Together we thrive
At the Sanger Institute we appreciate that our incredible science is a team effort, with everyone at all levels of the organisation contributing their unique talents and experience. Without the hard work and professionalism of all our staff many of the Sanger Institute’s great achievements would never have happened. When all our staff thrive, our science thrives, and we have embraced the Technician Commitment to ensure that our colleagues are able to grow their careers to their full potential, and drive the next wave of biological and health discoveries through their creativity and skill.
Our commitment to our technical staff extends across the full range of their working life: visibility, recognition, professional and career development and peer support. We seek to make sure that our staff are part of a community where they are supported and valued at all levels within the Institute and externally.
Dedicated support, training and professional development
To ensure that the Sanger Institute’s activities best support our staff, we have led the way in UK by employing a full-time Technician Commitment manager dedicated delivering positive change and new initiatives throughout the organisation.
The manager leads our Sanger Technician Commitment team of volunteers, which focuses solely on developing and sustaining our community of technical staff. Through events, awards, training and funding for professional registration, the team provides a pro-active link between colleagues, research areas, scientists, administrators, technical staff and the wider research community.
Who are our technical staff?
At the Sanger Institute, we believe that many roles beyond those traditionally described as technical are vital to the Institute’s work, and are valuable members of our organisation. For this reason we describe our Technicians and Technical Experts as:
“People trained and/or skilled in the techniques, tools and technology of their subject, whose practical application of knowledge, including hands-on support, directly contributes to the teaching, learning, research and enterprise activities of the Institute.’
More than half of the Institute’s staff are technical staff and we seek to nurture and develop the careers and skills of all our members of the Research Assistant, Scientific management, Staff Scientist, Technician, IT and Informatics job families.
Our Action Plan
To read our detailed plans, please download our Wellcome Sanger Institute’s Technician Commitment Action Plan for 2021-2024.pdf
Sanger Technical staff have clear, transparent and consistent Career Framework supported by Learning and Development opportunities across the Institute.
We strive to ensure that the work, contribution and expertise of our Sanger Technical staff are visible at their work place and via internal and external communication channels:
- through case studies on the Institute’s website and blog (for examples, please see the bottom of this page)
- at events
- on the Sanger Institute’s Technician Commitment Twitter account: @TechComm_Sanger
- through involvement in external Technician Commitment collaborations such as the Research Institute Technician Group (RITG) which is formed by the contribution of nine institutes.
To help drive recognition of the vital role and professionalism of our Technical staff, we deliver:
- Internal and external award schemes
- Sanger Publication policy
- Representation on official documents
Support to thrive
We seek to provide a sustainable network of opportunities and support through:
- guidance and funding for professional registration
- a Technician Commitment grant that technicians can draw on for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities
- Technician Learning and Development policy which entitles technical staff to at least two CPD opportunities per year.
Find out more by reading the first-hand experiences of our Sanger Institute colleagues of pursuing and gaining Professional Registration, along with their thoughts on how it has benefitted their careers.
For Technical Staff by Technical Staff
The Sanger Institute gives all our Technical staff the opportunity to support and grow the Technician Commitment activities of the Institute by providing paid time to volunteer in Technican Commitment activities. The Technician Commitment is for Technical staff, led by Technical staff.
We are keen for all our technical staff to make the most of the opportunities available to them. To make sure that no one misses out, the Institute has developed a range of strong and clear communication channels to disseminate the latest developments, policies and events both at the Institute and beyond. We provide a range of supportive intranet pages that are regularly reviewed, and offer further updates via a dedicated mailing list.
Meeting everyone's needs
To ensure that the Institute continues to grow and develop its support for its technical staff in the most valuable and effective ways possible, we regularly consult with our technical staff to discover any unmet needs, and be challenged as to where we could do better.
To do this we run open-access coffee mornings, online surveys, and host pop-up information stands across the Institute to meet our staff where they are.
We also provide individual and tailored support and help via email.
Meet our Technical Staff
Steps we've taken so far
To see how we have been changing culture and delivering on our policies, please download our WSI_May_2021_Technician_Commitment_Self_Assessment.pdf
Essential Skills of a Laboratory Manager: A Technician’s perspective by Liam Prestwood
"There is no standard day to day as a Lab Manager, which means you never know what will come up and you have to be quite dynamic and flexible, which keeps it interesting." Find out more
Fighting COVID-19 with data
Jon joined the Sanger Institute in early 2019 and volunteered to help the Sanger Institute's COVID-19 genomic surveillance effort in early 2020 Find out more
A day in the life of a software developer
Aleksandra builds data infrastructure to provide fast and easy access to the large amount of microscopy data sets for various projects Find out more