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Durham University

Technician Commitment

About the Commitment

What is a Technician?

  • An expert in the practical application of a science.

  • A specialist in the technical details of a subject or occupation

  • A person employed to look after technical equipment or do practical work in a laboratory.

  • A worker trained with special skills or knowledge, esp. in how to operate machines or equipment used in science

  • Someone whose occupation involves training in a specific technical process. Synonyms: animator. Skilled worker.

These are some of the definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary, Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary and the Collins Dictionary. A technician is all of these and more. Technical staff in universities give support strength, and basic structure to research and teaching. This is why we, along with many other universities around the UK, are choosing to voice their recognition of the qualities and good work of their technicians by way of the Technician Commitment.

What is the Technician Commitment?

Universities are complex organisations whose success depends on a network of interrelated, interconnected roles and responsibilities: take any element away, diminish the significance of any part and the whole suffers.

Research by the Technician Council found the UK must educate another 450,000 technicians across all sectors by 2020 to address a massive skills shortage. On average, UK Higher Education institutions will lose between 25-35 per cent of their highly skilled professional technicians in the next three to five years as many reach retirement age, taking their knowledge and expertise with them.

The Science Council developed the Technician Commitment to address these challenges, it is a university and research institution initiative, led by a steering group of sector bodies, with support from the Science Council and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Technicians Make It Happen campaign.

It is spearheaded by Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz (Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge) and Professor Sir David Greenaway (Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham) and aims to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research across all disciplines.

Universities and research institutes are invited to become signatories of the Technician Commitment and pledge action against the key challenges affecting their technical staff.

Are you a technician?