MI technicians share experiences from transformational TALENT programme

Technicians to benefit from leadership programmes piloted by MI

Since the Research England funded MI TALENT Programme launched in 2020, the sector-leading project has helped to influence positive change in the higher education and research sector through new research, culture change initiatives and bespoke training and development programmes.

49 evidence-based recommendations have been made, based on research and insights published in six reports and three practical guides. More than £40k of funding has been awarded for innovative technician-led equipment sharing projects, broadening scope for research and innovation, and 4000 course places have been provided on bespoke training programmes. This is a snapshot of the achievements delivered since the programme launched in 2020.  

More than 100 people from the higher education and research sector attended the TALENT Programme Conference on 16 November to hear first-hand the impact that this programme has had, and how the new UK Institute for Technical Skills and Strategy will continue to accelerate technical skills and fulfil future careers.

Since the Research England funded MI TALENT Programme launched in 2020, the sector-leading project has helped to influence positive change in the higher education and research sector through new research, culture change initiatives and bespoke training and development programmes.

49 evidence-based recommendations have been made, based on research and insights published in six reports and three practical guides. More than £40k of funding has been awarded for innovative technician-led equipment sharing projects, broadening scope for research and innovation, and 4000 course places have been provided on bespoke training programmes. This is a snapshot of the achievements delivered since the programme launched in 2020.  

More than 100 people from the higher education and research sector attended the TALENT Programme Conference on 16 November to hear first-hand the impact that this programme has had, and how the new UK Institute for Technical Skills and Strategy will continue to accelerate technical skills and fulfil future careers.

Dr Kelly Vere MBE, Project Lead for TALENT

“TALENT has made a significant impact in helping to improve the landscape for the technical workforce. Thanks to the 16 recommendations published in our flagship TALENT Commission report, we are seeing more technicians on decision-making panels, a growing community of technical leaders and technicians been named on research papers and costed into funding grants, to name just a few achievements.”

Steven Hill, Director of Research, Research England

“Research England is excited to have supported TALENT through the Research England Development Fund. This programme is having a massive impact; it has improved our evidence base around technical skills and we now understand who technical staff are and what challenges they experience, thanks to research published by TALENT.

“Culture change can’t happen in isolation, it’s our role to provide incentives which is part of the thinking behind the next Research Excellence Framework (REF). People, culture and environment will be a substantial part of the next assessment, which gives universities a reason to focus on the TALENT recommendations.

“There will be greater flexibility on the submission of research outputs so that those authored by technicians will be eligible for assessment. We believe these advancements will help to move this really important agenda forward.”

Midlands Innovation technicians shared their experiences of the initiatives delivered through the MI TALENT Programme during a panel discussion at the national conference in an honest discussion touching upon personal and professional developments.

Aatif Patel, Technical Tutor Centre for Mathematical Cognition, Loughborough University

Aatif explained that since taking part in TALENT’s career mentoring scheme, he has more confidence and is exploring new avenues. He is now part of a technical EDI network and has better channels of voice. He said: “that’s never happened before and now the university is improving much more because of TALENT.” 

Adriana Flores-Langarica, Research Facilities Manager, University of Birmingham

Adriana said the leadership programmes and bespoke training courses “enabled me to push through ideas in a more effective way within the university which has been a game-changer that has also had a positive impact on my team.”

Marc Walker, Photoemission Research Technology Platform Manager, University of Warwick

Marc was involved in the equipment sharing programme and has helped to resolve material science problems using facility equipment. He said: “Now I’m seen as a key part of the project within the university, and not just someone providing a service.”

Matt Calladine, Technical Manager (Teaching), University of Nottingham

Matt was able to gain valuable insight from industry after securing funding from the conference and skills fund in relation to manufacturing tablets. He explained: “I have developed a module to teach to our students, without academic support, as I know it better than they do and it’s now more recognised as a technical skill.”

The UK Institute for Technical Skills and Strategy was established on 1 August 2023 after successfully securing funding from Research England. This entity is recommendation 16 of the TALENT Commission report.

Kelly added: “TALENT has allowed us to pilot innovative interventions to advance status and visibility for technical staff, that we can now scale up and out nationally, through the new UK Institute for Technical Skills and Strategy.”

Find out more about TALENT at www.mitalent.ac.uk. Find out more about UK Institute for Technical Skills and Strategy at www.itss.org.uk

Ends

Download the TALENT Commission report and recommendations at www.mitalent.ac.uk/thetalentcommission

Download TALENT’s research reports and publications http://www.mitalent.ac.uk/resources

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