Technical staff from Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter universities can access new funding to help further their careers thanks to a new initiative launched by the GW4 Alliance today (1 February).
The GW4WARD Collaboration Fund is a small grants scheme offering awards up to £500 for collaborative professional development activities across the Alliance. The aim is to encourage peer-led training and development, and thematic community building around technical specialisms.
This funding opportunity is an open call, with applications set to be reviewed by the GW4 Technical Knowledge and Infrastructure Working Group at bi-monthly meetings, starting on 18 February.
Activities must involve technicians from at least two GW4 institutions. However, applications that will benefit or upskill other GW4 technical staff are encouraged, such as sharing best practices, knowledge in equipment, techniques or resources, or learnings gained from training events.
The scheme supports the aims of GW4WARD – to enhance the visibility and development of the 1,300 technical staff employed across GW4’s four universities, who play a vital role in supporting research, teaching and daily operational requirements.
All four institutions are signatories to the Technician Commitment, a pledge to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research, across all disciplines.
The Collaboration Fund evolved from the GW4 Technical Staff Travel Bursary Scheme, which was paused due to Covid-19 restrictions.
GW4 Alliance Director Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE said this new initiative has been created to offer greater flexibility of funding, enabling technicians to deliver activities they find most useful – for instance, joint workshops, training, job shadowing or visits to other GW4 institutions.
“As supporters of the Technician Commitment, it is crucial that we continue to invest in our technical staff who not only underpin high-quality research and innovation across the Alliance but whose capabilities will fulfil the UK Government’s ambition to increase investment in research and development,” Dr Jenkinson added.