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Our commitment to technical staff


Technician commitment

The ICR is a founding signatory of the Technician Commitment and committed to meeting the best practice standards to support the careers of our highly qualified technical staff. Our most recent submission was for stage 3 in January 2024. The ICR’s 36 month action plan is linked at the bottom of this page. It focusses on the four areas of development outlined by the Technician Commitment:

•  Visibility - ensuring technicians at the ICR are identifiable and their contribution is visible within and beyond the institution.

•  Recognition - Supporting technicians gain recognition through professional registration and external awards schemes.

•  Career Development - Enabling career progression opportunities for technicians through clear, documented pathways.

•  Sustainability - Ensuring the sustainability of technical skills across the ICR and that technical expertise is fully utilised.

Scientist in goggles

Female scientist in goggles. Credit: Andrew Brookes.

Technical staff at the ICR

The ICR employs over 450 highly skilled technical staff with a broad range of expertise. They play a crucial part in the research achievements of the ICR and their work is vital in making the discoveries that defeat cancer. Technical staff at the ICR are made up by Scientific Officer grades (55%), Research Management grades (29%), Analytical Scientists (11%) and the Biological Services Unit (5%).

What we've achieved so far

Since we signed up to the Technical Commitment, we have expanded our career development support for scientific professional roles. We’ve built cross-institutional partnerships with our Research Institute Technician Commitment Group (RITG) partners; The Babraham Institute, Francis Crick Institute, John Innes Centre, MRC Harwell Institute, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, Science Technology Facilities Council and the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Together we’ve run multiple events supporting career development of technical staff, including the RIT Symposium a biannual conference which is in planning for the 2025 (4th) iteration and includes an awards ceremony celebrating technical staff. 

Our Professional Registration Programme, awarding staff external, independent recognition of their skills and competencies is funded by the Scientific Officer Association. Now in its 3rd year, it has had 10 participants supported by events and a mentoring scheme. The programme will be expanded over the next 36 months, with additional individuals funded by a Wellcome Trust Research Culture grant.

We’ve had fifteen delegates at the Herschel Programme For Women In Technical Leadership, established a mentoring scheme for Scientific Officers applying for promotion, and established a wider Technician Commitment Steering group with faculty members, core facilities and human resources input. This group raises awareness of the issues that affect technical staff and supports the Technician Commitment.

Technical roles have become more visible within our organisation, we regularly publish articles on our external website, intranet and social media feeds celebrating scientific officers’ accomplishments, awards given and highlighting their roles in features.

The Scientific Officer Association continues to play a key role in uplifting Scientific Officers, including:

  • Travel and training bursaries.
  • The annual technical conference.
  • The Lunch and Learn series.

Next steps

The Learning and Organisational Development team will deliver two Technical Career Development Programmes. These practitioner-led career development programmes will be delivered by ICR and RITG partners, for existing technical staff at the ICR and RITG Institutions for staff at Higher Scientific Officer level or equivalent, and Core Facilities Managers and Senior technicians. These will be designed to equip individuals to grow into senior roles with management and leadership responsibilities, or, enhance leadership development and maximise services provided respectively.

Enhanced Professional Registration Support, which will maintain and improve, the current provision for professional registration through the Science Council and Engineering Council.

Piloting an internal Technician Exchange Programme between ICR divisions enabling work shadowing.

Action plans

Find out more about what has already been achieved and what we plan to do next in our action plans.

2024-2027 ICR Technician Commitment Action Plan

2021-2023 ICR Technician Commitment Action Plan

2018-2020 ICR Technician Commitment Action Plan