Can we fix it?

Every corner of the Crick building contains specialist equipment, which scientists rely on to get their work done. When the equipment breaks, the science stops.


Repair and re-use

Since speed is of the essence, electronic and mechanical engineers and technicians have their own workshops. They set up new equipment to ensure it’s working perfectly, fix faults and adapt or even invent equipment when there’s nothing already available that will do the job.

Scientists often arrive at the workshops seeking help to build or adapt their equipment. Crick engineers will sketch possible solutions, and design and build prototypes before manufacturing a finished product.


Meet Alan

Alan Ling started out as an apprentice and has worked alongside scientists for almost 30 years – creating bespoke equipment and fixing faults in the Mechanical Engineering workshop.

Alan Ling

Mini CV

  • 1979

    Completed A Levels including Maths, Physics, Design and Technology

  • 1979 - 1983

    BTEC Level 3 Apprentice, Mechanical Engineering, The Metal Box Company, London, UK

  • 1985 - 1987

    Product Model Maker, Satherlay Design Associates, London, UK

  • 1987 - 2015

    Medical Instrument Maker, National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK

  • 2012 - 2015

    Workshop Manager, National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK

  • 2015 - Present

    Workshop Manager, Mechanical Engineering, Francis Crick Institute, London, UK 

  • Quote Alan

    It’s a rollercoaster. You never know what will come through the door next but it’s great when somebody arrives with a new challenge for us.

    Alan Ling

    Workshop Manager


    Meet John

    Electronic engineer John Giwa used to work as a programmer and engineer in the amusement arcade and telecoms industries. Now he uses this wide-ranging experience to diagnose and fix failing scientific equipment at the Crick.

    John Giwa

    Mini CV

  • 1983

    Completed A level equivalent including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Extension Mathematics, Nigeria

  • 1984 - 1989

    Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

  • 2004 - 2012

    Engineer, Annecto Telecoms Ltd, London, UK

  • 2006 -2013

    Project Manager and Software Developer, Cork Amusement Centre, Cork, Ireland

  • 2013 - 2016

    Freelance Web Developer, London, UK

  • 2016 - Present

    Electronic Service Engineer, Scientific Equipment Care, Francis Crick Institute, London, UK 

  • Quote John

    This job is very dynamic and requires a lot of hands on equipment experience. A lot of us here have worked in many industry areas and this gives us a better knowledge of how to take things apart, and put them together again.

    John Giwa

    Service Engineer, Scientific Equipment Care


    Meet Debbie

    After finishing school Debbie Roblett began work within a hospital public health laboratory. Whilst developing important skills on the job, she was able to continue studying medical sciences by balancing classes outside of working hours.

    Debbie Roblett

    Mini CV

  • 1977

    Completed Ordinary National Certificate/BTEC Level 3 equivalent including Biology and Maths

  • 1978 - 1980

    Higher National Certificate, Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences, Bedfordshire, UK

  • 1981 - 1983

    Higher National Diploma, Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences, Bedfordshire, UK

  • 1977 - 1983

    Junior Laboratory Technician, Luton & Dunstable Hospital Public Health Laboratory, Bedfordshire, UK

  • 1983 - 2003

    Technical Liquid Handling Manager, Anachem Ltd, Bedfordshire, UK

  • 2003 - Present

    Managing Director, Delsaro Scientific Solutions Ltd, Bedford, UK

  • 2010 - 2013

    Managing Director, Gilson UK, Bedford, UK

  • 2016 - Present

    Specialist Engineer, Francis Crick Institute, London, UK

  • Quote Debbie

    This is an interesting job which varies from repairing specialist equipment and calibrating laboratory instruments, to collaborating with scientists to develop new instruments for the future of science.

    Debbie Roblett

    Specialist Engineer

    Have you got what it takes?

    Have you got what it takes?

    Here are the top three skills needed to work in Engineering:

    • Attention to detail
    • Practical application
    • Problem solving

      For more information on the different skills required for technical roles in science and beyond, have a look at the Technicians Make it Happen prospectus:

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