University technicians gather for Central Scotland Technical Conference


Technicians from Scottish universities have gathered at the University of Glasgow for the first-ever Central Scotland Technical Conference.

The Scottish Government’s Minister for Higher and Further Education, Graeme Dey MSP, attended the conference and addressed the 250 attendees at the University’s Hunter Halls today (Tuesday 6 June 2023).

The conference is the first large-scale meeting for technicians from universities across the central belt. The group plans to use the conference as the beginning of a journey towards creating a Scottish Technical Network which unites universities across central Scotland.

The event was organised by the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh as part of the Technician Commitment.

The Technician Commitment, established in 2017, is a UK-wide initiative to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for all technicians working in higher education and research across all disciplines.

Technicians from the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh were joined by colleagues from Edinburgh Napier, Queen Margaret, Heriot-Watt, Stirling, Strathclyde, the University of the West of Scotland, Glasgow Caledonian University and the Glasgow School of Art.

The day’s events included presentations on Technician Commitment success stories from Scottish universities, discussions on future collaborations, a poster competition, sessions on career management, and a keynote speech from Dr Alison McIntosh, director of the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance.

Graeme Dey, Minister for Higher and Further Education, said: "Technicians are essential to the success of our higher education sector. They play a key role in delivering high-quality teaching, research excellence and knowledge exchange across a range of disciplines.

"I welcome the aims of the Technician Commitment and its signatories to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research. Attracting, educating, training and retaining more technicians is crucial to the future success of our world-class universities and research institutions, as well as Scotland’s economy."

Professor Frank Coton, Senior Vice Principal and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), is chair of the University of Glasgow’s Technician Commitment steering group. He opened the conference with a speech to attendees.

Professor Coton said: "We’re proud to be a signatory to the Technician Commitment, which recognises and supports the vital contributions of technical staff to universities across the UK. Here at Glasgow alone we have more than 1000 highly trained and qualified technicians on staff, without whom our world-leading research and teaching simply wouldn’t be possible.

"The Technician Commitment helps us to ensure that our technical community is properly prepared to tackle the challenges of the future through investment, training and career development.

"The Central Scotland Technical Conference offered attendees an invaluable opportunity to meet to share stories of best practice, new ideas, and to plan for the future. I’m looking forward to helping our technicians build on the outcomes from the conference and work towards a Scottish Technical Network."

Dr Natalie Homer of the University of Edinburgh said: "The University of Edinburgh are delighted to have worked together with the University of Glasgow to put on the first Central Scotland Technical Conference.

"With the recent 6th anniversary of the Technician Commitment it is timely and important that we bring technical colleagues together to celebrate and share our experiences. We hope it will be the start of fruitful collaborations and widening opportunities for technicians across Scotland."

The Technician Commitment is led by a steering board of sector bodies, with support from the Science Council and the Gatsby Foundation.

For more information on the Technician Commitment at the University of Glasgow,