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The Royal Society of Biology has pledged its support for a new initiative to ensure greater visibility, recognition and support for technicians in higher education.

The Technician Commitment, a sector-wide initiative led by the Science Council and supported by the Gatsby Foundation, looks to address key challenges facing technical staff working in research, and provide organizations with the resources needed to tackle these challenges head-on.

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The Commitment was launched at the Higher Education Technicians Summit on 31st May, and comes at a key time as the demand for technicians is increasing. More than 1.5 million technicians currently work in the UK, which is expected to rise by around 70,000 each year.

The Commitment highlights target areas which universities and institutions will work to improve to safeguard vital technical skills and support their technician workforce. These issues include improving the visibility of technicians and recognising the work they do, providing career development opportunities and ensuring sustainability of the workforce, and evaluating these efforts to ensure such efforts are having a definitive impact.

Rachel Lambert-Forsyth CSci CBiol FRSB, Director of membership and professional affairs, said of the initiative, "Technicians provide an invaluable service; they form a highly skilled workforce boasting a wide breadth of expertise that plays a vital role in supporting research and education.

"I am pleased that the RSB is able to support this Commitment and ensure the best provisions are available for our technician members.

"We would encourage members to apply for Registered Science Technician (RSciTech) status via their MySociety portal as this designation enables greater professional recognition of their skillsets and access to career development opportunities.”

Belinda Phipps, chief executive officer of the Science Council, said: “The Science Council has been working to increase the visibility and professional recognition of technicians and to improve their development opportunities at all career stages. We are delighted to be leading on the Technician Commitment and to be working with partners across the higher education and research sector to elevate the status and profile of technicians. By working collectively we can ensure the future prosperity of technical skills in higher education and research.”

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