TechNet steering group

The Technician's Network (TechNet) steering group was formed in 2013 to facilitate the primary objectives of TechNet: to provide a forum for technicians to meet and interact, and to promote the professional status and recognition of technical staff.


Contact details

Get involved

Member profiles

Terms of reference

Contact details

Position Name Job title Department Phone Email
Chair Mark Ariaans Lead Technician Department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease 59561
Chair Laura Hartshorne Research Technician School of Biosciences 20092
Steering group member Ben Palmer Controlled Environment Facilities Manager School of Biosciences 24728
Steering group member Luke Wild Audio Visual Technician IT Services
Steering group member Katherine Whitley Fly Facility Technical Team Manager School of Biosciences 22770
Steering group member Yvette Marks Laboratory Manager/Teaching Technician Archaeology 22928
Steering group member James Bishop   Computer Science
Steering group member Abby Shipley Teaching & Research Laboratory Technician Chemical & Biological Engineering 29328
Steering group member Mike Bell Engineering Technician (Teaching) Multidiscipline Engineering Education (MEE)


Get involved

Are you a technician, specialist or technical manager/leader interested in representing your faculty on the TechNet steering group? Please email or come and speak with us at one of our events.

About our members

Mark Ariaans (Co-Chair)

Mark is Lead Technician in the Department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease (Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health).

Mark joined the University in 2006 as a research technician in the Cardiovascular Research Unit (Northern General Hospital). Having survived several Faculty and Department restructures, he is currently the technical team leader of the core technical team and looks after the technical resources in the Department of IICD. He is also the Departmental Safety and Biosafety Officer and is involved in various research projects with a focus on laboratory animal models.

Laura Hartshorne (Co-Chair)

Research Technician in Mirre Simon’s lab group, School of Biosciences. Responsible for the day to day running of the lab and providing technical support on a range of projects inline with grant aims. 

Laura graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2012 with a degree in Biomedical Sciences. Previously she worked as a lab technician in a veterinary hematology lab before starting my current role here at Sheffield in May 2016. Laura predominately works using fruit flies to investigate the mechanisms of ageing from an evolutionary perspective, including using diet restriction, drugs and complex genetic manipulations of the fly. She specializes in scientific techniques including demography data collection, dissection, microscopy, fly husbandry, molecular techniques and microinjection.

Committee members

Ben Palmer (Steering group member)

Ben is the Controlled Environment Facilities Manager for the School of Biosciences. He has held several positions in both the Faculties of Science and Engineering since starting work at the University in 2004.

After studying Ecology at the Unversity, Ben worked as a Research Technician on several different research projects in the spheres of plant physiology and ecology, before moving to the Department of Materials Science & Engineering. Here he worked as a Stores Technician followed by moving on to run the Materials Characterisation Small Research Facility. Ben then moved back to the Department of Animal & Plant Sciences to help run their world leading plant growth facility, before being appointed CE Facilities Manager, when APS merged with MBB and BMS to form the new School of Biosciences.  Ben has been keenly involved with both the Institute of Science & Technology and the Science Council for many years in promoting their Professional Registration schemes, as well as assessing RSci & RSciTech applications.

Luke Wild (Steering group member)

Luke is an Audio Visual Technician based in IT Services. He has held various technical roles within IT Services over the 8 years he has worked at the University.

With a background in sound engineering, lighting design and events management that spans everything from small scale conferences to large scale festivals. Luke has a range of responsibilities in his role, which include; providing technical support for events, supporting and maintaining Learning and Teaching spaces, providing AV equipment across campus, video conferencing and much more...

Katherine Whitley (Steering group member)

Kath is the Fly Facility Technical Team Manager & DHSO in the School of Biosciences.

Kath has worked in many technical roles including as a microbiologist in the pharmaceutical industry and as a school science technician.  She relocated to Sheffield in 2008 and secured a job as a fly technician at The University of Sheffield.  After two years in this role, Kath was promoted to her current position as Fly Facility Technical Team Manager with responsibilities for managing the technical staff, organisation and operation of the facility.  Kath also has health and safety duties for genetically modified organism and biosafety matters.

In 2014, Kath became professionally registered and a member of the Institute of Science and technology.  She assesses RSciTech and RSci applications for the Science Council and is particularly interested in career development for technicians and how technicians can help to improve sustainability in labs.

Yvette Marks (Steering group member)

Yvette is the Lab Manager and Teaching Technician in Archaeological Science, for the Department of Archaeology. She is responsible for managing the department's teaching and research laboratories, manages the technical team and is the Departments Health and Safety Officer. 

Yvette completed her MSc in Archaeological Science within the Department at Sheffield in 2012 and then continued to work within the department, as a Teaching Assistant until starting her current role in 2019. Yvette worked at Doncaster Museum from 2015-2019 as a Education Officer and Archaeological Curator, working to combine archaeological science and material studies with Museum interpretation and outreach. Yvette is a staff PhD candidate, her thesis is focused on the reconstruction of copper production in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Aegean. Yvette supports teaching and research within the department, with a focus on analytical techniques for material science and environmental science.

Abby Shipley (Steering group member)

Abby is a Teaching and Research Support Technician in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Abby began working at the University of Sheffield in the Chemistry department in 2019 as an apprentice Laboratory Technician while attending the Sheffield College studying a BTEC in applied science and an NVQ in lab associated technical activities. After that she applied for a grade 3 technician post in the department of Chemistry, before more recently moving to the department of Chemical & Biological Engineering. Abby's post involves providing technical support to a teaching laboratory and maintains various pieces of equipment.

Mike Bell (Steering group member)

Mike is a Teaching Engineering Technician working for MEE in the Diamond.

Mike started as a Technician in the Materials Science and engineering department as the Micropreparation laboratory Technician. In this role he helped Undergraduate, MSc and PhD students to achieve high quality samples for various testing techniques. Mike currently works in the Multidiscipline Engineering Education (MEE) department as an Engineering Teaching technician, helping to develop and deliver Undergraduate practicals in the Diamond Materials Lab for multiple Engineering discipline cohorts utilising Mechanical testing frames and Material characterisation techniques.

TechNet steering group terms of reference

Read the terms of reference here.

Former steering group members

Position Name Job title Department
Co-Chair Abbie Martin IT Business Relationship Manager IT Services
Steering group member Adelina E Acosta-Martin Biological Mass Spectrometry Facility Manager School of Biosciences
Steering group member Helen Wright Research Technician Department of Materials Science
Steering group member Emily Glendenning Research Technician School of Biosciences
Steering group member Vanessa Singleton Laboratory Manager Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Steering group member Laura Mason Workshop Manager School of Architecture
Steering group member Lisa Hollands Technical Team Leader

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Co-Chair John-Paul Ashton Research Technician Biomedical Sciences
Co-Chair Melanie Hannah Technical Manager School of Biosciences
Co-Chair Kevin Oxley Department Manager Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease
Co-Chair Natalie Kennerley Project Lead Technical Development and Modernisation

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