Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a list of frequently asked questions relating to professional registration at the University of Exeter.
Currently there are no formal statements out from the Research Councils as a group and the issue still under discussion. However, HEFCE, Gatsby and the BBSRC have already signed up to the need for professionalisation in the technical workforce. BBSRC are pushing this in their Technician Commitment. The University of Exeter is also a signatory to the Science Council Technician Commitment.
In terms of hard evidence, an increasing number of universities are advertising jobs with the JD document saying being a member of a professional body and having recognised (Science Council, Engineering Council, etc.) professional accreditation is "essential" (or will have gained this within 3 to 6 months of taking up the post).
Also with the majority of apprenticeships applicable in our sector require the apprentice to be a member of a professional body and at least working towards registration by the end of year 2. This means new staff coming in will have already got these requirements and therefore those not engaging could be left behind.
The third push is that if you are registered your institution is obliged to provide you with annual CPD (focussed on the role of course) which keeps you up to speed and definitely employable/retainable. You will meet the needs of the flexible and agile workforce which will definitely become the norm in all universities.
If staff don't engage then there is a possibility they will be left behind whether in teaching or research. Also other university professional services require professional registration and membership of a professional body as necessary to take the role in the first place (E.g CPID, AAT, etc) so we are simply professionalising the technical service.
At Exeter we are trying to get ahead of the game, so that when these changes come into force we will not feel any impact.
We highly recommend professional registration for technical staff. Professional registration:
- Formally recognises your previous knowledge and experience.
- Is linked to you individually, and is transferable between roles and organisations.
- It demonstrates your commitment to continued professional development and shows you maintain knowledge by keeping up to date in your field of expertise.
- It is a mutually respected and harmonised level of professional competence and understanding.
- Is visible to potential employers when you add your level after your name on CVs and address blocks.
- Is internationally recognised - it assures employers, your team and your customers that you are an accomplished professional.
Gatsby have a number of reports that are looking to address technician skills and development:
Please see the list of Science Council licensed professional bodies. The professional registers they hold (in brackets):
- Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CSci)
- Association for Science Education (RSciTech and RSci)
- Association of Neurophysiological Scientists (lCSci)
- BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (lCSci)
- British Society of Soil Science (RSciTech, RSci and CSci)
- Geological Society of London (CSci)
- Institute of Brewing & Distilling (CSci)
- College of Podiatry (CSci)
- Institute of Corrosion (CSci)
- Institute of Food Science & Technology (RSciTech, RSci and CSci)
- Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (CSci)
- Institute of Biomedical Science (RSciTech, RSci and CSci)
- Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (CSci)
- Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (RSciTech, RSci and CSci)
- Institute of Science and Technology (RSciTech, RSci and CSci) - The University of Exeter are corporate affiliates with the IST.
- Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (RSciTech, RSci and CSci)
- Institution of Chemical Engineers (RSciTech, RSci and CSci)
- Institution of Environmental Sciences (CSci)
- The Nuclear Institute (CSci)
- Institute of Water (RSciTech, RSci and CSci)
- Institute of Animal Technology (RSciTech and RSci)
- Royal Society of Chemistry (RSciTech, RSci and CSci)
- Royal Statistical Society (CSci)
- Royal Society of Biology (RSciTech, RSci and CSci)
Should you decide that you would align to a different professional body, there is a mechanism to change and transfer your registered status across. This may vary between organisations. For more info contact your professional body.
You can apply for any of the following registers through the Science Council/awarding body.
- Registered Science Technician (RSciTech)
- Registered Scientist (RSci)
- Chartered Scientist (CSci)
- Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach)
Whichever your suggested register, always look through the competence guidance to make sure you can fulfil the requirements before applying.
Membership levels vary within organistaions. Within the IST memberships range from:
- Junior. Junior membership of the Institute may be awarded to applicants between ages of 13 and 18 years old who have an interest in science technology. No qualifications are required for this grade of membership.
- Affiliate. Affiliate Membership of the Institute may be awarded to an applicant who is over the age of 16 and who is working or studying in the field of science technology at NVQ/SVQ Level 1, the Institute’s Preliminary Vocational or an equivalent qualification.
- Associate. The corporate grade of Associate may be awarded to an applicant who holds an approved qualification at NVQ/SVQ Level 2, the Institute’s Core Vocational Qualification or an equivalent qualification. Associate members are entitled to use the designatory letters AssocIScT.
- Member. The full corporate grade of Member may be awarded to an applicant who holds an approved qualification e.g. NVQ/SVQ Level 3, a degree, HNC, HND, by Institute Higher Diploma examination, along with relevant professional experience (normally in excess of 3 years appropriate workplace experience). Alternatively Associate members may be upgraded to full Member grade following approved professional development. Members are entitled to use the designatory letters MIScT.
- Fellow. Fellowship of the Institute is the most senior grade available and is an indicator of the highest level of achievement within the profession. Individuals may apply or be nominated, according to the guidance laid down by the Executive, and if suitable will be elected by the Fellowship Committee. Fellows are entitled to use the designatory letters FIScT.
There are 2 main routes toward becoming registered: either apply through the Science Council’s online system or through your own licensed professional body, depending on which registration award you intend to apply for.
For Technical Staff at the University of Exeter you are encouraged to apply individually through the Science Council’s online system.
When applying through the Science Council there are also two assessment options: online or face to face. The introductory cost for registration is £30 for RSciTech/RSci or £50 for CSci. If you’re not already a member of one of our licensed professional bodies there is also an introductory first year membership fee of £55 for RSciTech/RSci. For CSci you will need to pay the membership fee specific to your professional body, so please contact the Science Council if you have questions on this or visit their website for further information. A face to face assessment is an additional £50.
Face to face interviews have been arranged for staff who attended the professional registration workshop.
Please note: your professional body may mandate a face to face assessment to ensure their membership requirements are met.
Continuous/Personal and Professional Development requirements vary slightly between awarding bodies. However, for a balanced portfolio you should aim to include a variety of activities/events that are relevant to your current or future role/practice. Remember to use our Technical Staff Structured Development Framework for suggested development opportunities.
Example activities (taken from the IST PPD form) could be any of the following:
- On the job learning
- Acquiring new skills, techniques and processes
- Refining existing skills, techniques and processes
- Sharing knowledge and expertise with others
- Devising/delivering training programmes
- Writing articles/papers
- Reflective practice
- Peer and guidance discussion
- In house presentations (delivering/receiving)
- Lecturing/presenting at an organised event
- Preparing presentations for colleagues and other professionals
- Work shadowing
- Promoting the organisation and the service externally (schools, colleges, industry)
- Writing reports and publications
- Job secondment
- Involvement in a professional body
- Acting as a coach or mentor for a fellow professional
Formal / Educational
- Attending events, seminars, exhibitions, workshops and conferences
- Completing in house/organisational training and development activity
- Obtaining validated and accredited qualifications
- Formal distance and open-learning courses)
- Structured reading
- Reading journal
- Reviewing books / articles / study packs
- Researching topics
- Personal learning from the internet / YouTube
- Voluntary work
- Public service
- Non-work-related studies
There could be other activities that you can include, so the list should be used as a guide.
Your activities and events should be reflected upon and you should try to detail the personal benefits you got from the activity/event, along with any lessons learnt and how you are going to put your new skills/knowledge into practice.
There will be activities within our organisation that you can get involved in too - visit our learning and development webpages to find available training. Let your line manager know if you would like to arrange an activity or event for your department or the whole of Technical Services. We are always looking for people to run sessions, workshops and assist with/lead on conferences and events.
Visit our learning and development webpages to find all available in-house training. Other examples of subjects and topics to help you identify your personal development needs (this list is not exhaustive):
- Interpersonal skills
- Leadership and team management
- Stress management
- Time management and delegation skills
- Career development and planning
- Professional ethics and rules of conduct
- Report and letter writing skills
- Interview skills
- Negotiating skills
- Managing meetings
- Information management
- Presentation skills
- Writing business plans
- Health and safety legislation, policy and procedures
- Quality assurance and quality management
- Environmental management
- Employee relations and human resources management
- Equality and Diversity in management
- Training and development of others
- Project management
- Change management
- Procurement procedures
- Financial planning and budget management
Working with others
- Team leadership
- Motivation skills
- Negotiation skills
- Delegation skills
- Managing poor performance
- Performance appraisals
- Use of in-house systems
- Personal computing skills
- Specialist software
Health, safety and welfare
- Health and safety legislation
- Environmental legislation
- Organisational policy and standards
- Personal responsibility for Health, Safety and Welfare
- Incident reporting
- Safety committee membership
- Management of Health and Safety
- Risk management