The Technician Commitment

Steering Group

Sarah DaviesProfessor Sarah Davies, Committee Chair

Role title: Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Science and Engineering, Professor of Sedimentology

Background: I am Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Science and Engineering. In this role, I have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the College, supporting and empowering all staff and students of the College to fulfil their citizens of change ambitions. I am also a member of the Executive Board, Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and the Academic Leadership Team. I am the Executive sponsor for the Technician Commitment and a strong advocate for technical staff at senior leadership level.

Dr Rebecca Draper

Role title: Deputy Director, RED (Research Strategy, Operations, Governance & Doctoral College)

College or area: Research and Enterprise Division

Background: I have worked in the HE sector for over 25 years, beginning as a researcher before moving to various Professional Services roles – Operations Manager, Director of Operations in the College of Life Sciences and currently the Deputy Director of the Research and Enterprise Division.  The Technician Commitment underscores the opportunity to highlight the specialised and invaluable contributions made by our technicians to the success of the University, as well as their distinct needs for professional support and development. I have been member of the steering group since 2019 and am proud to collaborate with colleagues to drive forward our agenda and uphold our commitments and responsibilities.

Gemma Black, Committee Co-Chair

Role title: Head of Technical Services Development and Strategy

Background: I have worked at the University for over 16 years, initially working within the Department of Geography as a Technician and taking on the role of Technical Services Manager within the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment. I have previous experience working as a technician in both industry and research. Currently, I lead on the Technician Commitment at the University and am involved in several external networks including Midlands Innovation Technical Manager’s Strategy Group.

Benjamin Palmer, Committee Secretary

College or area: College of Science and Engineering

Role title: College Administrator and PA to the Head of the College of Science and Engineering

Background: I am the College Administrator for the College of Science and Engineering, as well as Personal Assistant to the Head of College. In my role I support the College Leadership and serve as Secretary for a number of Committees. My background is in public engagement with science and history of science, although I did study biochemistry and work for a number of years as a biochemical researcher and teaching technician.

Rachel Armitage

Department/School: School of Archaeology and Ancient History

College or area: College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

Role title: Technical Services Manager / SEM Technician

Background: I have worked in HE for around 16 years, I am a chemist with a background in analytical techniques and microscopy and have now moved across to support the labs in archaeology. I have been involved in the Technician Commitment at the previous institution I worked at and wanted to see how I could continue to support and develop technical staff.

Dr Georgina Barnett 

Department/School: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy Team

College or area: College of Life Sciences

Role title: EDI Project Coordinator

Background: My role at the University is to promote and support a working and learning environment where everyone has equal opportunity to thrive and develop, have a sense of belonging, and where we celebrate our diversity. The objectives and principles of the Technician Commitment support this, and have overlapping elements with other areas of development, such as the Athena Swan Charter to progress gender equality, and the Race Equality Charter. I am really pleased to be able to be part of the Technician Commitment Steering Group in order to help bring all of these areas together.

Nina Bhanji

Department/School: Physics and Astronomy

College or area: College of Science and Engineering

Role title: Technical Services Manager for Physics and Astronomy

Background: I have worked as a technician at the University of Leicester for over 30 years. Across different roles, from Teaching, Research, Departmental Technician, and now Technical Services Manager. Throughout my career I have been enthusiastic about the recognition and visibility of technicians. In my current role I have supported and encouraged staff to develop their careers through training and networking opportunities.

Dr Neelam Dave

Department/School: School of Biological Sciences 

College or area: College of Life Sciences 

Role title: Teaching Experimental Officer 

Background: I began my career as a Departmental Technician in Genetics and Genome Biology, while completing my PhD part-time. Currently, I work as a Teaching Experimental Officer, offering technical and practical guidance in coordinating the design, development, and execution of laboratory-based teaching for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees within the School of Biological Sciences. 

Tamara Hissett 

Department/School: Organisational Development 

College or area: HR Division 

Role title: Organisational Development Advisor 

Background: I have a background in HR and Career Development, but currently work in the Organisational Development Team, with a focus on utilising behavioural science and an understanding of human dynamics to support the University with Change, Leadership and Cultural development.  I am also the Staff Apprenticeship Lead at the Institution. 

Diana Martin

Department/School: Department of Genetics and Genome Biology

College or area: College of Life Sciences

Role title: Departmental Technician

Background: I have worked as a Technician in the Department of Genetics and Genome Biology since 2013, having spent 4 years as a technician in industry. I love how varied my role is, from teaching, to project management, safety to outreach, and I’m excited to help promote the technical role and to help implement the University’s commitment to technicians.

Jon Tillotson-Roberts

Department/School: Molecular and Cell Biology

College or area: College of Life Sciences

Role title: Technical Services Manager

Background: I am passionate about the role of technicians at the University and making sure we are seen and heard.  I have a research background having been a postdoctoral researcher for 14 years before switching to a technical career with a year as a senior technician before taking on the role of technical service manager, a role I have now held for 9 years.  I am a member of the steering committee since inception and a member of the visibility working group.

Genna Tyrrell

Department/School: School of Geography, Geology and the Environment. 

College or area: College of Science and Engineering.

Role title: Stable Isotope Technician. 

Background: I started at the University of Leicester in 2013, studying for a BSc in Geography. After graduating, I became an intern within the School’s technical team which gave me my first insight into how varied the role of a technician really is. After finishing my internship, I was lucky to be offered an MPhil using the stable isotopes of carbon nitrogen and hydrogen to understand the past environment of two locations within Colombia. This then led into my current role as a Stable Isotope Technician within the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment. I have been working in the role for the past 4.5 years and support the funded research and postgraduate students within the School. I have been lucky to receive recognition for the lab results I have produced, and over the past two years I have been co-author on five research papers, one of which was published in Nature. I believe that both visibility and recognition for technicians are imperative for staff wellbeing.

Gareth Warden

College or area: ECS, Carbon and Energy 

Role title: BEMS Technician apprentice

Background: I have been a member of staff at the university for 20 years. Firstly, with Leicester Services Partnership (LSP), then retrained as an electrician in 2015 and moved over to estates as an electrician shortly after. Currently coming to the end of my 2nd apprenticeship at the university, this one is for a building energy management systems technician.

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