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Advancing Visibility, Knowledge and Collaborative Opportunities for Research Technical Professionals

Who are RTProfs?

Research technicians and technology and skills specialists have expert knowledge and technical competence in their field.

They may include - but are not limited to - data scientists, data engineers, archivists, informaticians, statisticians, software developers, audio-visual technologists, technical professional staff and individuals staffing and managing core research facilities, across all disciplines.

Why are RTProfs important?

  • RTProfs are critical to success of education, research and innovation

  • Despite this, frequently described as ‘invisible workforce’

  • Our Technician Commitment aims to address visibility, sustainability, recognition and career development

  • Warwick is one of the leaders in cultural change, via Research England funded TALENT Programme and EPSRC funded WASC.

What did the research hope to achieve?

The team ran two events to build a national RTProf community. These were:

  • Opportunities and Landscape of Funding for Research Technical Professionals: One day event with attendance from 40 RTProfs in person and 75 online. The event featured UKRI talks from Linda Holliday, Dr Nik Ogryzko, Andrew Dicken and Dr Tony Chapman. It provided and opportunity for RTProfs to speak directly to UKRI and ask questions around funding.

  • The National RTProf Network: Enhancing Research Culture: This was a two day event with attendance from 53 RTProfs in person, 50 online. Topics included attracting, developing and retaining RTProfs, leadership skills, research data management, funding for RTProfs from EPSRC and BBSRC and best practices for equipment sharing and knowledge exchange.


    Key outcomes of the project included:

    • Networks built and collaboration instigated.

    • Initiation of a more focused network around facility staff with involvement from Cambridge, Nottingham, Bath, Manchester, Edinburgh and Warwick. The first of these events is scheduled for March 2023.

    • Ensuring inclusion of events in internal EPSRC newsletter.

    As a result of the project's activities, EPSRC have revised the statement to more explicit open opportunities for RTProfs.

Next steps

Following on from the above, the team will now re-evaluate current institutional ED&I goals from the viewpoint of research career pipeline.

They will also seek to develop positive action initiatives, targeting most “leaky” parts of the pipeline, and re-evaluate the current “pastoral/peer support” for PGRs and ECRs.

Training effort across the campus will also need to be co-ordinated, with a unified vision for research culture improvement, as well as the development of capacity to rigorously evaluate “what works.”

Image credit: Hollis Photography