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R&D People and Culture Strategy - A Blueprint for Change

The R&D People and Culture Strategy aims to make sure everyone who works in R&D is “truly valued” if the UK is going to achieve its ambition to become a global science superpower.

This vision was presented at a strategy launch event hosted by Amanda Solloway MP, the then Minister for Science, Research and Innovation and chaired by Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Kelly Vere MBE, Project Lead for TALENT was invited to share her insight on the new plan as part of a panel discussion with Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, CEO, UKRI, Hetan Shah, Chief Executive, British Academy and Warren East CBE, CEO, Rolls-Royce.

The strategy launch presents an exciting opportunity for the technician workforce and highlights the impact up to 50,000 higher education and research technicians make within the R&D and innovation ecosystem.

As the government intends to make the UK a global hub for innovation by 2035; the panel recognised that people are at the heart of delivering this vision and long-standing issues around reward and retaining people need to be addressed – something which the TALENT policy commission has already recognised within the technical community.

Kelly Vere said the value and diversity of skills that technical and professional services communities bring to the R&D sector shouldn’t be underestimated.

“This strategy is a fantastic opportunity to recognise these roles. It’s a mandate for positive change for all, from apprentice technicians, all the way through to professors,” she explained.

“I was also really pleased to see that it encourages a pipeline for technical talent. There really is a career for everyone in R&D and many of these exciting pathways are hidden at present; I’m excited to see how we can shine a light on these career paths and how this strategy presents a blueprint for change.”

Kelly also noted that there has already been a culture shift. “The fact that technicians are now discussed in government policy and strategy is fantastic, previously this has been a really rare thing. The strategy is an excellent basis to move forward and make sure UK is at the forefront of innovation.”

Amanda Solloway MP reiterated the strategy is the starting point of a journey and one which we need support, leadership, and collaboration in the shared framework to ensure this strategy delivers change which is inclusive.

Kelly added: “We do need everyone to get behind it and play their part,” and the panel agreed that embracing diversity is a priority to ensure the strategy delivers on mobility and collaboration.

Watch the R&D Culture Strategy launch event