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Our commitment to technical staff

In May 2017, the ICR signed the Technician Commitment, a national initiative across higher education and research across all disciplines. The four areas of action of the Technician Commitment are:

  • visibility
  • recognition
  • career development, and
  • sustainability for technical staff.

Scientist in goggles

Female scientist in goggles. Credit: Andrew Brookes.

The Technician Commitment

The ICR is a founding signatory of the Technician Commitment, and is committed to meeting the ‘best practice’ standards to support the careers of our highly qualified technical staff. Now, more than half of UK universities and research institutions have joined. 

Technical staff at the ICR

The ICR employs over 450 highly skilled technical staff who have a broad range of expertise. Our technical staff play a crucial part in the scientific research achievements of the ICR. They have worked tirelessly to organise the closing and re-opening of our labs during COVID-19.

Without the support of our technical staff, our researchers wouldn’t be able to further the ICR's mission - to make the discoveries that defeat cancer.

What we've achieved so far

Since we signed up to the Technical Commitment, we have expanded our career development support for scientific professional roles. We’ve also built cross-institutional partnerships with other research institutes.

Technical roles have become more visible within our organisation. For example, we now regularly publish articles on our intranet celebrating scientific officers’ accomplishments.

The Scientific Officer Association has played a key role in supporting scientific officers, including:

  • giving out travel and training bursaries
  • organising a Lunch and Learn series, and
  • organising an annual technical conference with their peers.

Together with our Research Institute Technician Commitment Group (RITG) partners (Babraham Institute, Medical Research Council, John Innes Centre, Francis Crick Institute and Sanger Institute), we have run events to support technical staff in their career development. These events include the RITS2019 symposium, a ‘career development for technicians’ event that joined together technical staff from all partner institutions.

Next steps

This year, in collaboration with the Science Council, we are launching a professional registration pilot programme. This will support technical staff getting external, independent recognition of their skills and competencies.

One of our main objectives for 2021 is to create a wider Technician Commitment Steering group, which will include faculty members, core facilities and human resources. This group will raise awareness of the issues that affect technical staff and support the Technician Commitment both internally and externally.

Action plans

Find out more about what has already been achieved and what we plan to do next in our action plans.

2021-2023 ICR Technician Commitment Action Plan (PDF, 100KB)

2018-2020 ICR Technician Commitment Action Plan (PDF, 264KB)