Current Students and Staff

// University News

31 Jan 2019

Professor Alice Roberts announced as keynote speaker at university technicians’ summit

Pictured is the Midlands Innovation logo. It features a sun graphic and the strap line: "Research excellence. Powering growth."

Anthropologist, author and TV presenter Professor Alice Roberts has been announced as the first keynote speaker for the Higher Education Technicians Summit (HETS) 2019. HETS is sponsored by Midlands Innovation, a partnership of eight universities including Loughborough.

The largest event of its kind in the country, HETS, which will take place at the University of Birmingham on 25th June, is dedicated to sharing best practice amongst technical staff working in higher education and research in the UK and Ireland.

Alice Roberts, Professor of Public Engagement with Science at the University of Birmingham, is a writer and broadcaster focusing on the structure and function of humans and their place in the wider environment. She has presented a wide range of television series including The Incredible Human Journey, Origins of Us and Digging for Britain on BBC2, and Britain’s Most Historic Towns on Channel 4. She presented the 2018 Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution, exploring human identity through biology. She has written eight books, including The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being and Tamed: Ten species that changed our world.

Speaking about HETS 2019, Alice said: “I’m really pleased to have been invited to speak at this conference. University teaching and research - and indeed television production - depends on teamwork. Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky to work with some fantastic technicians - and I wouldn’t have been able to do my job without their dedication and expertise. I’m looking forward to meeting more colleagues at the conference in June."

The 2019 HETS conference is structured around a range of ‘hot topics’ and will also discuss broader issues around technical skills and education, including the importance of technicians in driving forward innovation, and the latest initiatives to ensure the future provision of technical education to young people.

Dr Helen Turner, Director of Midlands Innovation, said: “It is very exciting that Alice Roberts has agreed to join us at HETS 2019. Alice is a great advocate for technicians and the work that they do, and I am sure that all of the delegates at HETS 2019 will be fascinated to learn the story about her journey to get to where she is today.”

The Papin Prizes, which recognise the work of technicians in higher education and research across the UK, will also be awarded at HETS.

To register for HETS 2019, or to nominate a technician for the Papin Prizes (closing date 20th February), go to the Midlands Innovation website.


Midlands Innovation is a world-class research and innovation partnership, combining the collective excellence of eight leading universities in the heart of the UK – Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. It unites the power of university research with the unique strengths of Midlands industry to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development.