Anyone who has spent time in research will tell you that some of the most important and highly skilled members of the research team are the laboratory technicians, without whom university research would grind to a halt.
In this blog we provide an insight into a day in the life of the Sport and Exercise Science Technicians within the HNERC.
5/6am: Our alarms go off bright and early to make sure we get to the gym/go out for a run before we start work (some of us are more committed than others!).
7am: After a sleepy walk/ metro journey into work, we get to the gym at around 7am and train for around an hour.
8am: Time for a quick shower, hair done, and we are ready to start the morning!
8am-12 (dinner): Mornings are usually our busiest time in the labs. We have UG and MSc classes scheduled most days throughout Semester 1 and 2, (usually a 9am start) and ensuring equipment and facilities are prepared is a major part of our role. We enable, check and calibrate all of the equipment that is needed for the day to ensure it’s ready to go for the students and our academic colleagues to use. We have at least 2/3 repeats of a class each day so as soon as one is done, equipment is cleaned, recalibrated, and reset ready for the next students coming in. As well as taught classes, we support staff and student research projects. It is here that our lab skills are utilised the most, we provide training, demonstrations and more recently, some of us have completed training in both venepuncture and cannulation and therefore provide phlebotomy support to a range of projects across the whole faculty.
Dinner time (most important part of the day!): We are all a bit obsessed with asking what we have for lunch, so dinner time is a very important part of our day! We catch up with one another/ other colleagues and try and have some downtime before the afternoon starts.
12:30-3pm: After lunch we catch up with any emails/lab booking forms and get ready for any classes scheduled on the afternoons. The team have their own roles and responsibilities, and this time of day is generally used to fulfil these. For example…
- Alex is currently working on his application to gain his HEA Associate Fellowship qualification
- Jordan is supporting two projects, the first of which is investigating appetite responses to different protein sources in older adults, and the second is looking to determine the necessary centrifugation required to ensure acellular plasma.
- Will is preparing for his PhD in neuromuscular physiology, looking at the concept of durability and fatigue in endurance sports.
- Steve is currently working on setting up a consultancy service to perform biomechanical analysis on elite level golfers. Also, Steve is learning how to code using MatLab which will be beneficial for when he starts his PhD, looking at translating motion capture into real world settings using inertial measurement units.
- Ross leads both the SES and Nutrition technical teams and has recently completed his professional services development programme. Ross is also the school health and safety officer, so he is always keeping us on our toes!
As technicians, we have to be very adaptable and flexible; students and staff can need help with equipment/ anything lab based at any point in the day so we usually have to prioritise tasks as and when they arise and work around this.
3 -5 pm: We try to plan ahead and make sure we are as prepared as possible for the next day so we check the calendar and get everything ready for the next morning.
Home time – we head off home to relax and spend time with our friends and family 😊