The innovative new UK-first programme is being delivered by Midlands Innovation, of which Loughborough University is a partner, and is being backed by national bodies and key industry leaders.
The technical community in higher education has traditionally experienced a lack of visibility and recognition in the wider sector, but never has the role of technicians been more thrust into the national spotlight than now during the coronavirus crisis. Many technicians have been playing an integral role in the national COVID-19 efforts including organising PPE donations from academic institutions, such as Midlands Innovation partners, to NHS and other frontline services, creating thousands of gallons of hand sanitiser for hospitals and social care settings, supporting universities to quickly transition academic teaching online, and ensuring crucial services and ongoing academic research can continue.
Technicians play an integral role in academic research, including those that will right now be supporting the UK’s scientific response to dealing with COVID-19, and in the longer term how pioneering research and development can help support the recovery of the UK economy, and drive forward the Government’s aspiration for the UK to become a ‘science superpower.’
The £4.99 million TALENT programme, which was first announced by Amanda Solloway MP, the UK’s Minister for Science, Research and Innovation in late February 2020 as part of her first official engagement in the role, is a four-year programme which will be centred on the development of the technical community, piloting initiatives within the Midlands Innovation partnership before sharing learnings across the whole sector.
The programme will deliver three strands: a policy-based commission approach focused on investigating and providing a set of national recommendations on Technical Talent for the Future, a Technicians as Partners pilot which will develop innovative ways to deliver culture change within HE to strengthen technical career opportunities, and a technical training programme which will include funding for groups of technicians across the MI partnership to access staff development and training to address specific skills gaps.
Read the full press release on the Midlands Innovation website.