TDF winning project proposals revealed

27 March 2023

An exclusive funding opportunity to support innovative technical initiatives.

Three applicants to the NTDC’s Technician Development Fund (TDF) have successfully won funding to launch their innovative project ideas.

Neil Guthrie, a Technician in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University; Lizzy James, a Technical Manager in Engineering and Environment; and Cecil Cherian Lukose, a Scientific Officer (both from Northumbria University) have secured the development funding this year having provided strong cases for their projects.

The TDF provides technical staff with an opportunity to access funding to support innovative technical initiatives. It is just one of the many benefits that Partner Affiliate members of the NTDC have access to. 

The fund consists of two streams: ‘Promoting technical careers to the next generation’ (won by Lizzy and Neil), which called for outreach engagement ideas that support the promotion of technical careers to the next generation, and ‘Improving reproducibility in research (won by Cecil), which asked the technical community to assist in making research more reproducible.

Neil won £500 for his proposed idea of a technical road show that visits local schools to promote a career as a technician. The roadshow allows pupils to interact with technical staff whilst addressing the matters of: ‘how we became technicians?’, ‘what technicians do?’, ‘what would happen without technicians?’, and ‘why we enjoy being technicians’. The roadshow also provides demonstrations and activities.

Neil said, “I am absolutely delighted to receive this funding and believe this will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the work that technicians do. 

“I am looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues at Edinburgh Napier University to provide an engaging and enjoyable experience to hopefully inspire some future technicians.”

Lizzy has received £500 funding for an outreach idea aimed at secondary school children that focuses on highlighting the roles technical staff play in ‘making’. The project will deliver workshops in the areas of art, design, architecture and engineering, and will enable the children to visit the university campus, work in technical spaces and meet the wider technical team who will talk about their roles.

Lizzy said, “We are really thrilled that the NTDC has supported our proposal. Northumbria University has a team of talented and inspirational technical staff working across science, engineering and the creative industries and we can’t wait to work with local schools to inspire the next generation. 

“We are so proud of the role we play in our local region demonstrated through our clear social mobility mission as an institution. We want to show that you can have an interesting and exciting technical career working for a university, and we think a set of making activities is the perfect tool to use to demonstrate this to future technicians.”

Cecil receives £1,000 for his idea on reproducibility in research which aims to eliminate bias among early career researchers. This involves developing a case study that compares the difference between a genuine mechanical process-induced outlier, and bias-generated outliers. The outcomes will be analysed and disseminated through an inter-department technician event within the university and through a journal publication.

Cecil said, “I am so excited to know that my proposal for improving research reproducibility has won the latest round of funding application organised by NTDC together with UK Reproducibility Network. 

“Through this project I hope to empower technical team(s) to positively influence the research culture thereby improving research reproducibility. The experience gained from the application process and the boost of confidence from its success, will equally contribute positively to mould my career trajectory.”

Read more about the funding opportunities

See previous winning projects