GW4 launches new scheme to drive forward technical staff

August 26, 2020

GW4 is launching a new initiative, called GW4WARD, designed to enhance and drive forward the professional development of technical staff across the Alliance.

Technical staff play a critical role in helping to advance research and innovation programmes across the GW4 institutions of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, and Exeter.

The aim of GW4WARD is to enhance the visibility and development of GW4 technical staff . The scheme will support these staff to gain recognition of their knowledge, experience, and leadership skills within and across the GW4 institutions.

As part of GW4WARD, technical staff will be able to apply for funding and guidance to become members of professional bodies and learned societies. The GW4WARD travel bursary scheme encourages technical staff to visit other GW4 institutions to develop networks, gain experience and develop skills. Technical staff can also collaborate and share best practice through a series of webinar discussions featuring external speakers.

Dr Anneke Lubben, Head of the Material and Chemical Characterisation Facility at the University of Bath said: “I am delighted to see GW4 recognise the important contribution technical staff make to research and teaching. The GW4 Alliance already provides a fantastic platform for research collaboration, equipment sharing and training so I am pleased to see them build on this with a specific programme for technical staff. It is an honour to be involved with GW4WARD and help to support fellow technical staff across GW4 in achieving their full potential and being recognised for their significant skills and experience.”

Professor Jonathan Knight, incoming Chair of GW4 Board and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Bath said: “Our technical staff are a highly valued and crucial part of the excellent teaching and research that takes place across the GW4 Alliance. They are essential to the success of our research and innovation programmes, which benefit not only the economy and communities of our region, but also at a national and international scale.

“More recently, technical staff have also played a key role in our universities’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis, providing supplies to key workers, supporting vital research, and maintaining labs and crucial facilities during lockdown. I’m proud and excited that GW4 is launching GW4WARD to support all our technical staff and celebrate the fantastic work they do across the GW4 Alliance.”

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of scientific research for making and implementing policy, and the critical role of technical staff in both research and teaching. Technical staff across GW4 have been involved in the COVID-19 testing and research effort directly and by maintaining essential equipment and facilities. They have also coordinated the production and donation of thousands of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies to key workers and front-line NHS staff.

The GW4 Alliance has around 1300 technical staff working across the four institutions, often acting as the linchpin in any University department, operating and maintaining facilities and providing valuable expertise and intellectual input to enable high quality teaching and research.

All GW4 Universities are members of the Technicians Commitment which aims to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technical staff working in higher education and research, across all disciplines.