Professional Registration

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The Science Council's registers provide a framework of professional recognition and development across the science workforce

Visit the Science Council's Professional Registers website

Professional registers confer recognition, status and transferability. The Science Council’s registers provide a framework of professional registration across the science workforce recognising high standards of professionalism at all levels.

The Science Council licenses its member organisations, referred to as Licensed Bodies, to admit their individual members to the registers through a process of peer assessment. Entry standards are based on a combination of knowledge and understanding, professional competence and commitment to professional ethics, conduct and continuing professional development (CPD). A requirement of all the registers is for registrants to be professionally active and those who are no longer using their scientific expertise do not remain on the register.

The Chartered Scientist award (CSci) was launched in 2004, providing a single chartered mark across science for the first time. Since its launch, 17,500 scientists from across almost 30 different Licensed Bodies have benefited from CSci recognition with around 12,500 currently professionally active. The Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach) register followed in 2006 through a close collaboration with the Association for Science Education, recognising professional excellence in science teaching and learning. The register is now available through the Royal Society of Chemistry and Society of Biology alongside ASE, ensuring the availability of the award across schools, colleges and higher education institutions.

In 2012 the Science Council introduced the Registered Science Technician (RSciTech) and Registered Scientist (RSci) designations, extending the registration framework for the first time to those working in technical and higher technical roles. Eight Licensed Bodies were selected to pilot the registers with new professional bodies able to apply for licences from January 2014.

For further information on the benefits of professional registration, the standards and how to apply, visit the Science Council’s professional registers website, Professional bodies interested in becoming licensed to award professional registers should contact the Professional Standards and Quality Manager for further information. 

Project Background

The RSciTech and RSci professional registers were developed for scientists and technicians with the support of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.  

In 2010 the Science Council began work to develop the two new registers alongside the Chartered Scientist (CSci) and Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach) designations, creating a framework of professional registration across the science workforce and recognising high standards of professionalism at all levels.  The development of the new registers was overseen by a New Registers Advisory Group (NRAG) and was supported by a three year grant from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.   

The Registered Science Technician (RSciTech) and Registered Scientist (RSci) registers were launched in 2012 and were initially piloted through eight Licensed Bodies. A comprehensive evaluation of the registers was undertaken in 2013 with new professional bodies able to apply for licences from January 2014.  

The second phase of the project will focus on:

  • improving customer experience and streamlining the registration application process; 
  • increasing awareness and take up of the professional registers; 
  • optimising the membership offer for technician level scientists. 

Background Research

Two research reports were commissioned to inform the development of the project. 

Science technicians in the workforce: supporting their development needs

This report, carried out by CFE through a programme of market research assessed the views of individuals and employers on professional development and identity, as well as perceptions of professional body membership and registration. The findings give further impetus to the need for the science community to fully embrace technicians as an integral and valued part of its workforce, as well as shedding new light on the shaping of membership services that are tailored to the specific needs of technicians. This research has also proven invaluable in informing the development of robust standards for registration that will both challenge individuals and meet the changing needs of employers and the economy. The value of maintaining and developing competencies and keeping up to date come through strongly from employers and employees alike, and are reflected in the standards themselves.

The current and future UK science workforce

In developing the business case for professional registration in science, the NRAG agreed that it needed to know more about the scope and nature of the science workforce in the UK. The research, conducted on behalf of the Science Council by TBR, demonstrates that the qualification profile of the science workforce as a whole lends itself well to three separate professional registers, while also providing many new insights into the demographics of the current and future workforce.

Please follow this link to the TBR research.