Warwick drives opportunities for technology specialists thanks to £1.5m grant

The University of Warwick has been awarded £1.5m to support opportunities and development activities for technology specialists.

Technology specialists, known as research technical professionals (RTPs), include data scientists, data engineers, archivists, informaticians, statisticians, software developers, audio-visual technologists, technical professional staff and individuals staffing core facilities, across all disciplines. They have specialist knowledge and expertise, implementing technologies to better address research questions.

These technical experts underpin research, maximising the benefits world-class research infrastructure can provide, train researchers, and often input into teaching. They often work as part of coordinated teams spanning different disciplines and geographical centres, which conduct research together.

Thanks to the funding, from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), a new project led by the University of Warwick will be launched to further training and development opportunities for RTPs across the UK. This will include the creation of talent pipelines, skills and training sessions, and work to increase knowledge exchange and visibility for RTPs.

The project will be collaborative, with co-leads at the University of Bath, University of Edinburgh, University of Manchester, University of Newcastle, University of Southampton, University of York and the Natural History Museum.

Dr Ian Hancox, Director of Research Technology and Technical Strategy and project lead, said: “It is fantastic to see such large investment from EPSRC in a staff group that is essential in enabling a broad range of research. This funding will provide opportunities for RTPs across the UK that would otherwise not be possible.

“The funding also builds on the complementary activities of TALENT, a Research England funded project to advance status and opportunity for technical skills, roles and careers, and the UK Institute for Technical Skills and Strategy (ITSS). I look forward to working with our project partners to deliver opportunities that make a real difference to RTPs careers.”

The new RTP opportunities will be advertised through the UK Technology Specialist Network (TSN). Dr Natalie Homer, Mass Spec Core Manager at the University of Edinburgh and co-lead, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to share best practice, skills and knowledge across the TSN community, which has grown to over 300 members in its first year. With the project providing support for RTP travel, accommodation and carer responsibility bursaries, we will ensure that the opportunities are as inclusive as possible and benefit RTPs at a range of career stages.”

Professor David Leadley, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Technician Commitment lead at Warwick, said: “I am very pleased to see EPSRC and UKRI investing in the RTP community. The activities supported by this award have many synergies with initiatives established at Warwick through the Technician Commitment, such as our Technical Specialist Promotional Pathway. We look forward to sharing these initiatives more widely to provide development opportunities for technical staff across the UK and help promote multiple entry pathways into fulfilling careers as research technical professionals.”

Find out more about TSN here and about the University of Warwick’s Technician Commitment here.

Contact details:

To speak to University of Warwick collaborators contact Annie Slinn, Communications Officer, University of Warwick. Tel: +44 (0)7392 125 605 Email: annie.slinn@warwick.ac.uk