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New resource explores funding of technical staff in research

In a bid to strengthen the technical workforce to create future opportunities for technicians in higher education and research, a new resource has been published by TALENT, the Technician Commitment and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Funding Technical Staff in Research has been developed by partners of the TALENT project, funded by Research England (part of UKRI), to provide clarification around the variety of funding routes and mechanisms within the research and innovation sector.

The skilled workforce plays a vital role in the UK’s research and innovation ecosystem and the government’s vision for the UK to become a science superpower relies on their expertise. This document will help to develop a consistent infrastructure to support future funding routes for technicians.

Kelly Vere MBE, TALENT Project Lead explained that routes for funding technicians have traditionally been inconsistent and unclear within the higher education and research sector.

She said: “Technicians play a significant role supporting the research and innovation sector, yet until recent years, technical roles have traditionally lacked visibility and received limited recognition.

“The variety of disciplines in the workforce differs across institutions and an increasing number of new roles have evolved and emerged in the last decade.

“This explainer document is the result of a wider piece of work which identified that funding routes were not always clear. Part of TALENT’s activity is to improve understanding around the way technicians are funded and ultimately strengthen the workforce so the UK can be at the forefront of innovation.

“This resource provides insights that will support planning and funding for technical roles within higher education and research, paving the way for more career development opportunities for individuals.”

Professor Rory Duncan, UKRI Director, Talent and Skills said: “The UK government’s R&D People and Culture Strategy estimates conservatively that the R&D sector will need at least an additional 150,000 people by 2030 to sustain the UK’s target of 2.4% GDP research and development intensity.

“Technicians are a key part of this and the strategy’s ambition to achieve dynamic, variable and sustainable career paths for people working in research and innovation.

“This explainer will act as a basis for wider discussions across the research and innovation community on how we can ensure technicians are funded in a way that supports their visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability.”

The resource provides context on the current funding environment ahead of policy commission recommendations which will provide strategic insight into technical skills of the future. Find out more about the policy commission.

The explainer document was compiled using evidence gathered by Lucidity Solutions.