STFC employs nearly 1,700 people, many of whom are highly skilled scientists, technicians and engineers. STFC is a focal point for the UK’s national capability in a number of areas, such as microelectronics, high performance computing and research techniques such as neutron and X-ray scattering.
STFC also supports skills development through apprenticeships, following a nationally recognised programme to provide academic and skills-based training in a range of disciplines. In October 2011, STFC’s commitment to professional development was recognised with the achievement of the Investors in People (IiP) Silver Award – a national benchmark of good practice.
For the first time in 2011, STFC took part in the ‘Sunday Times Best Companies Survey’ to gauge employee engagement, and benchmark our progress in key areas such as leadership, management and team working. STFC achieved ‘One to Watch’ status, with a Best Companies Index of 606.3 out of 1,000.
We are currently undertaking a series of actions to better understand these initial results and to identify areas for improvement. We are also repeating the survey in 2012 to monitor our progress.
Our staff also transfer their expertise externally when they leave us, taking their skills to other research establishments, joining industry or creating their own spin-out companies. Highly-skilled workers are seen by the Government as a source of competitive advantage and a key way to stimulate private sector growth. Whilst it is difficult to track and measure the impact of staff who leave us, data from past evaluation projects has shown that this can create significant impact.
For example, the 2010 SRS impact report found that around of a third of staff from the facility transferred their expertise and knowledge to industry, universities, schools and other synchrotrons facilities around the world.
On the industrial side, staff moved to a diverse range of industries including Schlumberger, VG Scientia and BNFL and several of the STFC’s own spin-out companies. An example of this is given below.
A fertility treatment invented at the Daresbury Laboratory is offering hope to couples who long for a baby. The idea for DuoFertility, developed to help people suffering from unexplained infertility, was initiated in 2005 by a Cambridge University PhD who studied at the Laboratory from 2003 to 2006.
DuoFertility is a fertility monitor with expert support to assist couples in getting pregnant naturally and is designed to avoid invasive medical procedures such as IVF. The product is a convenient, totally natural, non-invasive and drug free fertility product which can be used at home and is now on the market and available at high street pharmacies.