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New funding to support research technical professionals

25 Mar 2024

University senior technical specialists lead three projects of 11 in a £16 million investment by funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)


Community groups working to support technical and research software roles are set to benefit from a share of a new £16 million investment.

Three of 11 projects, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI), will be led by University senior technical specialists.

Research Technical Professionals (RTPs) are vital to the effective operation of research infrastructure across the UK. They use their skills and experience to support academic and industrial research, as well as train users in the latest techniques and methods.

As well as providing valuable additional skills to improve their long-term career prospects the projects will train RTPs in areas such as:

  • software development
  • data management and processing
  • materials science
  • biomolecular engineering.

Collectively, these projects offer a range of interdisciplinary platforms that will nurture specialists applying these skills to scientific and engineering challenges and provide systematic support to the RTP community.

Their work will include both physical and digital training and development in UK universities that has a strategic regional or national focus and is based around a group of institutions or a particular scientific field or technology.

Among the funded projects will be the strategic technical platform for university technical professionals (STEP-UP). This will work to create a ‘people infrastructure’ of expert technical talent, along with career opportunities to support them. This will ensure that researchers have the skills to keep up with the rapid pace of developments in research computing, data and artificial intelligence (AI).

The Manchester-led projects are Developing technical capability and capacity for UK secure data environments, led by Dr Philip Couch; Development of a national facility and technical training hub for ‘biomolecule engineering’, led by  Dr Derren Heyes; and RTP-led national technical platform for materials innovation, led by Professor Tony Horner.

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