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Queen's celebrates the work of technical staff with first University-wide Technician Showcase

As part of our continuing support of the Technician Commitment, Queen's University Belfast's first Technician Showcase took place on Monday 9 September in the Ashby Building and School of Biological Sciences.

The aim of the event was to help increase the visibility of our technicians and their work, both across the technical community itself and to the academic community. The University-wide event brought together staff, students and visitors for a range of talks, demonstrations and displays that showed off the work carried out by the Queen's skilled and diverse technical staff. The live demonstrations ranged from laboratory work on vaccines to using augmented reality to show ancient artefacts and the art and science of glass blowing.

Gillian Riddell, event organiser and a Technician in the School of Biological Sciences, said:

"We were very proud to welcome colleagues from across Queen's to our first Technician Showcase. This event was organised by technicians, with support from the highest levels within the University. The purpose of these events is to demonstrate and promote awareness of technical talent and recognise the contribution to research and teaching at Queen's, and also provide an opportunity to network and share information on opportunities for personal and professional development available to technical staff.

"The event was a great success and it has been wonderful to hear the great feedback from across the staff community, including on social media, around how deeply valued we are for our input as part of the wider University team."

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor Emma Flynn, delivered the keynote address, 'Elaine, Andy and Me? Or the story of a developmental psychologist who needs two pairs of hands, two heads, and to be in two places at once', which explored the ways in which close collaboration with technical colleagues has enriched and, indeed, made possible her research into the acquisition of culture, and how culture changes.

Guest speaker Kelly Vere, Higher Education Engagement Manager at the Science Council, who leads on the Science Council's work with the Higher Education sector and industry to promote a professional identity for scientists and technicians, highlighted the contribution of technical staff within the Higher Education Sector in her address, as well as the importance of visibility and representation.

The event also brought guests from the Institute of Science & Technology (IST), the National Technican Development Centre and Higher Education and Technician's Educational Development (HEaTED) – the UK's leading provider of professional development and networking opportunities for all disciplines of the technical workforce – to the University to answer questions around the Technician Commitment and promote the benefits of Professional Registration to technicians at Queen's.

Commenting on the significance of the Technician Showcase, Professor Emma Flynn said:

"This technician-led event was an impressive and engaging celebration that demonstrated the broad range of technical expertise across Queen's. As an academic, I am deeply aware of the value of the expertise that technical colleagues provide in collaborating with us to progress research and teaching activity. It was, therefore, wonderful to take the opportunity of the showcase, and my keynote address, to reflect with gratitude on the vital contribution of the technical workforce within the University."

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engineering and Physical Sciences, Professor Mark Price, who opened the event, commented:

"Our outstanding technical people underpin our work as a University and are of key importance in helping us achieve our strategic priorities in education, research and innovation and impact. The Technician Showcase was a welcome and important opportunity to highlight the excellence and diversity of Queen's technical community.

"What a fantastic way to bring our work to life and to show how professionally our technical teams can run major events. Our Vice-Chancellor, members of the University Executive Board, Heads of School and many Professional Services staff have been bowled over by this event, and they have all left talking about how great our technical teams are. You can't do better than that."

View the event in pictures.