Contributed by: Dr Liese Ganderton (Teaching Technical Supervisor, School of Biosciences)
On 10 May, the main foyer and coffee shop areas of the Sir Martin Evans Building were buzzing with anticipation as we welcomed over 100 technical staff from schools across the University (and a few from beyond) to our first ever Technical Staff Conference. Organised by Fiona Gagg (School of Dentistry) and Liese Ganderton (School of Biosciences) this was an event aimed specifically at technicians, a section of professional services who are often the mainstay of many teaching and research groups.
After a warm welcomeby Professor Stuart Palmer, the Chair of Cardiff University Council and a champion for technicians getting the recognition they deserve, the keynote speaker, Mr Jonathan Cresswell of Exeter University gave us an overview of the Technical Services Department at Exeter University and the transformation they have undergone to support career development for their technical staff and to improve the technical service.
Professional registration and career development were represented by a number of professional bodies, including the Science Council, Royal Society of Biology, Institute of Science and Technology, and HEaTED. All speakers from these bodies, including Beatrix Fahnert (Chair of the South Wales branch of the Royal Society of Biology and a member of staff in BIOSI) presented the audiences with plenty of information and incentive to strive for professional development and registration, (whether RSciTech, RSci, or CSci) as formal recognition for their knowledge, skills and expertise.
The event would not have been possible without our sponsors and we were delighted that they were able to offer additional support by giving a variety of very informative presentations, including topics ranging from research techniques to lab sustainability and safety. The foyer area was the base for our suppliers’ exhibition giving delegates the opportunity to discuss the latest products and developments.
We were very fortunate to receive a great deal of support from staff within the University who gave up their time to speak to us on a number of different topics. Safety and Staff Wellbeing (SSW), the Central Biotechnology Services (CBS), JBIOS and Staff Wellbeing were all in attendance and provided a range of very interesting talks. Following lunch, Dr Rhys Jones (BIOSI lecturer and BBC TV presenter) entertained everyone with a fascinating and often hilarious description of his journey to “Becoming Dr Jones”.
The poster session showcased both specific research topics and individual technical teams and congratulations go to Sam Loveless, winning the technical team poster and Morgan Marsden, winning the research poster with Laura Humphrey (team) and Lucy Marsh (research) highly commended. Thanks also to Prof Alastair Sloan (School of Dentistry), David Beaumont-Walker (School of Physics and Astronomy) and Kelly Vere (Science Council) for acting as poster judges. The day was rounded off with a wine reception and a chance to chat with other technicians.
This first conference was a great success. We would like to thank everyone who attended on the day, those who provided very constructive feedback and especially those who helped out, behind the scenes, in the months before. Thank you so much for your support – we couldn’t have done this without you.