N8 response to the TALENT commission


This statement sets out our collective commitment to advance the culture and environment for research technical professionals who make vital contributions to each of our institutions. 

We are following in the footsteps of groundwork laid down by the Midlands Innovation Universities and thank them for their leadership. 

We commit to the following: 

  1. We will address equality, diversity and inclusivity considerations for technical workforces through implementation of targeted technician-specific initiatives and by ensuring inclusion within wider all-staff initiatives (e.g. those linked to Athena Swan and the Race Equality Charter).  We support an inclusive approach to recognition and reward.
  2. We will enable opportunities for technical staff to be considered as co-investigators, co-supervisors, for grants or projects and provide transparent guidelines for how technical staff can be costed into proposals. Where appropriate we will encourage technical staff to be PIs on proposals, with the same levels of support for writing and navigating processes as available to researchers.  We will encourage appropriate inclusion of technical staff as authors, co-authors, or contributors on published papers and presentations, providing clear guidance for appropriate inclusion at relevant stages. 
  3. We will encourage and support events for visibility, outreach and public engagement specifically for and/or including technical staff. 
  4. We will ensure the collection, reporting, tracking and analysis of data on our technical workforces.  This might include, for example, submitting technical staff records to HESA. 
  5. We will take a strategic approach to the sustainability of technical skills and careers and appropriate succession planning through horizon scanning and identifying current and potential future skills gaps.  All of our universities will look into the appointment of a  designated and resourced  institutional strategic lead.   
  6. We will continue to expand entry routes to technical roles and careers within the N8 Research Partnership by encouraging applications from both vocational and academic pathways. We will invest in apprenticeships and trainee technical positions. We will ensure utilisation of the Apprenticeship Levy for training and developing technical colleagues. 
  7. We will investigate the appropriateness of current opportunities for progression for technical staff.  We will pilot and, if appropriate, implement alternatives if these are not fit for purpose. We will work towards ensuring Technical Career Pathways are clearly defined, which might also include competency based role descriptors which allow flexibility for specialism. 
  8. Technical staff will be included as representatives on appropriate departmental, faculty and institutional committees whenever possible to ensure their voices are heard and inform decision making.  
  9. We will continue to form partnerships with organisations and initiatives that support our technical community. 
  10. We will be inclusive of technical staff and their considerations in conversations on sector-policy developments and support technical colleagues to contribute to and/or attend government events and initiatives related to policy.