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About the Technician Commitment

What is a Technician?

  • An expert in the practical application of a science.
  • A specialist in the technical details of a subject or occupation
  • A person employed to look after technical equipment or do practical work in a laboratory.
  • worker trained with special skills or knowledgeespecially in how to operate machines or equipment used in science
  • Someone whose occupation involves training in a specific technical process
  • Synonyms: animator, skilled worker

These are some of the definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary, Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary and the Collins Dictionary. A technician is all of these and more. Technical staff in universities give support, strength, and basic structure to research and teaching. This is why we, along with many other universities around the UK, are choosing to voice our recognition of the qualities and good work of our technicians by way of the Technician Commitment.

What is the Technician Commitment?

Universities are complex organisations whose success depends on a network of interrelated, interconnected roles and responsibilities. Take any element away, diminish the significance of any part, and the whole suffers.

Research by the Technician Council found the UK must educate another 450,000 technicians across all sectors by 2020 to address a massive skills shortage. On average, UK Higher Education institutions will lose between 25-35 per cent of their highly skilled professional technicians in the next three to five years as many reach retirement age, taking their knowledge and expertise with them.

The Science Council developed the Technician Commitment to address these challenges. It is a university and research institution initiative, led by a steering group of sector bodies, with support from the Science Council and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Technicians Make It Happen campaign.

The Technician Commitment is spearheaded by Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz (Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge) and Professor Sir David Greenaway (Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham) and aims to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research across all disciplines.

Universities and research institutes are invited to become signatories of the Technician Commitment and pledge action against the key challenges affecting their technical staff.

Who we work with

The Durham University Technician Commitment is made possible by the following organisations.

Are you a Technician?


The Technicians Make it Happen (TMiH) campaign aims to raise the profile of technicians.
GATSBY logo of running figure on white

Science Council

The Science Council provides the quality assurance system for those working in science.
Science council logo of coloured square boxes on white background

Technicians Make It Happen

Technicians Make it Happen is geared towards inspiring young people.
Technicians make it happen logo on white background