Knowledge exchange report reveals how to strengthen UK research & innovation ecosystem

Date posted: November 29, 2021
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The Role of Technicians in Knowledge Exchange – An Explorative Study has been published by UKRI Research England, Midlands Innovation TALENT, Technician Commitment and Research Consulting.

The report highlights the value of technical staff in delivering and enabling KE including through public engagement, access to facilities and involvement in the creation of Intellectual Property (IP).

The report also brings together views from technical and academic staff, and senior leaders across universities, research institutes and funders with case studies that demonstrate the influence technicians’ expertise, knowledge and capability has on KE.

Professor Trevor McMillan, Chair of Midlands Innovation and Vice Chancellor of Keele University said:

Technicians are essential to research, teaching and KE and it is vital that they are valued and supported to realise their potential.

Up until now there has been very little documented recognition of the role technicians play in KE; this report changes that and I hope will act as a benchmark for higher education and research institutes.

The realistic recommendations in this report will make a big impact on how we recognise the whole team in KE and I hope that the sector recognises the benefits and implements changes within their organisations.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • Greater recognition of the role technicians play in KE through externally-facing communications and within strategies and funding opportunities, including technicians in KE decision making
  • Greater reference of technicians in case studies, publications and articles and greater inclusion of technical staff in KE professional development opportunities.

Dr Helen Turner, Director for Midlands Innovation also commented:

The case studies in this report really bring to life the value of our technicians and their significance in our universities KE delivery. I’m confident that it will act as a catalyst for future recognition of the work of this community.

The report provides context on the current environment ahead of TALENT policy commission recommendations which will provide strategic insight into technical skills of the future.

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