Meet the Team

Kelly, Programme Director

All about Kelly

Clare, Associate Lead

Dr Clare Stevenson CSci FRSC studied Biochemistry at John Moores University in Liverpool with an industrial training year in Yorkshire. After working three years in industry in drug metabolism, she joined the John Innes Centre in 1996 and has experienced a variety of technical roles. Starting as a research technician specialising in structural biology, she supported a Group leader with his research while also completing a part time PhD in her own project. Over time, the research group changed to a core facility, leading Clare to her role as a technical specialist, helping students and researchers with their academic structural biology projects. Soon after, she was able to start a new Biophysics facility using skills gained through her PhD and grew this facility to have multiple techniques for studying bio-molecular interactions. As a facility manager, Clare gained experience in costing projects, grant writing and staying abreast with new techniques and developments. In April 2022, she switched from a technical career to senior manager and now works as Head of the Directorate, supporting the JIC Director and senior team to deliver JIC’s vision.

Clare is passionate about technician visibility and recognition and supporting others to achieve their potential by seizing any opportunities available.  She has worked tirelessly to transform the ‘technician voice’ at JIC to include all technical staff. She has enabled JIC to be a founding signatory of the Technician Commitment and was TC lead for JIC until last year. Now Head of the Directorate, Clare currently supports the new lead to deliver their action plan and ensure technicians’ views are communicated at senior meetings. As one of the founding members of the Research Institute Technician Group, a network of research institutes that are signatories of the Technician Commitment, she is proud to have initiated the first Research Institute Technician Awards. Clare enjoys collaborating with inspirational individuals and creating more opportunities for the wider technician community in order to make a real difference.

Clare Stevenson sat at a desk

Mel, Associate Lead

Mel Leitch has been a technician at Newcastle University since 1984, progressing from Trainee Technician to Technical Manager with an interest in Neuroscience. Due to a slight change of direction towards management in November 2019, Mel took on a new role as Deputy Head of Infrastructure in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

Since 2014, Mel has been involved with promoting Professional Registration, and since 2017 the Technician Commitment at Newcastle University.  He was Director of the National Technician Development Centre before moving to the Technician Commitment as Associate Lead in April 2023.

Simon, Associate Lead

Dr Simon W Breeden BSc (Hons) PhD CChem MRSC FIScT has worked in universities in the UK and Ireland for over 25 years since graduating with a PhD from the University of Manchester (UMIST as it was then).  He has worked in developing anti-cancer Drugs (Manchester), treatments for opiate abuse and analgesia (Bristol), catalytic asymmetric synthesis (Warwick) and ran a successful independent research group at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

He started at the University of York in 2004 as a Senior Research Fellow in the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence and transitioned to the role of Technical Operations Manager in Chemistry in 2012.  During this time, he was responsible for technical services within the department, leading a team of about sixty technicians.  From May 2021 to October 2023, Simon was Head of Technical Services at the University of York where, with the superb support of a truly excellent team of Technical Operations Managers, he had responsibility for technical services in all academic departments delivered by an exceptional team of over 250 technicians.

Simon has been a vocal supporter of technicians both within and outside the University of York empowering the teams he works with to deliver excellent technical support and develop skills through continuing professional development.  Through this passion for increased visibility and recognition for technicians, he was instrumental in York becoming a founding signatory of the Technician Commitment in 2017, driving institutional and cultural change for technicians at York.

Building on that external advocacy of technicians in May 2020 Simon was appointed as Associate Lead of the Technician Commitment working with the team to deliver the Technician Commitment across the UK. 

Carly, Operations Manager

All about Carly

Loren, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Loren Querickiol studied Media and Communications at the University of Nottingham and joined the team in 2022. She's in charge of updating our website, producing social media content, supporting external partnerships and publishing quarterly newsletters. Since joining the team, her favourite thing about the Technician Commitment has been attending signatory events and meeting colleagues from all over the country.