Dr Sabrina Fairchild, GW4 Talent and Skills Manager, spoke about our regional approach to the Technician Commitment at the virtual Technician Commitment Signatory Event on Thursday 5 November.
The aim of GW4WARD is to enhance the visibility and development of GW4 technical staff . The scheme supports technical 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.
Professor Jonathan Knight, Chair of GW4 Board and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (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 provide benefits not only to the economy and communities of our region, but also nationally, and globally.
“Two years ago, the University of Bath joined founding signatories of the Technician Commitment, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, backing the pledge to support our technical staff. More recently, our technical staff have played a key role in responding to the COVID-19 crisis, collaborating to provide vital supplies to key workers and front-line NHS staff, as well as maintaining crucial facilities during lockdown.
“I am therefore delighted that we are now able to showcase our regional approach at the Technician Commitment Signatory Event, having launched GW4WARD to support all our technical staff and celebrate the fantastic work they do across the GW4 Alliance.”
Dr Anneke Lubben, Chair of the GW4 Technical Infrastructure and Knowledge Group and 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.”
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.
The GW4 Alliance has around 1300 technical staff working across the four institutions, often acting as the linchpin in University departments, operating and maintaining facilities and providing valuable expertise and intellectual input to enable high quality teaching and research.
All four GW4 institutions are signed up to the Technician Commitment, which launched in 2017 to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research, across all disciplines.
A key strength of the Technician Commitment is the community of practice that has developed through the biannual signatory events. While unable to meet in person his year, the online meeting included a series of short presentations from signatory and stakeholder organisations and opportunities for attendees to network and share best practice.
The Technician Commitment is a university and research institution initiative, led by a steering board of sector bodies, with support from the Science Council and the Technicians Make It Happen campaign.