Investment in Technical Talent

A national Physics Technical Apprentices Pilot to kick-start investment into a new generation of technical talent.

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UK higher education and research institutions can apply for funding to kick-start investment into a new generation of technicians in physics.

The Physics Technical Apprentices Pilot will address the aging workforce gap within physics whilst supporting UK universities and research institutes to recruit and retain new technical staff.

Programme overview

This two-year pilot programme will fund a total of ten new Physics Technical Apprentices roles.

This new scheme accelerates investment into new technical talent to help bridge the aging workforce gap in in physics and supports institutions with succession planning for technical roles.

Available funds

Five £20,000 awards will be awarded in 2024 and 2025.

The funds provide salary contribution grants to UK universities and research institutions from a national fund of £200,000.

Funding call timescales

There are two funding calls. One in 2024 and one in 2025 which both open at the beginning of the year and close by Easter.

The 2024 funding call opens January 2024 and closes 5pm 1 March 2024. The 2025 funding call opens February 2025 and closes end of March 2025.

Eligibility criteria

Applications are welcome from all UK higher education or research institutes.

Successful applicants must only use the funding for a new (not existing) technical apprentice in physics.

Two men working in Cryogenics, Physics Building
45% of technicians supporting physics research and teaching activities within UK universities are aged 51 or over.

STEMM-CHANGE Report 2019

“This new scheme accelerates investment into new technical talent within physics, to help bridge the aging workforce gap in this discipline.”

Dr Luke Davis, Joint Head of Research Infrastructure, EPSRC


Key dates and funding call schedule


Activity 2024 funding call 2025 funding call
Applications open w/c 29 January 2024 February 2025
Applications close 5pm 1 March 2024 End of March 2025
Outcome confirmed w/c 18 March 2024 End of April 2025


Eligibility selection criteria

Your application should include evidence of:

• Critical need for a new Physics Technical Apprentice within institutional context.
• Demonstrate a commitment to improving equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
• Benefits to the institution and a desire to invest in new technical talent.
• Evidence of embedding cultural change through the TALENT Commission recommendations.

Physics Technical Apprenticeships FAQs
Who can apply?

Applications are welcome from all UK higher education or research institutes within all four UK nations.

If my university is awarded funding, when should the apprentice start?

We expect that the new Physics Technical Apprentice would start in September 2024. New apprentices funded from the 2025 funding call would ideally start by September 2025.

What should the funding be used for?

The £20k funding must only be used as a salary contribution for a new (not existing) Physics Technical Apprentice. Providing it is only used for salary, it is at the institution’s discretion on how this is managed.

Is this funding opportunity available for higher education institution in all four UK nations?

Yes, applications are welcome from any higher education institute in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The funding award is the same (£20k salary contribution) regardless of differences in approach to national education policy and practice for both the 2024 and 2025 funding call.

When will I hear if my application has been successful?

Outcomes will be communicated to applicants w/c 18 March 2024. Outcomes of the 2025 funding call will be confirmed by end of April 2025.

Who is on the decision-making committee?

Representatives from ITSS, EPSRC and the Institute of Physics will be on the decision panel.

Which apprenticeship standards are eligible for this funding?

We will consider applications across the available range of apprenticeship standards (e.g. Laboratory Technician, Technician Scientist.) The application should explain how the apprentice will contribute to the physics discipline or be hosted by the physics department.