ISIS' Ludmila Mee appointed founder member of the Technical Council in the new UK Institute of Technical Skills and Strategy
23 Jun 2023



International Women in Engineering Day 23 June 2023




Ludmila joined ISIS Neutron and Muon Source last year to manage the Bio Labs, having been a supporter and an advocate for the Technician Commitment since its launch in 2017. She has now been appointed as a founding member of the ITSS Technical Council, a body of technical staff across the nation who will advise on the aims and initiatives of the UK's Institute for Technical Skills and Strategy (ITSS) which launches this year.Ludmila Mee in the ISIS BioLab

This new entity will build on the legacy of the MI TALENT programme as well as being underpinned by the advances of the Technician Commitment movement. Officially opening on 1 August, the Institute will be the first of its kind in the UK, funded by £5.5 M investment from UKRI. The main purpose of the Institute is to invest into academic research of the UK technical force, to find better approaches to culture change and pilot them, to produce a UK-wide policy on the technical force and to engage industry, public and government organisations with the UK technical community.

Ludmila says, “I joined the ISIS Neutron and Muon source as Biolabs Manager in March 2022 after working for Oxford Brookes University for over 8 years. I had already experienced first-hand how the lack of clear career progression path for technical specialists in the UK Higher Education Sector resulted in a high technical staff turnover, and with each technician leaving their post, the organisation was losing a set of invaluable skills and experience. I was also very aware that when a technician leaves for a better paid job which does not require technical skills, the loss is felt not only by the organisation by the industry as a whole, and it is currently a tragedy on the national scale."

Marek Jura, ISIS Experimental Operations Division Head, says, “Technicians play a vital role in our society and work in virtually every sector and industry.  Within ISIS our highly skilled technicians are critical for installing, maintaining and developing our unique facility.  They provide that essential service to ensure we can operate our world leading capabilities, which supports our national and international scientific community."

At STFC Ludmila quickly got engaged with the STFC Technician Commitment Working Group in summer 2022. She says, “It is a rewarding experience which also connected me with many wonderful colleagues in technical roles across the entire organisation. I feel that STFC has a great appreciation for technicians, and signing up to the Technician Commitment clearly demonstrates it. However, there is still more can be done to show how important and valuable the technical skills are by addressing all four pillars of the Technician Commitment - visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability."

This is what led Ludmila to apply to become a founding member of the Technical Council for the ITSS – through a highly competitive process. She says, “I am humbled and truly honoured to become one founder members of the Council. I see this as a great opportunity to govern and lead an important initiative on the national scale. They had over 150 applications to chose from, but only 12 places which they negotiated up to 14, which reflects the quality of applications! I am really looking forward to the great and rewarding experience of shaping up the future of the UK Technical workforce."

Richard Smith, STFC Technician Commitment Chair for STFC,​ says, “It's great to have Ludmila as a founder member of the ITSS and representing STFC, as we have a different skillset to universities that make up the majority of representation. It also gives the Technician Commitment here at STFC direct feedback and awareness of the activities within the ITSS and hopefully some influence too. This I am quite confident of as Ludmila is very active within the current working group!"

The Technical Council will be meeting quarterly with the first meeting taking place in July 2023. This post is for 2 years, and Ludmila is currently the only non-University member, which will give her a different perspective. “Working at ISIS feels great because I get to employ a variety of my scientific and technical skills on daily basis. Also, ISIS has a vibrant culture celebrating scientific success with appreciation for support and contribution from technical experts which is nice to see and experience. I hope to use this experience and knowledge to support the cause of technicians at the national level."

Contact: Fletcher, Sara (STFC,RAL,SPC)