Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam recognises technicians at HETS

500 technicians attended the UK’s biggest conference dedicated to technicians in academia and research which featured an inspiring keynote speech delivered by Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam MBE.

The UK Higher Education Technicians Summit took place this week (4 July) at the University of Warwick. It was the fifth biennial event delivered by Midlands Innovation, MI TALENT, Technician Commitment, Science Council and sponsored by UKRI.

Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam MBE, Senior Strategy Advisor in Medicine for the University of Nottingham delivered an insightful keynote speech, sharing his reflections on science and leadership during the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.  

He recognised that many of the technicians in the audience took a role in the covid crisis and he thanked them for doing so, as the UK “really punched above its weight” in its medical response to the pandemic.

Sir Jonathan encouraged those who have science careers ahead of them to “be prepared”, “bold and uncompromising about doing research to get clear policy answers.”

Dr Kelly Vere, University Director of Technical Strategy said: “We were honoured to welcome Sir Jonathan to HETS to hear his insights and reflections on the pandemic. This national event has grown from strength to strength and this year was sold out months ahead of time, which highlights the value it offers for the technical community.

“Since Midlands Innovation founded HETS in 2015, it is incredible to see the changes that have taken place to increase the visibility and recognition of technicians nationally, thanks to the MI TALENT programme, Technician Commitment and the Papin Prizes.”

Dr Helen Turner, Director of Midlands Innovation added: “At Midlands Innovation, we are proud to champion the technical community and host this technical summit in the Midlands. The event allows technicians to network, share best practice, learn about key policy changes and speak to professional bodies. Thank you to UKRI for sponsoring this event for the first time, by supporting the UK’s only national summit and awards dedicated to the technician community, it really cements that UKRI is a strong advocate for technicians.”

Technicians who attended the event said:

Fabulous day at the Higher Education Technicians Summit today that included some great workshops and an inspirational talk from Prof. Jonathan Van-Tam on his experience of science, policy and leadership during COVID-19

Had a great day today at #HETS23 Have had a wonderful day at #HETS23 at Warwick Uni, met lots of new people and connections made.

Really enjoying #HETS23, including the mesmerising talk from the excellent Jonathan Van Tam about lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic, so excited to be in the presence of such a legend! Congratulations to all those who were shortlisted and those who won Papin prizes

The sound of so many Technicians networking is a joy! Great to be at #HETS23 500 #technicians networking and sharing experiences is an exciting place to be.


The event featured 30 workshops, more than 50 posters were displayed from technical teams and there was a unique art exhibition of technicians, by a technician.

Professor Chris Ennew, Provost for University of Warwick presented the prestigious Papin Prizes. Read the full list of winners here.

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