The Herschel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership, named after Caroline Herschel - a pioneer in the discovery of comets and an early ‘technician’ - concluded its six-month pilot with a celebration event in London back in the summer.

Co-created with technical and organisational development experts to address topics specifically relevant to women in technical roles, the programme set out to elevate and advance career opportunities for current and aspiring leaders who identify as women. More than 170 technicians, including three members of Bath staff, from 53 higher education and research institutions across the UK were represented in the 2022 cohort.

Professor Carole Mundell, President of the UK Science Council and Head of Astrophysics at the University of Bath said: “Technical leadership in our science and technology ecosystem is vital for UK prosperity and security and to tackle the global challenges of our times, but these critical roles are often seen as traditionally male or remain hidden and under-valued. The Research England funded Herschel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership breaks new ground. I was honoured to give the keynote speech at this year’s inaugural summit and very pleased to see the University of Bath so well represented by our trail blazing technical women leaders,” she continued.

Jemima Pereira, Teaching & Research Support Technician, Life Sciences said: “This programme has helped me to develop myself both professionally and personally by allowing me to improve my skills as an aspiring technical leader and become a role model for the next generation, creating a more diverse and sustainable workforce for the future.”

Florence Richardson, Technical Specialist, Engineering & Design Technical Services said: “The Herschel programme was a rewarding opportunity that has allowed me to develop a strong network with fellow women technicians at the University of Bath and beyond! It was a really special experience to take part in such a supportive and welcoming group programme where we can learn, empower, and offer expert knowledge to one another.”

Sarah Hunter, Health & Safety Coordinator, Faculty of Science said: “I’m so proud to be a Herschel Programme alumna and would recommend this programme to any of our women in technical roles at the University of Bath. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with myself, Jemima, or Florence if you would like to find out more about our experiences for when the call goes out for the next cohort!”

Applications for the 2023 Herschel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership are now open. Visit the website to find out how to apply and learn more about this unique programme delivered by the University of Nottingham and the Research England funded Midlands Innovation TALENT programme.