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Need to know – 19 January

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from across the University. 

1. A new Scan and Deliver service

The library has launched a new Scan and Deliver service for University of Edinburgh staff and students. You can request one chapter or 10 per cent (whichever is the greater) of a book, journal article, short story, poem or play – if not more than ten pages in an anthology – through DiscoverEd. Full details of the service can be found on the Scan and Deliver webpage.

2. Updated staff FAQs

The Coronavirus FAQs have been updated in line with the latest Government guidelines. The staff section now includes more information on how the University is complying to the latest guidance and the extended school closure. Read more on the University website.

3. Brexit impact and information

The University and Europe webpages have been updated to incorporate the latest advice and guidance now the UK has left the European Union. You can find more information for both staff and students on the University and Europe webpages.

4. Adaptation and Renewal Sharepoint updated

The Adaptation and Renewal (ART) Sharepoint has been updated to include the latest student support and services available, and will continue to be updated with Semester 2 information in line with Scottish Government guidance. Visit the ART Sharepoint.

Need to know – 15 December

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University. 

1. Covid-19 asymptomatic testing – bookings extended to Friday 18th December

Covid-19 asymptomatic testing prior to the winter break has been extended until Friday 18th December. For Wednesday 16th, Thursday 17th and Friday 18th December, testing will be available from 10am to 1pm only, and this will be at the Pleasance only. Full details about testing and how to book are available in the online FAQs on the University website.

 2. Principal’s end of year message

Professor Peter Mathieson shared his end of year message to the University community last week. You can read the full email on this dedicated webpage.

3. Brexit guidance

The Brexit transition period will end on 31 December 2020. Key information for applicants, current students and staff can be found on the University and Europe webpages.

4. Students returning for Semester 2

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement on plans for the safe return of students after the winter break, there are now detailed FAQs available on the Coronavirus updates webpages.

Need to know – 1 December

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Update from Lee Hamill

Yesterday Lee Hamill shared the latest news on our current financial position. He spoke about our existing operating model, the challenges we face and the essential work underway to reshape and create a financially sustainable future. You can read the email in full on this webpage.

2. Asymptomatic testing for students

Following the information the Scottish Government published for students on the actions they will need to take to return home safely for the winter break, our Covid-19 testing service began this week. Testing is taking place at the Pleasance Sport Complex and Gym and St Leonard’s Land. More information, including FAQs can be found on the Coronavirus section of the University website.

3. Staff survey 2020

The 2020 staff survey is still open and can be accessed through the impulse website. The survey takes less than five minutes to complete and is open until Wednesday 9 December. This is your opportunity to have your voice heard and let the University know how to make our Edinburgh an even better place to work.

Need to know – 17 November

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Updates on Semester 2 planning

A new sharepoint page is available with detailed information about Semester 2 guidance and planning. It will be regularly updated in line with the latest announcements from the Scottish Government. Adaptation & Renewal sharepoint website.

2. Christmas travel preparations

Last week communications went out to students about preparing to travel home for Christmas. In line with the Scottish Government plans to enable students to travel home safely, the University has started preparations for departure dates and safe travel as well as support for those students remaining in Edinburgh over the break.

3. Plans for Covid-19 testing

The University is working closely with the Scottish Government on implementing testing facilities for our students. Covid-19 tests will be available on a voluntary basis for students who wish to travel home. Communications have gone out to students and the University will continue to share the latest updates as soon as possible.

Need to know – 4 November

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Update from Sarah Smith

Last week Sarah Smith, Vice-Principal Strategic Change and Governance and University Secretary, gave an update on how we can continue to deliver the commitments of Strategy 2030 in this shifting landscape. She shared more information about the work of the Reshaping teams so far and the plans for the coming months. All staff email: Strategy 2030 update: reshaping the University

2. Freedom of Expression

The University Executive approved a statement on Freedom of Expression in September 2020. Following the Report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the state of free speech in UK universities, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission Scotland, produced a new ‘Freedom of Expression’ Guide for the sector as a whole.

The University of Edinburgh’s Freedom of Expression statement draws upon the broader document to provide a statement of the principles that inform and guide the University’s approach to the promotion and protection of freedom of expression and academic freedom. This statement will be reviewed on an annual basis. University of Edinburgh’s Freedom of Expression statement

3. Town Hall sessions for students

Students in University accommodation attended two Town Hall question and answer sessions last week, to talk about the University’s expectations of our community during the pandemic and to hear from one of our academic experts in coronaviruses, Christine Tait-Burkard. The sessions featured a talk from Police Scotland as well as an update from Andy Shanks, Director of Student Wellbeing, who shared more information on the support available for students during the pandemic.

4. People and Money launching

The HR part of People and Money, our new HR and finance system, launches on 11 November. People and Money will replace multiple outdated systems with streamlined processes backed up by a single, smart system accessible through MyEd. You can find more information, including guides and demos, at

Extended Christmas closure period

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bulletin shares a communication from James Saville, Director of Human Resources.

This has been an extraordinarily demanding time for everyone. You will have seen from the Principal’s recent note his deep appreciation for the huge efforts that you are all making in the face of such prolonged uncertainty.

The Principal and the Senior Leadership Team have decided to extend the period in which we close the University from 5pm on Friday 18th December 2020, reopening on Tuesday 5th January 2021.

This will help many staff have a proper break over the Christmas period. The normal working days of Monday 21st, Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd December will be “respite days”. They will not and should not be recorded in People and Money and any staff with leave already booked on those days should cancel it and take the leave at another time.

We recognise unfortunately that not everyone will be able to benefit from the full shutdown, noting that exams continue until Monday 21st December and that there are specific challenges facing some teams, for example, ISG. Every effort will be made to ensure all staff get a period of leave during the closure period. However, any staff who are required by their manager to work on any of these respite days will be able to take the equivalent time off between now and the end of December 2021.

In the exceptional circumstance that a staff member is required by their manager to work on any of these respite days and is already carrying over the maximum annual leave (10 days), a payment can be made for those days if their manager confirms they will be unable to take them before the end of December 2021. Existing practices for premium payments will continue as normal.

We are acutely aware that we are likely to need more people to work than normal, in particular to support those students who will be staying with us over this period, to maintain critical research activity and to keep essential services running. A big thank you in advance for those of you who will be doing this. For this year only, to recognise this additional effort we will make an ex-gratia payment of £150 to staff who work on four days or more during the Christmas closure period at management request.

Thank you once again for all your efforts throughout this incredibly challenging period.

You can find more information on the Christmas closure period on our Coronavirus updates webpages.

Photography: George Clerk/GettyImages

Need to know – 20 October

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Update from the Principal

The Principal wrote to all staff members yesterday to provide an update on the University’s response to the pandemic, the financial situation and hybrid teaching. You can read the full text here.

2. Covid-19 cases at the University

The University continues to work closely with the NHS and in the spirit of transparency continues to report live cases on our website, and all the information you need to know about reporting cases can be found here.

3. The Good Citizen Guide

University staff members have had to deal with a small number of cases of inappropriate behaviour from some students, and where appropriate these have been dealt with through our disciplinary processes. The University’s Good Citizen Guide sets out the steps that everyone must follow to protect the health and safety of the entire University community: you can share the Guide with your students.

Need to know – 6 October

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Covid-19 cases on campus

The University is reporting regularly on the live number of positive Covid-19 cases among our entire staff and student community. The University is continuing to work with NHS Lothian’s Health Protection team to ensure that these students and staff, and those around them, are provided with the support they need. You can find all the latest Covid-19 updates here.

2. Covid-19 reporting and recording

This SharePoint site displays the processes and guidance on what staff, line managers and students should do if they are self-isolating, displaying symptoms or have tested positive for Covid-19. Please note this guidance may be updated, so wherever possible link to the SharePoint site, rather than taking a snapshot download. A new Covid-19 telephone hotline is now in place for students and their families to speak directly to a member of staff.

3. Ongoing student support

Last week Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, wrote to our students in University accommodation, acknowledging the challenges those in self-isolation are facing, and the additional measures we are putting in place to support them including mental health and wellbeing. You can read the letter here.

Need to know – 22 September

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. New Covid-19 reporting form for staff

If you (or someone you line manage) need to self-isolate, please inform the University here.

You will also need to contact your manager and let them know.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have informed the University that you are self-isolating and then subsequently test positive for Covid-19, you will need to resubmit this form and let us know about the positive test.

Further guidance on self-isolation, Test and Protect and the Protect Scotland app can be found in our University health, safety and travel information pages.

2. Voluntary Severance Scheme closing

The Voluntary Severance Scheme is due to close at 5pm on Wednesday 23 September, 2020. Anyone wishing to find out more about this scheme before it closes can find all the information on the dedicated VS SharePoint site.

3. Support for early career researchers

The range of support available to early career researchers (ECRs) and their line managers has been published. The resource was developed in recognition that the careers of ECRs have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

On a related note, the University has announced that it is looking to appoint new 30 Chancellor’s Fellows. These prestigious five-year tenure track fellowships will be drawn from the existing pool of talent within the University and are designed to support ECRs and innovators to develop their careers in a supportive, world-leading environment. You can find more information of how to apply here.

4. Video for staff returning to campus

As Scottish Government guidelines continue to shift, it’s natural that you and colleagues will have questions about what things will be like when you return to campus. This short film provides a snapshot of the measures that you will see in place when you return – whether that be in the coming weeks or further down the line.

Messages explaining the University’s expectations around student behaviour will continue to be communicated to new and returning students throughout Semester 1 and beyond.

Need to know – 8 September

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Guidance on the extended teaching day

New guidance FAQs are available on the extended teaching day. Teaching will now be scheduled between 9am and 8pm, Monday to Friday including Wednesday afternoons. These steps have been agreed in order to provide for more face-to-face, on-campus teaching.

2. Advice and information for students

Student communications teams across the University have been corresponding with new and returning students, undergraduate and postgraduate, from overseas and the UK, to help prepare them for Semester 1. Information around Scottish Government guidelines, safe travel and arrival, what changes to expect on campus and in accommodation, and what is expected of them as good citizens, has all been communicated. You can view the Good Citizen Guide for students here and the Digital Citizen Guide here. Teams have also shared the ‘How to’ sessions, and the course options hub, to help prepare for hybrid learning and first meetings with PTs. In addition, students joining us online only, have been asked to update their location details to assist teaching staff managing hybrid classes.

3. Town Hall answers available

There were a high number of questions submitted prior to, and during, the first virtual all-staff Town Hall on 18 August. Although Peter and other members of the Senior Leadership Team addressed many of these questions during the session, not all topics were covered. The questions submitted have been split into themes and you can find the answers here.

4. New social spaces for students

A two-floor Scandinavian-style lodge in Bristo Square is one of several new spaces being created for students to safely interact between their studies. The spacious venues have been carefully designed to provide students with extra hospitality space, as capacity in buildings has been greatly reduced. The lodge is one of a number of covered structures known as Student Villages which will be assembled across the Edinburgh campuses this month.

Need to know – 26 August

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Information on face coverings

In line with Scottish Government guidance, it is now mandatory that face coverings are worn in all of our libraries and study spaces. If and when this guidance becomes stronger, we will adjust accordingly but we are already expecting everyone to wear face coverings in all University buildings unless individuals have good reasons for not wearing one.

2. Regular cleaning for teaching spaces

When the majority of our students return to campus in September and teaching begins, cleaning regimes and facilities will be increased across campus. Teaching spaces will be cleaned twice a day. Bookable study spaces will also be cleaned daily, with provisions available for students and staff to clean areas before and after they use them.

3. New queue management for September

To help us preserve physical distancing, students will be asked to queue outside a number of our most-used buildings before classes. To help us manage this, and to ensure that students can enter as quickly as possible, we are asking staff to ensure that all teaching finishes promptly at the designated time, and students are encouraged to leave the building swiftly.

4. Update on the King’s Buildings Shuttle Bus 

In light of recent Scottish Government guidance around walking, cycling and driving wherever possible and minimising use of public transport, and following consultation with Lothian Buses and other external travel providers, it will no longer be feasible or practical to run the King’s Buildings Shuttle Bus in this academic year. The University will instead be reinvesting the funds from the Shuttle Bus to provide an extended range of alternative and financially affordable travel options. You can find out more information on our Transport webpages.

Need to know – 12 August

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Guidance to support Semester 1 planning

Detailed information and guidance has been added to the Adaptation and Renewal SharePoint page to help staff to plan for Semester 1. This includes key information around buildings and estates, health and safety, learning and teaching activities and student support services. This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

2. Update on Welcome Week 2020 

Welcome Week will be held on Monday 14 – Friday 18 September. This year there will be a longer ‘welcome period’ to ensure we provide a warm welcome at the point that new or returning students start their studies, whether on-campus or not, to provide additional support to receive the information and experiences when they can access them. Central Welcome Week induction activities are being adapted and will be delivered virtually and will be available throughout the entire welcome period. More information can be found on the induction activities pages of the new students (pre-arrival and induction) sharepoint site.

3. Working with local partners 

The University continues to work with partners across Edinburgh, including the Local Authority; NHS Lothian; Police Scotland; other Higher Education Institutions and Edinburgh Airport to coordinate an effective local response that prioritises health and safety, supports our students and follows Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland guidance.

Need to know – 28 July

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Guidance for face-to-face research

Detailed guidance for restarting face to face research both in the UK and overseas is now available. This applies to all face to face research, whether in Edinburgh, elsewhere in the UK or in another country. Your proposed activities must be able to comply with the relevant norms on physical distancing. You should refer to the Decision Making Flowchart and Risk Assessment documents.

2. Wearing face coverings

The University will continue to implement Government and Health Protection Scotland guidance to manage and reduce the risk of Covid-19. Physical distancing, good standards of hand and respiratory hygiene, and enhanced cleaning regimes remain the most effective measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

We will also support our staff, students and visitors, in terms of good public hygiene, by strongly encouraging people to wear their own face coverings within University buildings.

3. Digital resources for research available

Lockdown has emphasised the increasing importance of data and digital technologies in conducting research. The University’s Digital Research Services is a single point of access to University-wide data and computing services available to all researchers. There are about 40 resources designed for academics with all levels of experience and for all stages of their research journey. The interactive web service is available at

4. Updates to travel advice

Travel advice for staff and students has now been updated including information around travelling on University Business, the Go Abroad scheme, going abroad on holiday and UK-based fieldtrips and placements.

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