Last month Imperial hosted the 35th University Bioscience Managers’ Association (UBMA) Conference.
The UBMA includes members from over 70 universities in the UK and Ireland, bringing together knowledge and expertise from professional managers across a broad spectrum.
"I find it an incredibly useful resource. I have relied on the advice and expertise of other technicians and also offered my recommendations where I can." Allison Hunter Technical Operations Manager, Life Sciences
This year’s annual conference took place at Imperial’s Department of Life Sciences, and included the presentation of the inaugural HE Bioscience Technician of the Year Award, from the Royal Society of Biology. Imperial’s Vice Provost, Professor James Stirling, presented the award to winner Gill Scott (University of Warwick) and runner up Elaine Shervill (Royal Veterinary College) – congratulations to both!
The conference provides a chance for laboratory bioscience managers to refresh and update their knowledge in operational and technical issues, as well as an opportunity to network.
This year’s event included sessions on procurement, including ethics and sustainability, and on the management of safety cabinets. Professor Alfried Vogler presented an update on techniques to study poorly known biodiversity, including examples of how to effectively compare river biodiversity up- and down-stream of chemical spills.
There were a number of lab and facility visits, internally at Imperial, and externally at the Francis Crick Institute and the Natural History Museum. Dr Cristina Lo Celso, who works from labs at the Crick and Sir Alexander Fleming Building at Imperial, took the group on a tour of the Crick. Tours of both sites provided the opportunity to compare layout and design and consider variations in management each of these spaces require. Imperial’s tour included an overview of how the South Kensington campus generates electrical power, Life Sciences research facilities, Centre for Blast Injuries and diagnostic imaging at the Department of Surgery and Cancer. The Natural History Museum labs tour explored a huge array of techniques and areas, including 3D image scanning for digital archiving the museum collections and investigating and imaging 400 million year old geological samples for evolution and biology research. The group also had the opportunity to enjoy a tour of the Houses of Parliament.
UBMA membership offers access to an annual technical networking event, hosted by a different university every year, and a communal JISC-mailing list. Members can post queries to the list and receive rapid advice and information from others who have experience of that particular aspect of building management, safety, supplier, technique or equipment information. It promotes dissemination of best practice and open discussion of issues facing lab management. Allison Hunter, Life Sciences technical operations manager, says:
“I find it an incredibly useful resource. I have relied on the advice and expertise of other technicians and also offered my recommendations where I can. Discussions continue in person with time for informal conversations during lab tours and a cultural visit in each host conference university. A tour of the Houses of Parliament for UBMA delegates and DoLS staff, sponsored by Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP and Seema Kennedy MP, was a lovely way to end the conference.”
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