Newsletter # 1 Winter 2015

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IST Newsletter Winter 2015

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

Chairman's Blog

As I’m sat here at home reflecting on the ending year and going through my papers and presentations I have given over the last twelve months, I came across a number of cartoons. Over the past couple of years the IST has worked with Andrew West at Leeds University who was commissioned to produce a number of cartoons which illustrated the concerns and frustrations that members had and have regarding their careers and the way technicians are viewed by academics and the wider audience. The cartoon below says so much and this perception of technicians has added to the low morale felt by so many.
The IST has made major inroads in addressing these concerns and has made significant progress in not only celebrating technician’s contributions and achievements but also in getting the deserved recognition both locally and nationally through engagement with the National Professional Technicians Accreditation Scheme.

This recognition has been further enhanced through our corporate partnerships (above University of Exeter partnership) and the many workshops and seminars given by the various IST teams who have travelled the length and breadth of the UK promoting the technical community. A big thank you to these highly experienced volunteers who contribute so much to our community and give up their time freely.
 (Presenting to Jackie Tucker her RSci certificate at the EA Star Laboratories)
Helen Sharman  IST President  Photo credit: Thomas Angus, Imperial College photographer

One of the highlights of the year for me (after our hugely successful 2015 annual conference) was the appointment of Helen Sharman as our new President following on from the late John Robinson who so successfully restructured the IST to meet the challenges now facing the technical community in the UK. We have met and worked on a number of occasions since and she is already making a significant contribution to the team and the technical community at large. I am looking forward to working with her in 2016 on a number of new issues and for her input into our next strategy review.
To close I would like to wish our team, our volunteers and associates and all our members a Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Fulfilling New Year. I look forward to working with you all and on your behalf in 2016.

IST 2016 Conference


"It's your conference, tell us what you want to hear!"

Following on from the success of this years conference work has already started on the 2016 project. The IST are pleased to announce the date of 15th September 2016 in Manchester (venue to be confirmed), so save the date in your diaries! We have already received some great ideas about what you, as members would like to see in the 2016 conference, BUT please tell us more. If you have ideas for any workshops or topics of interest which you would like included then get in touch via email (before 20th Jan 2016) at;

Thinking about joining a professional body and becoming professionally registered? Give yourself the competitive edge and enhance your career progression. For further details go to the IST website:

The IST are currently looking to recruit assessors for professional registration. If you are CSci or RSci registered and are interested in becoming an assessor or would like refresher training then please let us know. If you require further information or would like to book a place please contact the IST office,

Coaching & Mentoring


Recently retired former Loughborough University Technician, Andy Kowalski MIScT, has now set up his own consulting company offering tailored personal development coaching based on his knowledge and experience gained over 40 years.  Andy studied part-time at the former Leicester Polytechnic, attaining an HNC in Chemistry whilst at the same time working as a technician at Loughborough University. There he built a wealth of knowledge and experience working in Organic, Inorganic, Analytical and Microbiology sections in the department. In 2004 Andy commenced further part-time study in Management at Loughborough College, attaining a diploma in Coaching and Mentoring in 2005. 

Andy tells us a little bit about why he is now doing this:

What does coaching means to me?
I get great satisfaction in helping people to achieve their predetermined goals and getting on with their careers.
Why am I passionate about coaching?

Seeing the results of my work being translated into action, for example where one of my former clients successfully landed a development position with a major chemical supplier.  This spurred me on to want to do more work like this post retirement, as it gives me great satisfaction to help people to succeed.  I also believe that if you engage, strike up excellent rapport, and win respect, you will succeed in your mission. Having worked in the retail and private sectors prior to joining the University, where I worked closely with people and helped them as they assisted me, this has given me that added impetus and passion!

How do I coach?

I have an initial meeting with individuals, identify their needs and requirements and note any issues which could influence the whole process. They then fill in PSI/SWOT/PEST analysis sheets and submits a current CV in order to establish a baseline for us to work from.  A further meeting is arranged to discuss the analysis results and to plan a course of action, based on SMART goals, to be achieved within agreed timelines.  Leadership questionnaires are also used to determine whether individuals should consider management roles in the future, and these are discussed at a later date when leadership type is determined.  A lot of empathy and mindfulness is applied to the process as it is important that the person being coached is at ease at all times.

Andy Kowalski, MIScT MRSC MCMI


Science Council Registrant Champions

Do you believe that professional registration advances your career?

Become a Science Council Registrant Champion.

The Science Council’s Registrant Champions are a community within the wider network of professionally registered scientists and technicians that champion the benefits of professional registration: to the individual, to their workplace and to society as a whole.

If you would like to know more please visit the link:

Leading Your Technical Team & Building on Your Technical Team Program 2016


The Leading Your Technical Team programme set of Leading Your Technical Team (LYTT) and Building on Your Leadership Skills (BYLS) is geared toward delivering the fundamental and key skill elements for leading and managing people, particularly in a technical team.

 LYTT  has a long and well respected history. It has been running for 30 years with more than 1,200 technicians having been through the program over this time. The program content has continued to adapt and develop in line with changes in HE and it continues to be held in very high regard by HE senior managers, staff developers and technicians. Its high reputation is maintained through delivering a very high standard of technical management training via experienced HE managers, in a practical context with the reality of managing in a university technical environment. 

How the program works:Both program follow a similar format, in that the learning is enhanced through informal and highly participative sessions that include active discussion, exchange of ideas and delegate group work. There is no role playing.

Both LYTT and BYLS are delivered in the context of a higher education technical environment but they are not aimed at any specific job role or discipline. Our participants come from a very broad range of higher education institutions, and from a very diverse range of academic disciplines and departments or service sections. For example our recent courses have included people from institutions such as Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Leeds, University of Oxford, Canterbury College, University of Bristol, University College Cork, and Norwich University College of Arts to name but a few. Similarly our participants also have a wide variety of job roles. These ranging for example from Technician, Senior Technician, Laboratory Manager, IT Network Team Leader, Workshop Manager, Geological Facilities Manager, Textile Workshop Manager and Bio-repository Manager.

Leading Your Technical Team                                        :
Date: 11th -12th February 2016
Times: Start 09.30 close at 16.00 Day Two
Venue: Loughborough

Building on Your Leadership Skills                               
Date: 14th & 15th April 2016
Times: Start 09.30 close at 16.00 Day Two
Venue: Loughborough

To book a place on either of these programmes please contact:
Wendy Mason, LYTT & BYLS Programme Administrator
T: 0114 276 3197 e:

Science Council appoints new CEO

- Belinda Phipps


Earlier this year Belinda joined the Science Council with an impressive track record of successful management and organisational growth. She studied microbiology at university and spent the first ten years of her working life at Glaxo as a sales and marketing executive. After getting her MBA she moved into the public sector, becoming Chief Executive at East Berks Community Health NHS Trust in 1996. In 1999 she took on the CEO role at the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), leading a period of huge change and growth, both income and staff.

Belinda is excited to be taking up a new challenge as the Science Councils new CEO:

"I am delighted to be joining the Science Council as CEO. I very much hope to build on the great work that Diana and team have done and look forward to meeting all the member organisations and working with you for the benefit of the whole science community."

Prof Sir Tom Blundell, President of the Science Council says of the appointment:

“I and the Board are confident that Belinda is the right person to be leading the Science Council at this time and look forward to working with her for the benefit of the organisation and the wider science community.”

She succeeds Diana Garnham, who has led the Science Council for the last 9 years. Diana led pioneering work for the sector: identifying the 10 Types of Scientists, inaugurating the 100 leading practising scientists, instigating research into the UK science workforce, and initiating the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion project, which has now led to member organisations signing up to the Declaration on Diversity.


Introducing IST Champion (London Region)
- Allison Hunter

Allison Hunter is a Technical Operations Manager at Imperial College London and has had an extensive career as a research technician in protein structure, neuroscience and development within the University of London.  As well as championing cold storage and sustainability projects in labs she is also responsible for technical service provision across complex multi-site operations encompassing major refurbishment projects, space, plant, staff recruitment, training and development, equipment provision, and health and safety.  She received a King's Award for Sustainability in November 2014 and recently published on laboratory cold storage in ENDS Report 478, December 2014.

Social Mobility Foundation – Support the next generation of aspiring scientists

The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) is a charity that aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for high-achieving young people from low-income backgrounds. With the help of professionals, we support more than a 1,000 young people every year, who have the ability to flourish in the top universities and professions but who lack the encouragement and networks to help them get there.
We are looking for biology, chemistry and physics and engineering professionals to get involved and provide support by e-mentoring a student and/or providing a short work placement.
As an e-mentor you would support our next cohort of sixth formers by giving them the opportunity to have a 1:1 relationship with a professional who can communicate with them for 15-30 minutes every two weeks, predominately via email. Mentors advise students on a range of topics: increasing understanding of careers and professional life, accessing professional opportunities, and university courses and applications.
If you are interested in signing up please complete this short form here. For more information go to Ways to get involved at the SMF or please contact

2016 Technical Managers in Universities Conference -
"New Builds for Research and Teaching Amalgamate or Separate"

The 2016 Technical Managers in Universities (TMU) conference will be hosted by the University of Sheffield on the 6th, 7th and 8th April in the newly completed Diamond Centre, which facilitates teaching and learning.  There will be a number of Key speakers including Professor Stephen Beck, head of multi-disciplinary engineering education. Throughout the conference there will be tours of the facilities with speakers from different areas of the building who will give you an insight to what their areas are all about. The conference is the first amalgamated conference between the Chemistry and Engineering Managers in the higher education sector.
The conference is fully supported by the IST and there will be promotion of a number of other interesting topics taking place over the 3 days.

If you would like further details please contact Geoff Howell,   or Ian Lyne,

Following on from the expansion of our membership and professional registration work over the past year the Executive is looking to build on this growth and enhance the IST’s marketing activities. We would be very interested to hear from any member who has graphics, design and/or marketing skills and who would like to get involved with our marketing group. In addition we are looking to increase our social media activity and would welcome input into this area from any member(s) who would like to help expand our online profile. We're looking for volunteers to act as IST Champions, raising awareness of the profile of the technician.  
Successful marketing of the IST is critical to our continued development and having worked hard in recent years to build a more modern and progressive profile we are keen to maintain/increase that momentum – so if you have the skills that we need, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact with your details if this is of interest.

Merry Christmas!

With best wishes for Christmas and 2016 from the IST team

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