overarching recommendations for employers, funders, government, policymakers, professional bodies, learned societies and technicians to collectively ensure that the UK has the technical skills, roles and careers required across academia, research, education and innovation. 

The University of Leeds, alongside the other seven N8 universities, has pledged to action the TALENT Commission employer recommendations.  

The N8 statement, which can be viewed here, sets out the collective commitment to advance the culture and environment for research technical professionals who make vital contributions to each institution. 

16 extensive recommendations were presented for a wide range of institutions including policy makers, funders, government in which N8 has addressed collectively in their statement sharing themes of inclusivity, data analysis and opportunity. 

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation said: ‘’Technicians and technical staff are fundamental to our university life, enabling our high-quality student education and research and innovation activities. 
‘’The collective commitment shown by this N8 statement will help to deliver a collaborative change in culture and influence how we increase the visibility, recognise excellence and establish career pathways and sustainability for our excellent technical community’’. 

This includes providing opportunities to technical staff across all levels, as well as taking a strategic approach to the sustainability of technical skills and careers, looking at investing in development and new positions such as the appointment of a designated and resourced institutional strategic lead. 
Dr Annette Bramley, Executive Director of the N8 Research Partnership, said: “For too long, technicians have not received the respect, support or recognition they deserve within the research community. The TALENT commission’s report was a vital step in changing that, and our response serves as a statement of intent for how we will improve the working environments and career pathways for research technical professionals. “ 

Jennie Hibbard, Technician Lead for the Technician Commitment commented: ‘’This is fantastic news. The commitment from the N8 Universities to implement the recommendations from the TALENT Commission report will allow us to continue to build on the support we already have within our University, and to work more collaboratively with colleagues across the N8 to bring about meaningful change for technicians across the region’’. 

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