IST Technical Conference 2022 Review

IST Technical Conference 2022, 14th September 2022,  
Spring Lane Teaching Building, University of York 
Theme: Teams behind the Scenes 

On 14th September 2022, delegates from across the country to attended the IST Annual Technical Conference at the fantastic facilities provided by the University of York.

Held in the Teaching Building on Spring Lane, we were especially delighted to be able to meet with our delegates in our first face-to-face Conference since the pandemic, and it proved to be as enjoyable and inspiring as we had hoped. 

The facilities at the venue were excellent and the staff and volunteer support were extremely helpful in directing attendees around the campus.  We were joined on the day by a range of sponsors and exhibitors who all played a key role at the event, and who our delegates enjoyed interacting with.  

The day began with IST Chair, Terry Croft MBE making a prompt start by welcoming everyone to the Conference, and after holding a one-minute’s silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II, introducing the Chair for the day, our President, Dr Helen Sharman, CMG OBE.

Helen then formally opened the Conference and introduced Professor Charlie Jeffery, Vice Chancellor of the University of York, who welcomed delegates to York; he voiced his appreciation of the contribution of technical community and hoped everyone enjoyed their visit to the city. Helen then introduced the first Keynote Speaker, Dr Hannah Roberts. Her fascinating talk “The Psychology of Selves: Beyond Imposter Syndrome received consistently positive feedback following the Conference.

Dr Hannah Roberts delivers keynote speech

Across the day, delegates attended workshops and demonstrations covering the themes: Career development; Arts & media technologies; Health and safety; Digital skills & AI; Environment & sustainability. Campus tours also took place.

The 2nd Keynote of the day was delivered by Michelle Fisher. Her talk: From Lab to Leadership”, which documented her career journey, was very well received. 

Following Michelle’s excellent talk, Terry and Helen were delighted to announce a number of awards, including 5 new IST Fellows:  Julia Barkans (Open University), Jan Brett (University of Liverpool),  Melissa Sterry (Bioratorium Limited), Gillian Riddell (Queens University Belfast) and Simon Breeden (University of York).  We were very pleased that both Gillian and Simon were able to attend the Conference to receive their Fellowships.

In addition to the Fellowships, Terry announced the winner and commendations from our Image Competition for which the theme was “Teams behind the Scenes.”  The winner of the image competition was Morgan Shaw, a Research Technician at Newcastle University, whose photo depicted her colleague Nicola Dyson, a Research Technician in the Newcastle University’s Transplant Regenerative Labs. 

Other images commended were from Joanna Scamp, a Facilities and Operations Technician came second place with the pencil drawing, Unsung Heroes, which depicted Antonio Mendoza, an Electronics Technician at the University of University of Kent. Also, Paula Boeira, a Research Technician at the Hepatology Research Group, University of Plymouth, for her photo submission of technician, Helge Mruck collecting liver cells from liquid nitrogen. 

Once the awards had been presented,  Terry and Helen thanked the delegates for joining us for the day, wishing everyone a safe journey home for when the final sessions had finished.  

After the final workshop/demo sessions were completed, the bulk of our delegates headed for home, tired, but hopefully inspired by the day’s activities. At this point the IST was proud to be able to host an extra event in collaboration with UKRI-Research England and MI TALENT as they joined us in York to launch their report: Research Culture: A Technician Lens. The project and report aimed to provide greater understanding of research culture from the perspective of technicians as key research enablers and teachers. We were joined by representatives from key stakeholder organisations. 

The IST Executive certainly enjoyed the day and took away lots of ideas for 2023! We would like to say a sincere thanks to all the delegates that joined us for the day, the Conference planning team who developed the day’s programme, Keynote speakers, workshop/demo presenters and the University of York.

We would also like to say a special thank you to our Key Sponsors, UnigreenScheme and CryoStorage Solutions and our exhibitors and career zone supporters. The Conference would not happen without every single person who supported this year’s event, and we hope to see you all in 2023. 

For more information about the IST Technical Conference 2022