Executive Profiles

Helen Sharman OBE FRSC FIScT

Helen Sharman OBE FRSCHelen Sharman is the Operations Manager for the Chemistry Department at Imperial College.

Helen started her career with a degree in chemistry from the University of Sheffield before working in industry for GEC and then Mars Confectionery, where she was part of the team that created the Mars Ice Cream. After applying for a job that was advertised as, “Astronaut wanted,” Helen trained at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City near Moscow, becoming the first British astronaut when she launched into space on board a Soyuz space craft on 18 May 1991.

Helen became a science communicator after her space flight. More recently, she has started a new career in management, working at the National Physical Laboratory and at Kingston University London, before moving to Imperial College in the summer of 2015.

Terry Croft MBE FIScT

Terry Croft - IST Executive

Director of Technical Development and Modernisation, The University of Sheffield

Director of the Catalyst Project “Development & Embedding of Career Pathways for Technicians across the Higher Education Sector”

Terry started his career as an Analytical Chemist for a multinational mining company, Rio Tinto Zinc. The firm had facilities in Swansea and Bristol and he worked within the Analytical Support Team specialising in materials analysis and quality assurance. He also developed new analytical techniques and procedures as instrumentation technology advanced.

Three years later he came to the University of Sheffield to work as the Chief Technician in the Botany Department. Within four years, Terry became the Departmental Superintendent, and after another four years became Departmental Manager following the merger of two departments to create the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences that we have today. During this period he also added a number of postgraduate and specialist qualifications to his degree in Environmental Sciences.

This was a time of huge change in all science departments and Terry was able to bring to bear his management skills and deliver the changes in operations that were necessary. The external environment now required a visible professional approach to teaching and research and how the support services underpinned these activities accordingly. Terry was now championing the need for a more professional approach to the training and development of the technical workforce not only at the University of Sheffield but also in the HE sector as a whole.

Building on his industrial background, he also served as Director of Analytical Services, which was the commercial and research arm of the department. In addition, from that period onwards Terry was involved in a number of strategic committees, project and steering groups in the Department, the University and also Nationally. He continued to be promoted and in 2008 became one of the first Faculty Director of Operations.

In his career to date, Terry has received a number of awards and accolades. These included the award of a MBE, for services to humanity after he rescued an academic colleague and his family from the violence occurring in Iraq in 1992. The Institute of Science and Technology (IST) elected him to Fellow. Terry was also elected as the first President of the Professional Technical Specialists in Education Group. More recently he was given the status of “One of the Top 100 Leading Scientists 2014” by the UK’s Science Council.

Terry’s passion and commitment to the Technical Community resulted in his new role at the University of Sheffield as Director of Technical Development and Modernisation. He also became Chairman of the IST; the professional body that represents specialist, technical and managerial staff both nationally and internally and across all sectors including the HE sector. His wealth of knowledge and experience lead him to be awarded a three year Catalyst Grant by HEFCE. The project entitled “Development & Embedding of Career Pathways for Technicians across the Higher Education Sector” has a number of work streams covering a variety issues that are currently effecting the HE institutions. These include, awareness of the Professional Technician as a career choice, the various pipelines to enter the profession, skills shortages, succession planning, professional registration, career pathways and future proofing.

Technical Development and Modernisation at the University of Sheffield

Development & Embedding of Career Pathways for Technicians across the Higher Education Sector at HEFCE

Natalie Kennerley FIScT CSci – IST PR Advisor

Natalie KennerlyNatalie Kennerley is the Technical Manager for Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at the University of Sheffield. In this role Natalie is responsible for day-to-day running and long term planning of the Neuroscience facility which employs around 30 staff (from academics and researchers, to junior technicians and students). She has been a pivotal member of the University for 25 years – starting herself as a trainee immunohistochemistry technician. Quickly promoted to senior research technician her skills and experience have been instrumental in supporting the various research projects within the Neuroscience group in the department of Psychology. Her achievements have been recognised by the Institute of Science & Technology (IST) where she holds fellowship and Chartered Scientist status. Natalie is now actively involved with the IST and is an assessor for professional registration for RSciTech, RSci and CSci. She is also a member of the Science Council common pool of assessors and a member of the Science Council Registration Assessment Committee.

Natalie’s real passion is the promotion of technicians as highly skilled experts and she co-founded “Tech Net” a technical networking group which supports technicians in higher education institutions. Realising that the University of Sheffield wasn’t making full use of this skilled work pool she decided to construct and deliver a professional immunohistochemistry taught course imparting her knowledge and skills to the next generation while also presenting a new avenue of income generation for the University of Sheffield. She now directs ‘Theory and Practise’ with the aim of building a substantial portfolio of these professional courses across the University disciplines.

Joan Ward MBA FIScT

Joan Ward - IST ExecutiveHaving started as a trainee at the University of Manchester with minimal science qualifications Joan worked in a number of their bioscience labs whilst gaining additional qualifications in science subjects up to degree level (Open University).Following on from her basic grounding in teaching/research she then spent  10 years as a Lab Superintendent/Manager, during which time she secured over a number of years approaching £1m in grant income to support the development of trainee technician programmes (in collaboration with a local FE College). In addition she also helped develop and roll-out a bespoke software package designed to handle HE departmental/faculty accounts and research grants – the software ultimately becoming adopted by over 600 departments across the country/sector.As a consequence of departmental/faculty restructuring she then moved into Finance/Admin full-time where she set up a new faculty finance, purchasing and research administration unit – also completing an MBA (Open University) during this time.

After spending several years consolidating the new integrated unit and helping roll-out the model to other faculties she decided to take advantage of a University early retirement scheme (having over 30 years University service) and ‘jumped ship’ to set up her own consultancy company, which she continues to run today. Her company provides consultancy support for admin systems development and website design/development. Having joined the IST during her time as Lab Manager she continues to support the work of the Institute as Finance Officer and Administrator.

Philippa Nobbs BA(hons) MCGI CMIOSH FIScT

Philippa Nobbs - IST ExecutivePhilippa began her working life in a Further Education college as a laboratory technician and then a Senior Laboratory Technician, for more than 30 years.  During this time she was fortunate to have the opportunity to gain the City and Guilds Science Laboratory Technicians Certificates, Parts 1, 2 and 3.  She also gained a degree from the Open University, studying chemistry and technology.  In 1998, she was awarded Membership of City & Guilds of London Institute (following a project on training needs for lab technicians).  In 1997, she moved into Health and Safety as the college’s Health and Safety Officer until early retirement in 2006.

She became a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner in 2005 and now operates as an independent health and safety consultant, specialising in matters to do with chemicals including European requirements, COSHH and Safety Data Sheets. Philippa joined the IST in 1975, maintaining a low profile until 1992 when she won an IST competition to write training material for lab technicians.  This led to co-option to the IST’s Strategy Committee, co-option to Council in and election to Council in 1994.  She became Training Officer in 1995 and Education Officer in 1998, continuing as Education Officer to date.  In 1997, she was awarded the IST’s Perry Medal in recognition of services performed in the furtherance of the aims and ideals of the Institute.

She represents the IST in various national projects concerning training, qualifications and professional registration. Philippa has been involved in many aspects of technician training, both locally and nationally and has written training and assessment material for the IST and for national schemes.  Having seen many ‘new beginnings’ for technicians, she feels that the Science Council’s new registers offer the best opportunity yet for recognition of the skills, talents and intrinsic value of technicians in all workplaces.

Ian Moulson FIScT

Ian Moulson - IST ExecutiveIan is currently the Faculty of Engineering’s project coordinator for the University of Sheffield’s new engineering building, due to be completed in 2015. He was previously Departmental Manager of the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering at the University of Sheffield (UoS). He has been at UoS for some 40 years, beginning his career there as an electronics technician following a number of years in the electronics industry and an electrical engineering apprenticeship in the steel industry.Ian has developed technical knowledge across a diverse and wide range of engineering disciplines including electronic, electrical, control, computing, civil, mechanical, process, and materials engineering.Throughout his career Ian has built up a wealth of experience in managing and leading a diverse range of support staff teams. He has managed technical teams ranging in size from 2 to 40 people as well as small to medium sized administrative and managerial teams.His resource management responsibilities included finance, support staff, safety, buildings and facilities. He has also been heavily involved in wider university business for many years including university staff promotion and appeals panels.

For many years Ian has been actively involved in both promoting and delivering technical training at UoS and also more widely through the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) run courses, Leading Your Technical Team (LYTT) and Building on Your Leadership Skills (BYLS).

Ian is a Fellow of the Institute of Science & Technology (IST), IST Marketing Officer and editor of the IST Journal.

Kevin Oxley FIScT, CSci

Kevin Oxley - IST ExecutiveKevin began his career at the University of Sheffield in 1979 as a trainee Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer in the Department of Microbiology, undertaking various research projects and supporting teaching.  Highlights in this role include gaining an MPhil in the detection & diagnosis of Chlamydia infections, and setting up a novel reporter assay systems in the IL8 pathway on a robotic platform to undertake a functional screen of 1 million clones of a human CDNA library.

He first became involved in management in 1998, managing the refurbishment of the Medical School and was appointed Resources Manager for the School in 2004.  Over the last 10 years Kevin has undertaken a range of senior managerial positions, leading technical and support staff teams, under various administrations and is frequently called upon to bring his experience to a wide range of initiatives and projects University.  His current role is Department Manager in Infection & Immunity which is developing into a CEO role.

Kevin is working with the IST & the Science Council promoting the Technician Registration programme and he is the Programme Director for the LYTT & BYLS courses, which are now run through the Institute of Science & Technology (IST). Kevin was elected to the IST Executive in May 2014 as operates as Recruitment Officer.

Michelle Jackson PhD FIScT CSci

Michelle Jackson - IST ExecutiveMichelle graduated with a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Manchester in 1991, followed by a PhD in biochemistry which was awarded in 1994.  Over the next 9 years she worked in research labs as a post-doctoral scientist and technician in both Universities and the NHS.  In 2003 she was appointed as a Technical Resources Manager (TRM) within one of three research sections within the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester.In 2008 Michelle took up the post of Development Manager with the HEaTED project and as well as being actively involved in planning and directing the project, she developed their range of technical skills courses, Virtual Learning Environment, and set up the regional networking groups for technicians in HE.  Michelle left HEaTED in 2011 to set up as a consultant and has been working on some challenging projects with S-Lab, the IST and a variety of universities since then.Michelle has developed technical knowledge across a wide range of disciplines including, clinical research, immunology, molecular biology, biochemical and biophysical science and cellular biology.  In 2007 she became a Fellow of the Institute of Science and Technology and, with an A1 qualification, acts as an assessor for their Continuing Professional Development programme.

In 2008 Michelle was elected to the IST Executive and continued in that role until 2013 when she became the IST Registrar.  As Registrar Michelle oversees the new professional registration scheme offered by the IST which is licensed by the Science Council.  Along with members of the Executive committee Michelle was instrumental in setting up the new registration scheme run by the IST, and now coordinates the scheme and its assessors.

Derek Sayers FIScT, FInstLM, FRMS

Derek Sayers - IST ExecutiveDerek  joined  Science Technician’s Association (STA) in 1954 just a few months before it was incorporated and became the Institute of Science Technology (IST).  He initially worked as a Junior technician at University College London in the Pharmacology Department where The Head of the Department was Professor Winton who was at the time, President of the STA.Derek completed the Institute’s own 3 year technician Course and became ordinary technician.  He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps for three years and took the medical technology examinations.On leaving the Forces he joined the Institute of Orthopaedics at Stanmore Middlesex doing research histology.  He took the City & Guilds/IST final examination in histology in 1962 and became a Senior Technician.Over the next few years he wrote a number of scientific papers on orthopaedic research, mainly new histology techniques.  He became a State registered Medical Laboratory Technician in 1968.  About 1969 he became the Chairman of the London Branch of the IST and served on the Branch Committee until about 1973In 1974 whilst still working at the Institute he became director of a small company Reco Laboratory Products Ltd.   This company still exists today under the name ‘Reco Laboratory Services’

In 1982, after 3 years study Derek wrote a thesis for the IST Fellowship, on the histochemistry of mucopolysaccharides and became a Fellow of the Institute. In 1989 he joined the Council of the IST and then the Executive as the Overseas and Fellowship Officer; a post he still holds today. He retired as Manager of the Institute of Orthopaedics in 2003.

He is now semi-retired but still runs Courses on microscope repair and servicing and still plays an active part in Reco Laboratory Services. He provides valuable support for the Executive in his capacity as Fellowship and Overseas Officer.