The National Technician Development Centre (NTDC) and its official training arm, HEaTED (Higher Education and Technician Education Development) are highlighting the potential for using Research England Enhancing Research Culture funding to support the careers of technical staff.
Funding for research culture activities has been allocated to N8 universities with the aim of developing initiatives in response to the R&D People and Culture Strategy.
Launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last year, the strategy places people at the heart of R&D. It sets out the UK Government’s plans to oversee the fastest ever increase in public funding for research and development over the coming years, to cement the UK’s position as a global science superpower. It notes that ‘people are at the core of R&D, so there is nothing more important than how we attract, develop and retain enough people within research and innovation to meet this ambition’.
Last year, technical colleagues in several universities used UKRI Enhancing Research Culture funding to develop activities related to the Technician Commitment through resources available to the sector through the NTDC and HEaTED.
Amongst the successful N8 applicants last year was Dr Beth Upex of Durham University. She said: “At Durham we approached our Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Research about accessing the ERC funding. We have a technical rep who sits on our Research Culture Committee and through them and the chair of our Technician Commitment steering group we were able to propose several things we would like to use funding for. The DPVC for Research has been very supportive and we were allocated funding for membership of the NTDC as well as running the NTDC skills survey. We have also been given funding for the coming year for HEaTED credits, professional registration and a tech travel/training and conference pot for the next year.
“The other thing that we have been given through ERC funding is a student intern who is working jointly with the research culture committee and the technician’s commitment group on driving the Technician Commitment action plan forward. My top tip would simply be to have an idea of how the money can be used and to then ask for it!”