Engineering Laboratory

Lancaster University Technician Website

Our University has signed up to the Technician Commitment which is a university and research institution initiative, led by a steering group of sector bodies, with support from the Science Council and the Technicians Make It Happen campaign.

Technicians Commitment Action Plan, action plan for the next 3 years. We are currently halfway through year 2. It details what the steering group have planned and the progress from the University.

Technicians At Lancaster University

There are around 117 technician's at Lancaster University, with a wide variety in their roles it is not uncommon to have technical staff in each department. This pie chart shows the departments in which our technician's work.

3.1% Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
14.4% Faculty of Health and Medicine
22.6% Physics
7.1% Chemistry
25.7% Information Systems Services
10.2% Engineering
11.9% LEC
5.1% Other

Covid-19 Technician Heroes

Many thanks to all staff who contributed to the fight against Covid-19 over the summer (covid testing lab BLS, manufacture of NHS supplies Engineering, production of hand sanitizer Chemistry) and for all their continued hard work supporting research and teaching following the return from lock down. The success of teaching this term is testament to their sterling efforts. Additionally thanks to ISS technicians for keeping the University connected and aiding staff to adjust to the new technology required to work remotely. Well done all!

Technician Commitment Progress

We are in year 2 of the 3 year action plan, although a lot of work goes on behind the scenes the steering group continue to work hard to progress the goals of the technicians commitment

- Initial Meetings and allocation of steering group to represent all areas of technical member was on 12th September 2018.

- The Vice-Chancellor and Head of HR Paul Boustead have signed the technicians commitment on 1st May 2019

- Steering group Members are:

Chair: Richard Haley (Physics) Assistant Dean Level, John Dwyer (FHM) Initiator, Annette Robinson (HR), Andy Quin (FST Technical Director), Jayne May FST HR Partner, Jessica Fisher (Engineering) Apprentice Representation, Tim Gregson (LEC) Union Representation, Trevor Renninson (Facilities), Helen Quirk (Chemistry) Superintendent, Elizabeth Shaw (BLS) BLS Faculty Representation, Alexander Flahive (FASS) FASS Faculty Representation, Jennie Williams (HR) Administrator.

 The Technician website was launched on Wednesday 30th October 2019, at the first Technician Forum of this academic year.

The website is now live and can be found in the AtoZ on the intranet.

Helen Quirk and Jess Fisher have actions to keep the website maintained and up to date. 

 

Year 1 goals have been completed, some examples of these are:

- Present a Technician’s Commitment paper to the Faculty Research Committees to raise these two issues with faculty research committee chairs and make committees aware of ‘Technical Commitment’.  

- Map university wide committee structure 

- New webpage to be developed and case studies of technician’s careers present. 

- All LU technicians to be notified by email of relevant conferences and their attendance recorded. 

- A workshop on apprentice schemes to be programmed into a forthcoming Technical Forum. 

- FST to pilot technical representation on regrading committees. 

- Bimonthly group meetings established 

Ensure that University Senior management are aware of the contribution that technical workforce make by celebrating ‘Technicians Make it Happen’ news. 

A team from the steering group to meet bimonthly to review past actions and consider future ones. 

- Technical staff to be addressed in Athena SWAN applications. 

Technical Forum to incorporate annual technical conference with poster sessions and prizes.  

Invite rep(s) from the University senior management team to judge the posters. 

Explore the possibility of designated technical awards at Faculty and University levels. 

Map career pathways and ensure they are visible. 

Examples of Year 3 goals

Explore Lancaster University’s need for the Science Council’s ‘Employer Champions scheme 

Appropriate, induction, training development and CPD activities available. Ensuring sufficient funding is available to enable this. 

Accreditation of Teaching practice to Higher Education Academy to be investigated 

Secondment, placement and work shadowing programmes for technical staff to develop new skills to be investigated. 

Technician in the spotlight

Awards Won by Technical Staff

Other Technician Awards

There are many different awards that could be won by our technical staff, have a look at the link and nominate yourself or a colleague.

Other Technician Awards Page

Events of interest

Have you any work your proud of and want to share?
Anything good to celebrate, email Jess Fisher jessica.fisher@lancaster.ac.uk 

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  • The UK Higher Education Technicians Summit (HETS) 2021

    The UK’s biggest ever conference for technicians in Higher Education and research will be taking place in Nottingham on Wednesday 23rd June 2021. The UK Higher Education Technicians Summit (HETS) is dedicated to sharing best practice amongst technical staff working in higher education and research in the UK and Ireland.

    As a highly skilled workforce, around 30,000 technicians currently underpin research, teaching, knowledge transfer and innovation at UK universities, and many are researchers and educators in their own right, teaching and training students and researchers at every level.

    HETS 2021 is being held at the East Midlands Conference Centre at the University of Nottingham, and is sponsored by Midlands Innovation in partnership with the Science Council.

    Registrations for HETS 2021 and the nominations for the 2021 Papin Prizes will open in autumn 2020, but Technicians can sign-up here now to receive a notification of when registrations are open, and to receive eNews updates about further details about HETS 2021.

  • Calling all technicians: RI Christmas Lectures

    The Technician Commitment is once again partnering with the Royal Institution to offer two placements for technicians from Technician Commitment Signatory Institutions to work on the 2020 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures and applications are open now!

    Started by Michael Faraday (who began his career as a technician at the Royal Institution) in 1825, and now broadcast on national television every year, the Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures are the UK’s flagship science series. The Technician Commitment have teamed up with the Royal Institution to offer technical colleagues at signatory institutions the opportunity to work on the 2020 Christmas Lectures. Three expert scientists, Tara Shine, Chris Jackson and Helen Czerski, join forces to present the 2020 Christmas Lectures – Planet Earth: A user’s guide.

    Colleagues have the opportunity to go on placement to the Royal Institution to work as a runner on the programmes when they are filmed later this year. Tasks include working with the Royal Institution’s scientific props team and art department and supporting the camera crews and production team. Travel expenses and accommodation costs for those that live outside of central London will be provided. This offers a unique development opportunity for technical colleagues to gain insight and experience of science communication on a high profile stage.

    The Royal Institution are looking for colleagues:

    • With experience making props, equipment or exhibits out of fabric or wood
    • Who have excellent attention to detail
    • Who have a willingness to take responsibility for finding solutions to problems
    • Who are adaptable and willing to work in a team to meet immovable deadlines
    • Who are not afraid to ask questions to get a full understanding of specifications

    To apply, please send an expression of interest (up to one page), with details of why you’re suitable for the role to techscommit@gatsby.org.uk by the 14 September 2020.

    Filming takes place: Dates of placement: Thurs 3 Dec – Fri 4 Dec; Mon 7 Dec – Fri 11 Dec; Mon 13 Dec – Sat 19 Dec (total of 13 days)

    Interviews for the placements will take place with the Royal Institution team by Skype w/c 28 September.

    For further details on the experience please take a look at the blogs by the technicians who received the Technician Commitment Royal Institution placements in 2019 here: https://www.technicians.org.uk/blog-behind-the-scenes-at-the-ri-christmas-lectures and https://www.technicians.org.uk/blog-behind-the-scenes-at-the-ri-christmas-lectures-part-2

  • 21st January Free Event, HEaTED - University of Keele 10-12noon Theme: Apprenticeships

    This members only event is free to attend. We invite you to explore apprenticeships, hear exciting news on new apprenticeship standards and best practice in supporting and working with apprentices through live networking, Q&A sessions and talks from Keynote Speakers.

    Keynote Speaker: Caleb Wright

    Apprenticeships and the new Education Technician Apprenticeship standard

    This talk will provide an overview of the current apprenticeship landscape and the context of the new Education Technician apprenticeship standard.

    Keele Organisational Development will talk through a range of innovative activities taking place to support the ongoing development, visibility and sustainability of their Technical Community. Hear how the focus of activity is coordinated and shaped by a Technical Services Steering Group consisting of technical representatives from across the institution, some of whom will present during the event. Explore how Keele have recently utilised apprenticeships to further strengthen their technical community.

    CLICK HERE TO BOOK ONTO THIS EVENT NOW!

  • CPD Hub - Explore CPD Courses from HEaTED

    Welcome to the CPD Hub. Below you can browse our range of CPD activities that we offer, designed to inspire technicians at every stage of their career.

    Courses such as:

    - Teaching & Learning Skills for Technicians

    - Leadership & Management skills for Technical Staff

    - Supporting Apprentices

    - Project Planning

    - Generating income with technical facilities & Services

Interesting things to read

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  • How does a technician survive without a lab?

    By Phil Chandler, Manchester Metropolitan University

    This blog was originally published on the Technician Commitment website, find it here.

    March saw the celebration of my ‘techaversary’. Ten years as a technician has gone fast – from not knowing how to turn on any lab equipment to being a technical team leader at Manchester Metropolitan University. I support all teaching, research and enterprise activities in the Human Physiology lab in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. I also have the pleasure of managing the technical team in the Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care, and I am fortunate to lead the committee of the technical services TechNet, an initiative which aims to promote networking between technicians at the university.

    It’s a pleasure being in the lab, as no day is the same. From working alongside academic staff, to supporting a wide range of lab practicals, to helping students collect project data and collaborating with external companies to test the feasibility of their products.

    I leave work most days with a smile and my head held high after a productive day, feeling satisfied my lab users have had an excellent user experience. I love lab life. Until I experienced one day like no other before.

    Thursday 19th March I, along with all university staff, were sent to work from home (WFH) as the covid-19 pandemic hit our nation. My lab shut. Student research stopped. Lab practicals cancelled. External partnerships on hold. How could I be a technician without a lab?

    Not knowing how to WFH as a technician, I realised I was not the only one needing help. Over 200 technical colleagues were in the same position. Some may have better ideas, better methods or better plans to cope with WFH. Therefore, the TechNet committee decided to go digital to create TechNet Chats as an informal platform to search and share advice. We meet virtually every other week to discuss topics chosen by technicians. So far, we have discussed communication between each other and students and plan more chats on coping strategies and how technology can help at home.

    Chats has helped technicians discuss a variety of methods to help WFH, but during this unique time ensuring our wellbeing is a vital part of being able to WFH successfully. Therefore, Chats have introduced quizzes to help technicians break from work to relieve tension or pressure caused by WFH and bring shared enjoyment, smiles and laughter into the home working culture.

    Chat sessions have led to other technicians creating fun sessions, such as sharing baking recipes, insightful book reads, exercise videos and advice to help technicians be active in mind and body to develop a joyful home working environment.

    Chats are going from strength to strength with more technician engagement, increased discussions and ideas. This has empowered others to develop and share their own home working coping strategies.

    Together, we have created a digitally connected technical family, searching and sharing best practice to WFH, to encourage and support our friends and colleagues across campus. From home, technicians have bred a positive culture in a tough environment.

  • Technician Commitment announces Collaboration Fund

    The new Technician Commitment Collaboration Fund launches from 7th December 2020, funding projects to support the sustainability, recognition, development & visibility of the technical workforce.

    From its inception the Technician Commitment has been a collaborative endeavour. This ethos has been echoed and reflected in the biannual signatory events and the number of collaborative partnerships that have arisen as a result of the Technician Commitment in the past three years.

    To further support this culture, the Technician Commitment Signatory Board are pleased to launch the new Technician Commitment Collaboration Fund.

    The Collaboration Fund is a small grants scheme which provides funding to Technician Commitment Signatory Institutions to pump prime and enable collaborative projects with external partners to advance the aims of the Technician Commitment.

    The scheme is open to all Technician Commitment Signatory institutions and funding is awarded on a competitive basis. The Steering Board invites submissions in the range of £100 – £2000 to support the creation of collaborative opportunities. Examples may include, but are not limited to: joint workshops, shared training, development of shared materials, facilitation of work placements/exchanges and seminars/conference styled activity.

    The application window runs from 7th December 2020 – 15th February 2021, and successful projects should be delivered between 1st March 2021 and 31st December 2021.

    Find out more about the eligibility criteria, scope and application process of the fund. Download the application form here.

    The Technician Commitment team are very happy to discuss ideas for the collaboration fund to help you shape your application. If you would like some support in developing your ideas, or would like more information, please get in touch with us.

  • Successful Technician Commitment Signatory Event

    The first virtual Technician Commitment Signatory Event look place yesterday, on Thursday 5th November.

    We were joined by over 120 colleagues from institutions across the UK Higher Education and research sector, who have pledged their commitment to supporting the technical workforce.

    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, the Technician Commitment are keen to ensure momentum and connectivity of the Technician Commitment community.

    The online meeting included an update from Kelly Vere, Technician Commitment Programme Director, and included opportunities for attendees to network and share best practice.

    We were delighted to welcome Professor Sir John Holman who shared details of a new, national policy commission that is investigating the higher education and research sector’s future need for technical skills and roles.

    Simon Breeden, Associate Lead for the Technician Commitment, also presented an overview of a recent study by the Technician Commitment, Science Council and partners into the effects of COVID19 on the technical community, plus Dr Sabrina Fairchild shared news of the GW4 consortium of universities GW4ward programme for technical colleagues.

    The event was closed by Helen Gordon, CEO of the Science Council, who noted the importance of collaboration as we strive for the recognition, career development, visibility and sustainability of technicians.

    Kelly Vere, Higher Education Engagement Manager at the Science Council & Technician Commitment Programme Director commented:

    “We’re delighted to see such positive engagement, continued momentum, collaboration and connectivity from the Technician Commitment community at our first virtual event”

  • Royal Society of Chemistry Supporting Technicians

    Royal Society of Chemistry Supporting Technicians

    The Royal Society of Chemistry’s action plan to help universities, research institutions and industry place technicians at the forefront of what they do was launched earlier this year.

    As part of the Science Council’s Technician Commitment initiative, the RSC’s plan aims to increase visibility, recognition, career development and the sustainability of technicians in the chemical sciences.

    Their plan for the chemical sciences focuses on four pillars; visibility, recognition, career development, and sustainability.

    Each of these pillars offers support to technical staff through a range of grants, awards, networking, discounted training, mentoring, alongside professional accreditation and registration (RSci/RSciTech).

    In addition to supporting individual technicians, organisations are encouraged to get in touch with them for assistance in achieving their own goals with regard to technical staff.

    Professor Dame Carol Robinson, former President of the RSC, says: “A career in the technical sciences is both fulfilling and rewarding – I started my own career as a technical member of staff. It is only right that we make sure all technicians receive the recognition and career development that they deserve.

    “I was one of the people who would say I am ‘just’ a technician – we have to stop saying that. Technicians are vitally important to the advancement of the chemical sciences and the health of our economy. Our action plan has been designed to improve the landscape in which technicians find themselves working, to not only maximise the potential of and retain our skilled technicians but also attract new talent to the sector.”

    For more information, visit rsc.li/technician-commitment.

    Date of article: 8th October 2020

Useful Institutions

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  • IST

    Institute of Science and Technology

    The professional body for technical staff, specialists and technical managers working across a broad range of sectors and disciplines.

  • HEaTED

    Higher Education and Technician's Educational Development (HEaTED) is the UK's leading provider of professional development and networking opportunities for all disciplines of the technical workforce.

  • Technicians Make It Happen

    Technicians Make it Happen is geared towards inspiring young people and explaining to the adults in their lives, such as parents and teachers, that the career of a technician can have boundless opportunities. Their aim is to reveal how technicians work in virtually every sector and industry in the country – and if you are naturally analytical, practical and a real problem-solver, it’s very likely that a technician career could be ideal.

  • Midlands Innovation

    Midlands Innovation is a world-class research and innovation partnership, combining the collective excellence of leading universities in the heart of the UK. We unite the power of university research with the unique strengths of the Midlands industry to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development.

  • Science Council

    The Science Council provides the quality assurance system for those working in science. We set the standards for professional registration for practising scientists and science technicians across all scientific disciplines. Through our Licensed Bodies we admit to our registers scientists and science technicians who meet our competence and conduct requirements and commit to Continuing Professional Development. Those scientists who reach the required standards are recognised by the following designations CSci, CSciTeach, RSci and RSciTech.

Apprenticeships Information

Apprenticeships can be a great way to develop staff in a range of subject areas. Funding for apprenticeships is available through the apprenticeship levy. Further details can be found on the apprenticeships webpages.

The University partners with Blackpool and the Fylde College will be on campus throughout the year to provide information sessions (see dates and times here) on the apprenticeships available and how these can be accessed by University Staff.

 Topics include:

  • Management and Leadership
  • Business Administration
  • Customer Service
  • Catering, Hospitality and Event Management
  • Computing and Digital technologies

The information sessions will provide an overview of the different apprenticeships, what’s involved and provide the opportunity for questions.

See the link here to the OED webpage for workshops and more information.

New Technical Staff

Welcome to our new starters, please make the effort to say hello and help when they need it.

Retired Technicians

We have had some of our longer serving technicians retire over the last few months, 

We wish them well for the future :) 

Peter Jones (Engineering)

Debbie Hurst (LEC)

Christine Campbell (BLS)

Martin Ward (Physics)

Hazardous Waste Collection Dates

Hazardous waste is collected by Avanti now called Tradebe, 4 times per year. Contact your department rep if you have any queries or have any waste to add to the collection.

Chemistry: Helen Quirk/Nas Aktar

Physics: Steve Holden

LEC: Sam Jones

Engineering: Jess Fisher

Blank Chemical Waste Form here

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Christmas Trees in our departments

Send your department decorations & christmas tree images to Jess Fisher or upload here to onedrive

Large image of technicians safety glasses in a workshop

Contact a Technician

We have created a spreadsheet to collate all the technical roles within our university to a central location, including job title, department and email address'.

We have 117 technicians so far on campus!

Tech Email List Link