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UK's largest conference for technicians in Higher Education and Research to take place in June 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.

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Image from HETS 2019 at the University of Birmingham where Alice Roberts was a keynote speaker

Recognising technical excellence

The 2021 summit will be the largest event held specifically for UK and Ireland higher education and research technical staff, building on the success of three previous summits held at Birmingham in 2019, Warwick in 2017, and in Nottingham in 2015.

The conference is structured around a range of “hot topics” and will also discuss broader issues around technical skills and education, including the importance of technicians in driving forward innovation, and the latest initiatives to ensure the future provision of technical education to young people.

HETS will once again be recognising technical excellence in academia through the awarding of the national ‘Papin Prizes’. To reflect the depth and breadth of technical roles in universities and research institutes, the Papin Prizes will be awarded to technicians in a range of categories, including teaching, research, infrastructure, outreach and more.

Dr Helen Turner, Director of Midlands Innovation, which sponsors HETS, said: “The roles that technicians do, usually behind the scenes, are vital in ensuring the success of our universities and research institutes, providing academic, research and student colleagues with the essential technical expertise that they need to enable their research and teaching.

“HETS is an opportunity to celebrate the work of technicians, while also helping to develop their skills, and giving them the opportunity to network with each other, making invaluable new contacts in the technician community.”

Leading the way in technician development

Midlands Innovation is leading the way in the development of Higher Education technicians in the UK. It recently secured funding from Research England and partners for a programme called TALENT, the largest ever investment into technicians in universities, whose specialist skills often go unrecognised despite the crucial role they play in the success of universities and the growth of the UK economy.

Kelly Vere, Director of Technical Skills and Strategy at The University of Nottingham, who leads Midlands Innovation’s programmes for the technical community, added: “I am delighted that we are able to confirm the fourth UK Higher Education Technicians Summit in June 2021. I know it’s an event that colleagues value and enjoy. Through initiatives like HETS and also the recently announced TALENT programme, we are ensuring increased professional development opportunities for technical colleagues across the region, the wider UK and beyond”.

Registrations for HETS 2021 and the nominations for the 2021 Papin Prizes will open in early 2021, 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. 

Read more about the history of HETS here.

For more information about the support provided for technicians through Midlands Innovation, visit: https://midlandsinnovation.org.uk/Our-Technician-Commitment


For more information, contact:

Nick King, Midlands Innovation Communications and Marketing Manager, on: +44 (0)7964 391057 or nick.king@era.ac.uk
Sarah Alton, Public Affairs Officer, Midlands Innovation, on: +44 (0)7817 061386 or: sarah.alton@nottingham.ac.uk

Midlands Innovation