Project team

Terry Croft: Director

Chris Turgoose:  Centre Manager / Business Development

Natalie Kennerley: Project Lead

Ian Tidmarsh: Project Lead

Jared Carnie:  Operations Manager / Skills Audit Officer

Maggie Norkowska: Centre Administrator / Data Systems and Management Support Officer

Lizzy Gifford: Marketing, Communications and Events Officer

Director: Terry Croft

Director of the Catalyst Project “Development & Embedding of Career Pathways for Technicians across the Higher Education Sector”

Terry CroftTerry started his career as an Analytical Chemist for a multinational mining company, Rio Tinto Zinc. The firm had facilities in Swansea and Bristol and he worked within the Analytical Support Team specialising in materials analysis and quality assurance. He also developed new analytical techniques and procedures as instrumentation technology advanced.

Three years later he came to the University of Sheffield to work as the Chief Technician in the Botany Department. Within four years, Terry became the Departmental Superintendent, and after another four years became Departmental Manager following the merger of two departments to create the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences that we have today. During this period he also added a number of postgraduate and specialist qualifications to his degree in Environmental Sciences.

This was a time of huge change in all science departments and Terry was able to bring to bear his management skills and deliver the changes in operations that were necessary. The external environment now required a visible professional approach to teaching and research and how the support services underpinned these activities accordingly. Terry was now championing the need for a more professional approach to the training and development of the technical workforce not only at the University of Sheffield but also in the HE sector as a whole.

Building on his industrial background, he also served as Director of Analytical Services, which was the commercial and research arm of the department. In addition, from that period onwards Terry was involved in a number of strategic committees, project and steering groups in the Department, the University and also Nationally. He continued to be promoted and in 2008 became one of the first Faculty Director of Operations.

In his career to date, Terry has received a number of awards and accolades. These included the award of a MBE, for services to humanity after he rescued an academic colleague and his family from the violence occurring in Iraq in 1992. The Institute of Science and Technology (IST) elected him to Fellow. Terry was also elected as the first President of the Professional Technical Specialists in Education Group. More recently he was given the status of “One of the Top 100 Leading Scientists 2014” by the UK’s Science Council.

Terry’s passion and commitment to the Technical Community resulted in his new role at the University of Sheffield as Director of Technical Development and Modernisation. He also became Chairman of the IST; the professional body that represents specialist, technical and managerial staff both nationally and internally and across all sectors including the HE sector. His wealth of knowledge and experience lead him to be awarded a three year Catalyst Grant by HEFCE. The project entitled “Development & Embedding of Career Pathways for Technicians across the Higher Education Sector” has a number of work streams covering a variety issues that are currently effecting the HE institutions. These include, awareness of the Professional Technician as a career choice, the various pipelines to enter the profession, skills shortages, succession planning, professional registration, career pathways and future proofing.

Centre Manager / Business Development: Chris Turgoose

Chris Turgoose is co-project manager and workstream lead. She recently moved to the project full time, having previously worked on the project part time alongside a role as Professional Staff Development co-ordinator for the Faculty of Science, Sheffield University. She continues  to work closely with colleagues across the University on a range of broader development related activities. She has a background in work psychology and career planning and guidance and has worked in a number of roles in HE since 1999, which include, applied research, administration and management of a work psychology consultancy unit . Chris has a particular interest in the importance career planning and progression, something she focused on in her faculty role and this recent recent faculty role links nicely with her role within the project and allows a synergy between the project and the university.

Project Lead: Natalie Kennerley

Natalie Kennnerley is the technical manager for Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at the University of Sheffield. In this role Natalie is responsible for day-to-day running and long term planning of the Neuroscience facility which employs around 30 staff (from academics and researchers, to junior technicians and students). She has been a pivotal member of the University for 25 years – starting herself as a trainee immunohistochemistry technician. Quickly promoted to senior research technician her skills and experience have been instrumental in supporting the various research projects within the Neuroscience group in the department of Psychology. Her achievements have been recognised by the Institute of Science & Technology (IST) where she holds fellowship and Chartered Scientist status. Natalie is now actively involved with the IST as Public Relations Officer and also assessor for professional registration for RSciTech, RSci and CSci. She is also a member of the Science Council common pool of assessors and a member of the Science Council Registration Assessment Committee.

Natalie’s real passion is the promotion of technicians as highly skilled experts and she co-founded “TechNet” a technical networking group which supports technicians in higher education institutions. Realising that the University of Sheffield wasn’t making full use of this skilled work pool she decided to construct and deliver a professional immunohistochemistry taught course imparting her knowledge and skills to the next generation while also presenting a new avenue of income generation for the University of Sheffield. She now directs ‘Theory and Practise’ with the aim of building a substantial portfolio of these professional courses across the University Disciplines.

Project Lead: Ian TidmarshIan Tidmarsh staff photo

Ian is Head of Operations for the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory currently being developed at the University of Birmingham. The £42m project aims to provide state-of-the-art laboratories to enable interdisciplinary teaching that will mimic industrial practices. Without the invaluable work of Technical staff the Laboratory could not operate which is why the activities of the Catalyst team are so important.

Ian has also been a Technical Manager and an Operations Manager while working at the University of Birmingham. Both roles involved Technical staff covering the areas of health and safety, facilities and infrastructure. Ian has been involved with a number of projects focusing on Technical staff including improved support for equipment via managed facilities and Technical service reviews (at Birmingham and externally).

Prior to this, Ian held research focused roles at the Department of Chemistry, University of Sheffield, resulting in the generation of twenty-six scientific publications. Academically focused, these roles allowed Ian to view Technical support from the academic’s perspective, highlighting needs and effective ways of working.

Concerned that Technical staff do not receive the benefits and recognition that they deserve, Ian is committed to promoting the profession. The duties of technicians frequently go unnoticed due to a lack of understanding and acknowledgement of the roles that they conduct and their positive impact on teaching and research. This project will provide institutions with tools to allow them to realise their existing Technical populations. It will also provide a clear framework for progression and a range of tools to aid development.

Ian is a Chartered Scientist (CSci) accredited by the Science Council and holds memberships to both the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC) and the Institute for Safety in Technology and Research (MISTR). Ian’s e-mail address for this project is

Operations Manager / Skills Audit Officer: Jared CarnieJared Carnie

Jared joined the University of Sheffield and the Catalyst Team in October 2014. Coming from an administrative background, Jared is working as both an administrator and data analyst while providing support to the project workstreams.

Centre Administrator / Data Systems and Management Support Officer: Maggie NorkowskaMaggie Norkowska staff photo

Maggie joined the Catalyst Team in January 2016, after graduating from The University of Sheffield with a Biomedical Science degree. Maggie joined the team as Graduate Assistant - Office Administrator, she provides administrative support, while also contributing to the project workstreams.

Marketing, Communications and Events Officer: Lizzy Gifford Elizabeth Gifford staff photo

Lizzy graduated from the University of Sheffield with a BSc in Geography and an MSc in Science Communication and joined the team in January 2016. Between studies she worked for a charity and a Local Council on communication and sustainability. Lizzy will be using her experience in these roles to support communications and the project workstreams.

Previous Members of Staff:

Project 1 Workstream Lead: Kelly Vere

Kelly Vere is a Senior Technician at the University of Nottingham. Alongside her scientific role, she leads an award winning programme to enable the professional development of the University’s 700+ technical staff.

Kelly is passionate about ensuring recognition of the crucial role that technicians play in the success of their institutions. She has been very active in championing the role of the university technician. In 2011 she gained an MA in International Higher Education at the University of Nottingham. The work from her thesis ‘University technicians: undervalued, misused & misunderstood?’ has featured in Times Higher Education and the Guardian. In 2013 she embarked on a Professional Doctorate in Education aiming to increase the academic research available on the technical role in higher education. She has given a number of invited talks in this area, both nationally and internationally.

Kelly is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Registered Scientist (RSci) accredited by the Science Council. She sits on the Committee of the University Bioscience Managers' Association. In 2014 she was awarded “STEM Technician of the Year” by the Higher Education Academy for her “outstanding contribution to the work of all technicians in higher education”. Kelly is currently on a part time secondment with the Science Council, leading on their engagement with the Higher Education sector and its interactions with industry to promote a professional identity for scientists and technicians. Kelly's email for this project is