Newsletter #2 Spring 2016

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IST Newsletter Spring 2016

Welcome to the second edition of the IST e-newsletter. The newsletter will appear quarterly and will be emailed out via Mailchimp from, to ensure that you receive your e-newsletter please add this address to your contacts list.


Chairman's Blog

Since the last newsletter the IST and our “volunteer” teams have been up and down the country both promoting the National Registration Scheme (PR Scheme) and delivering a variety of presentations and workshops keeping our members up to speed with the rapidly changing environments that we work in. From companies to universities, this work has been well received and has brought about (positive) change in tackling these issues. In addition we continue to promote careers as Professional Technicians in UTC’s, schools and academies to ensure a continuous pipeline of new blood to the profession across all sectors.
Terry Croft

IST Chairman Terry Croft presenting at a HEaTED Professional Registration event at the University of Edinburgh. Photo Credit: Sarah Ford-Hutchinson, Communications Coordinator, University of Edinburgh

Over the past twelve months I too have racked up the miles visiting Hull University, the next “City of Culture” in 2017, to Lancaster University situated in the heart of the Lake District. From London universities to the Environment Agency’s National Services Laboratories in Exeter, Nottingham and Leeds and then onwards to Bristol and Birmingham to name just a few of the many visits I have undertaken in 2015/16. More recently I also packed my bags for a trip to Edinburgh University as part of our work in the HE sector to support Val Gordon and the HEaTED regional team as they delivered a Technical Staff Professional Registration event at the Holyrood Campus. The presentation set the scene and highlighted the changes taking place in the sector and what's happening to help universities and technicians adjust to these changes. Ranging from the IST's programme of events, the impact of the HEFCE Catalyst projects to the new National Centre for Professional Technicians in Higher Education. In addition to presentations by Ali Orr (Science Council) and Katherine Forsey (HEaTED), Mel Leitch (Newcastle University) and Janet Milne (Strathclyde University) spoke about their experiences in implementing the PR Scheme and how their universities are supporting their technical communities. An excellent well attended event plus that great Scottish welcome and hospitality.  Which leads on nicely to the new National Centre.
National Centre logo

UK's first National Centre for Professional Technicians in HEIs launched

National Centre for Professional Technicians banner
Sheffield University in partnership with the IST launched the UK's first National Centre for professional technicians in Higher Education in February. The new National Centre for Technical Development and Modernisation (Efficiency in Higher Education) has evolved from the HEFCE-funded Catalyst project Technical Development and Modernisation. The new National Centre will continue the work of the TDM project that led in scoping the diverse skills of university technicians to gain a stronger understanding of potential skills gaps as research techniques and technologies continue to develop. It will work to improve efficiency by providing a national framework for standardised job titles, grading and career pathways across the technical workforce. It will also examine and signpost best practice in areas of technical training and development. The expertise of the team at the new national centre is available to universities across the rest of the UK, with the centre acting as a ‘one-stop shop’ of experts and resources for both technicians working in HE and senior management. 
With the IST’s involvement in the Centre as well as the TDM project these experiences will also benefit our members in other sectors. The Environment Agency’s National Laboratory Service is a great example of just another sector benefitting from this expertise. Great news all around! Without doubt technical staff are high on many company and university agendas. The IST will continue to work on your behalf to ensure this remains the case.
So a big thank you again to our “volunteers” delivering the IST message “a professional body run by technicians for technicians” and continuing to keep our members up to speed as well as supporting the technical community across all sectors.
So if you think you can contribute to YOUR professional body, whether in a small way or large, please contact me at

Did you catch IST President Helen Sharman on BBC Radio 4s Life Scientific?

If not, listen on iPlayer
Helen Sharman  IST President  Photo credit: Thomas Angus, Imperial College photographer

Helen Sharman
HEaTED logo

Val Gordon tells us about her work with HEaTED in Scotland

Professional Registration (PR) first came to my attention through research for my IST CPD award. My appointment as HEaTED’s Scottish Regional Network Coordinator gave me further inspiration to become more involved in the Science Council’s initiative to validate professionalism across the technical workforce. Three recently registered school technicians presented at the first HEaTED meeting I ran here at the University of Edinburgh. I was so convinced of the benefits of PR that I submitted my own Registration application and became a Registered Scientist in March 2013. There are so many benefits, not least of which is the personal motivational impact. It really does make you think very positively about your role, experience and achievements. It can change your approach and the way you think. You can become much more proactive, seeking out opportunities for development, trying new things and expanding your knowledge, experience and network. Having documented your achievements you are more receptive to change and taking on challenges you might not have considered in the past. It can be a re-invention!
HEaTED are dedicated to supporting technicians professional and personal development. PR has been specifically created for technical staff to increase visibility, improve profile and endorse professionalism. PR is given a slot at each regional meeting and we have had, for example, presentations on personal experience of PR, a workshop on technical staff profile and talks on links to student experience and apprenticeships. We have also run a HEaTED/IST joint event at the University of Strathclyde specific to PR.

HEaTED have also developed the Competency Assessment Toolkit for Technical Staff (CATTS), the skills development toolkit which has competency areas relevant for specific
roles, allowing the building of individual personal profiles. This fits well with Professional Registration which aims to set the gold standard of excellence. It is being used effectively at the University of Exeter. 

Our most recent HEaTED Scottish Network event was themed “Positive moves, taking responsibility for career planning and the value of Professional Registration” and was hosted by the University of Stirling. Presentations included a careers workshop highlighting the benefits of PR, promoting technical professionalism by a recently registered technician from the University of St Andrews and 3 technical staff from Newcastle University who have embraced PR. These gave a very positive message of progression – a formula that can by followed by Scottish institutions.


Val Gordon

The event was very well received by the audience of technical staff from Stirling University, including those who had travelled 150 miles from their Campbeltown campus, University of St Andrews, University of Edinburgh and Napier University. Everyone left with renewed enthusiasm and a number of people are now committed to applying for PR. 

      -Val Gordon

HEaTED Regional Events

UK Regions Map

IST Technical Conference 2016

Image of two technicians at work

Date: 15th September 2016
Venue: Manchester Conference Centre, Sackville Street, Manchester, M1 3BB

This exciting one day conference and its talks/workshops offer you an opportunity to update technical knowledge, skills, and further your career development. It will also provide valuable networking opportunities to engage and learn from other technical staff and technical supervisors/managers.

For professionally registered delegates, the conference and its talks/workshops will contribute significantly to your professional and personal development (PPD). There will also be awards for Outstanding Apprentice/Trainee, IST Conference Poster and #ISTConference2016Award, with winners receiving an iPad mini. 

To book your place please fill out the booking form and send it to Wendy Mason:
Tel: 0114 276 3197

John Dwyer on his role co-ordinating HE Regional Champions

John Dwyer
I am Faculty Superintendent and Area Safety Officer for the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University. I am also a Fellow of the IST and until recently was a member of the Strategy board as coordinator for Partnerships. One such partner is HEaTED through which I have been actively promoting professional registration (PR) of technical staff throughout the UK.

I have recently taken up the role of Champions Co-ordinator for PR, with the aim to develop a network of Champions around the UK HE Sector and the Environment Agency. A Champions network will offer guidance with PR and promoting it within institutions. We are therefore seeking proactive individuals who can take up this role within their own institutions. A Champion must be senior enough to engage with senior management and be officially recognised as the key person to raise awareness of, and offer advice on, PR and CPD to the technical staff. They would need to be IST members and they should be professionally registered or working towards it.  
Before Christmas I reached out for volunteers who would be interested in being Champions and so far I have 30 colleagues from around the UK who have shown an interest. Amongst this number are established Champions who are recognised by senior management as the key person for organising PR amongst their technical staff. The IST assembled an information pack which I have sent to these prospective Champions. The next step will be regional meetings with the Champions, to disseminate best practice and share ideas on how to encourage and support technical staff through the process of PR. 
As Champion of Lancaster University, I secured funding from senior management - over the last twelve months - for IST registration and associated fees. There are now  30 technicians going through the process of PR - a third of the total technical workforce at Lancaster. I am not saying this was easy; you need determination and a good business case to win over senior management. Fortunately, the Vice Chancellor and the Chief Administrative Officer have been very supportive and are sympathetic to the cause, which enabled us to secure funding.

If you are interested in becoming a Champion for professional registration and promoting other forms of professional development for the technicians in your institution, please contact me at: 

I would especially like volunteers from Wales and Ireland where I have had no contact, but would still like to hear from other institutions anywhere else in the UK.

- John Dwyer

For more information on becoming a registration champion and a Champions Pack, see the following PDF links:

Registration Champions

Champions Pack 
Science Council Logo

Science Council News and Events

Did you hear Science Council CEO Belinda Phipps on BBC Radio 4 on the 9th March?
Listen to her argue that science is not morally neutral (available on iPlayer)
How did you celebrate International Women’s day on the 8th of March? The Science Council brought out a few essential reads:
Upcoming Events:
Science Council Video on Professional Registration Event at Newcastle University 
Science Council Video

Higher Education Green Paper Summary

Governments Higher Education report

This consultation document published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in November 2015 was out for consultation until January 2016. It outlines government views on the future of Higher Education in England. 
One of the papers key proposals was the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), used to measure teaching quality in HEIs. Universities will be able to apply to set higher fees for students based on achieving higher TEF levels, which is one way the government would incentivise the improvement of teaching in HEIs. Part of the TEF would focus on social mobility and widening participation for disadvantaged and underrepresented groups. 
Another proposal made in the Paper is to reduce complexity and bureaucracy in research funding by giving the UK Research Councils, or a new body, control over funding allocation, taking over the work currently carried out by HEFCE. This is consistent with the theme of the paper, whereby it suggests HEFCE’s functions would transfer to other bodies. It also states that the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) would be held by 2021. 

IST Assessor Training 

The date for the next IST assessor training is the 12th of July, from 1pm to 5pm at the University of Sheffield. This event is for those already professionally registered as either Registered Scientist (RSci) or Chartered Scientist (CSci). 

For more information or to book your place please contact: 
Natalie Kennerley
Michelle Jackson
National Apprenticeship Week Logo

National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2016) was co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and was designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
We partnered with the Science Council for a special offer on IST professional registration fees for current apprentices or those who have been apprentices in the last five years. 
Social media support from IST &TDM for National Apprenticeship week
We also showed our support for #NAW2016 on social media (From top left: Ian Moulson, Natalie Kennerley, Joan Ward, John-Paul Ashton, from bottom left: Terry Croft, Kevin Oxley) 

Wordlcloud of twitter names for @istonline

A social platform for you!

Do you ever find yourself wanting to show off your well-deserved career success? Do you have an interesting point of view you wish to discuss with other like-minded individuals? Maybe you have something to offer? Or perhaps you want to find out more about the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) and its activities? There is absolutely nothing stopping you! At the IST we welcome all questions and involvement and we want to hear from you.
My name is John-Paul and I have recently started to get involved with social media activity. I want to be showcasing achievements, interviewing technicians, supporting staff and managers, providing useful resources and instigating debates that everyone can join in on. To help me do this, please get in touch if you have any suggestions, articles, jobs or news or want to be involved in video interviews, and we will go from there. Don’t forget to Follow us on Twitter (@istonline) and Like our Facebook page.
JP Ashton Social media contact

Call for Articles

Do you have any articles that you feel would be of interest to the technical community? Or do you need to promote a relevant article or event? We are looking for articles to include in the next IST Newsletter, so if you do have anything then please get in touch.

Please contact us at
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