Dr Helen Sharman CMG OBE, FRSC FIScT

Helen Sharman CMG OBE

Helen Sharman is the UK Outreach Ambassador at Imperial College London and a world-class inspirational speaker. She became the first British Astronaut in 1991, when she launched on a Soyuz rocket to carry out experiments on the Mir Space Station.

After her return from space, Helen spent many years communicating science and its benefits, winning prizes for radio and TV programmes and for her inspirational talks on STEM, leadership, teamwork and problem solving.

Following a degree in chemistry at the University of Sheffield, Helen started her career in industry in research and development of display screens at GEC before moving to Mars Confectionery, where she was part of the team that created the Mars Ice Cream.

More recently, Helen started a new career in management, leading a research group at the National Physical Laboratory and then as Technical Manager for Science, Engineering and Computing at Kingston University London. She was the Operations Manager of Imperial College London’s Chemistry Department before moving into Imperial’s Outreach Team.

Helen is also member of the Science Museum Advisory Board, an Ambassador for the Royal Osteoporosis Society and an active member of the Association of Space Explorers. She hosts the Zero Pressure podcast (available on https://linktr.ee/zeropressurepod), a relaxed conversation with people on the cutting edge, looking at how science and technology can contribute to solving complex, interrelated global challenges of today and tomorrow.

Helen was invited to join the Order of St Michael and St George in the Queen’s 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

Terry Croft MBE, FIScT CSci

Terry Croft MBE, IST Chair

IST Chair and CEO

Terry began his career as an Analytical Chemist for a multinational mining company, where he developed new analytical techniques and procedures as instrumentation technology advanced. He moved to the University of Sheffield to work as the Chief Technician in the Botany Department. Over the next eight years he continued to advance, becoming Departmental Manager of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences. All the while championing the need for a more professional approach to the training and development of technicians in the HE sector; Terry received several more promotions before undertaking the role of Faculty Director of Operations.

For many years, Terry has been an active member of his professional body, the Institute of Science and Technology, (IST). In May 2012, he was elected as Chair of the IST, a position he still holds today.

Terry’s passion and commitment to the Technical Community lead to his appointment as Director of Technical Development and Modernisation at the University of Sheffield in 2013. In 2014, he was awarded a three-year Catalyst Grant by HEFCE to undertake the TDM Project, which covered a variety of issues affecting Higher Education Institutions. In December 2017 he was awarded £1.125m to launch the National Technician Development Centre (NTDC) for technicians and their employers. After a highly successful three years for the NTDC, Terry retired from his Director’s role in January 2020 and remains as the NTDC’s Founding Director.

Terry was awarded an MBE for services to humanity after he rescued an academic colleague and his family from the violence occurring in Iraq in 1992. He was named ‘One of the Top 100 Leading Scientists 2014’ and awarded Chartered Scientist status by the Science Council. He is also the current Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Science and Technology.

Terry’s new role is as Founding Director of the National Technician Development Centre; a one-stop shop, providing organisations and their technical communities with access to information, expertise and a range of research and tools.

Lucy Hudson BSc FIScT

Lucy HudsonIST Secretary

Lucy is the IST Secretary, and has responsibility for ensuring that we comply with legislative requirements and that we maintain suitable official records, and also for the coordination of our Executive meetings and documentation.

She is Operations Manager of the Department of Biology at University of York, where she has worked for 30 years. Lucy manages the technical support, services and facilities of the Department, with more than 11oo undergraduates, 150 researchers, 70 academics & 90 technicians.

Lucy is also a trustee and member of the Royal Society of Biology, a Fellow of the IST and an external advisor for the National Technician Development Centre

Jan Brett BSc FIScT

Jan BrettIST Equity and Diversity Officer

Jan Brett has worked in technical services for more than 25 years.

Jan has an MSc. in Molecular Genetics, a BSc. (Hons) in Biomedical Technology and is a registered Chartered Scientist. She has worked as both a research assistant and technician, having working her way up the grades from 4-7 inclusive at a number of higher education institutions, including time spent working at the University of Queensland in Australia.

Jan was a technical team leader managing the University of Liverpool’s research labs at Leahurst for over thirteen years and in July 2020 moved into her new role in the Technology, Infrastructure and Environment Directorate, where she  is the Technical Development and Planning Officer.  Her goal is to support the development of the technical staff at the University of Liverpool and embed the aims of the Technician Commitment at Liverpool.

Jan took on the role as the IST’s Equity and Diversity Officer in May 2024, and is a member of the IST’s Women in Tech Group.

Dr. Michelle Jackson FIScT CSci

Michelle JacksonIST Registrar

Michelle graduated with a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Manchester in 1991, followed by a PhD in biochemistry which was awarded in 1994. Michelle’s career path started in biological sciences research, and after deciding that the academic route was not a good fit for her, she moved into the technical family undertaking research, but ultimately moving into technical management. During her career, she has held a number of senior posts including working on two national HEfCE funded projects which allowed her to visit UK HEIs and research institutes across the country. She has also spent some time as a Technical Manager at the University of Nottingham, as Deputy Director of Operations at the University of Sheffield and as a Technical Careers Manager for the MI TALENT project. She is currently Head of Technical Services at the University of Manchester, FBMH.

Michelle joined the Institute of Science & Technology (IST) in 2007 and was elected as a Fellow. She joined the IST Executive Board the year after and in 2012 took on the role of Registrar, a role which she continues to hold. As Registrar, Michelle oversees the professional registration schemes offered by the IST and coordinates the various frameworks and their assessors.


Arthur Nicholas

IST Education Officer

Arthur is a Specialist Advisor to the National Technician Development Centre (NTDC) and has previously served as a Trustee of the Science Council. During a long career as a professional Technician, Scientist and Management practitioner, Arthur became highly knowledgeable of and skilled in the effective delivery of research, teaching and professional services in the UK’s Higher Education Institution (HEI) sector.

Arthur commenced his career at the University of Manchester, in 1975, as a trainee Technician. He completed his education and developed his professional profile whilst progressing his Technical, Scientific and Managerial career at the University.  He attained an M.Sc., PhD and Chartered membership of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (CMIOSH). He is a Member of the Institute of Safety in Technology and Research (MISTR) and a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) and Institute of Science and Technology (FIScT).

Arthur served as an elected member of Manchester University’s General Assembly. He held the posts of Treasurer and Chair for the University Bioscience Managers’ Association (UBMA) and acted as a Regional Network Co-ordinator for both HEaTED and The Universities Safety and Health Association (USHA).

Arthur has well established, productive working relationships within a number of professional bodies and organisations. Working with them, he has actively contributed to shaping best practice and achieving, HEI sector wide, advances; most notably in enhancing the professionalism, employability and career progression prospects of technical staff and in the development of safe & sustainable laboratories.

Dr Marie Oldfield CStat CSci APAI FIScT

Marie Oldfield

IST AI & External Engagement Officer

Dr Marie Oldfield, CStat, CSci, APAI, FIScT, is the Chair and Founder of the IST AI Special Interest Group and Women in Tech Group. Marie is the CEO of Oldfield Consultancy and Senior Lecturer in Practice at LSE.

Marie is a recognised and published AI and EthicsLeader with a background in Mathematics and Philosophy. Marie is a trusted advisor to Governments, Defence, and the Legal Sector amongst others. Marie works at the forefront of Ethical AI, driving improvement and development.

Marie is frequently invited to speak on popular podcasts, panels and at conferences about her experience and research on the development of Ethics in AI as well as being invited to speak at Chatham House and at multiple companies on AI and Ethics issues.

Marie is passionate about giving back and has worked with many institutions including the UN, Nethope, MapAction, and various international bodies and governments to promote education, help in disaster relief and improve the life chances of the most poor and vulnerable across the globe.

Marie is the founder member of the IST’s AI Special Interest Group and is their Chair, and she is also the founder member of the IST’s Women in Tech Group.

Joan Ward BA MBA FIScT

Joan WardIST Deputy Chair/Finance Officer

Having started her career as a trainee technician at the University of Manchester, with minimal science qualifications, Joan worked in a number roles in 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 approaching £1m in grant income (over a number of years) to support the development of trainee technician programmes. In addition she also helped develop a bespoke software package designed to handle HE departmental/faculty accounts and research grants – the software ultimately becoming adopted by over 400 departments across the country/HE sector. As a consequence of departmental/faculty restructuring she moved into a Finance/Admin role 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 finance/research grants unit, and helping to roll-out the model to other faculties,  she took early retirement 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 Deputy Chair. During her time as Finance Officer, she was part of the team that obtained funding for, and facilitated the setup of HEaTED. She was also heavily involved in the IST’s teams which gained a Science Council Licence for the award of CSci, RSci and RSciTech registration. Joan has a strong commitment to the development of technical staff career opportunities and the enhancement of  the professionalisation of the technical community. She is currently on the Board of Trustees of the National Technician’s Development Centre, and also spent 4 years previously on the Science Council’s Board of Trustees.

JP Ashton-Kinlin RSci FIScT

John-Paul Ashton-KinlinMarketing & Development Officer

John-Paul commenced his career working in industry before moving to the University of Sheffield Biomedical Science Department in 2013. Whilst at the University, JP took on many technical and co-ordinator roles collaborating with international institutions and carried out various research projects in neuroscience, cardiovascular science and behaviour analysis. During this time, JP became a member of the Technicians Network and became Co-chair in 2017. At the same time he was involved with the University Technician Commitment Steering Group, championing the technical community.

John-Paul side-stepped into the business world in 2018 (firstly alongside his position at the University) by setting up and running his own companies, using the skills he developed from working as a technician. One of his businesses generates a gross annual turnover of £500,000 and has a workforce of over 100 staff; a mixture of full-time and part-time roles.

In 2024, JP became a member of the IST Executive. As Marketing & Development Officer he oversees the marketing plan as well as finding ways to enhance the way the IST operates to make it a better experience for members. Along with members of the Executive committee and wider technical community, JP was instrumental in setting up the new creative registration scheme run by the IST, as well as designing and developing the Publications; including the Journal, the Tech Magazine and the Bulletin.