Technical staff are crucial to the smooth running of a research laboratory (see Nature 517, 528; 2015). As largely unsung heroes, they warrant rewards beyond praise and salary increases.
A senior technician's duties cover, among other functions, safety, finance, ordering and repairs. Technicians maintain stocks of essential reagents and keep facilities such as databases up to date. They carry out specialized experiments and train staff in methodology.
Rewards for such highly skilled technicians might include setting up a fund to keep them employed during times of financial constraint. Our technicians also share the right of graduate students and postdocs to attend one conference of their choice every year. Some are co-authors on scientific publications and present work at meetings. After 16 years in our lab, one technician has 110 publications to his credit, as well as more than 3,000 lifetime citations and an h index of 33.
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Science and Engineering Ethics (2016)