The Technician Commitment – five years on

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This year marks five years since the University signed the Technician Commitment, a pledge to support our technical staff through career development, visibility, recognition and sustainability. The University employs more than 1,000 technicians, including teaching and research technicians and staff working within core facilities.

Katarzyna working with DNA samples in biological safety cabinet

Here Bulletin shares some of the facts and figures from the milestones achieved during that time.

Building a community

The Technician Steering Committee includes 20 members from across Colleges and campuses with staff in a variety of roles. The committee meets quarterly and works to deliver the Action Plans that they create, share opportunities and best practice, recognise achievements, represent the University and create a visible, connected, community for technicians across the University. They also create a specific newsletter detailing new information and updates.

Find out more about the Technician Steering Committee

Find out more about the newsletters

Technician Champions

Each member of the committee is a Technician Commitment advocate but there are also 8 designated Technician Champions across our campuses. They aim to spread the word about the latest opportunities available to technical staff, represent technical staff in committees and increase visibility of technicians. Some key contacts are:

The King’s Buildings – Sally Morgan and Rennos Fragkoudis

Easter Bush – Keith Erskine

Western General Hospital – Lee Murphy (interim)

BioQuarter – Shonna Johnston, Carolynn Cairns and Takeshi Fujisawa

Biomedical Sciences (Central Area) – Mark Patrizio

Edinburgh College of Art – Neil Kempsell

Helping with Professional Registration

A presentation of professional registration certificates to a number of our technical staff

To date, 30 people have accessed funding to complete Professional Registration, which allows individuals to highlight their knowledge, understanding and competence. There are several professional registers available, including the Institute of Science and Technology, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the newly developed Creative Industries Award, which is designed for technicians working in the humanities. The University offers funding to any member of its technical staff who wishes to undertake this training and welcomes applications for the Professional Registration Fund.

Find out more about Professional Registration

Career development support

Opportunities for professional development for technicians have increased – 76 technical staff have attended the internal Aspiring Manager, Edinburgh Manager and Edinburgh Leader programmes over the past three years and many have since been involved in peer mentoring, supporting each other to consider leadership roles as part of their career progression. The Institute for Academic Development (IAD) and HR now provide career development tools and support available from within the University and beyond to technicians, including Take Charge of your Career.

Find out more about career development support for technicians

Public engagement

More than 20 outreach projects have taken place, providing vital visibility for people in technical roles. Particularly successful are the projects involving local schools, such as Meet a Scientist, offering the opportunity for children to talk to and find out more about technicians and learn that a technical job is a viable career option.

What’s next?

While much of the original action plans have now been achieved, there is still work  to be done and the current action plan builds upon this.

Larger research bodies are starting to take notice of this vital work. In 2021 the UKRI signed up to the Technician Commitment and more recently, Research Libraries UK has committed. In February 2022 the TALENT commission report was published that outlines 16 different recommendations for employers of technicians which provide a guide for future work at the University.


You can find out more about the work of the Technician Steering Committee and the support for technicians on their website.