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Need to know – 13 April

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Here are the top updates from across the University.

1. His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The University will hold a celebration of his life at a date to be announced. To read the University’s statement and sign the virtual book of condolences, visit the University website.

2. New guidance for staff working abroad

New information and guidance is available for staff and line managers about working outside of the UK. This includes information on taxation, social security and immigration regulations. You can read more on the HR webpages.

3. Staff Town Hall reminder

The Principal will be holding an all staff Q&A session on Thursday 22 April with the senior leadership team. The session will run from 9:30 to 11am and all staff are invited to attend. You can find out more, including how to submit your own questions, and sign up to the event on the staff news website.

Need to know – 30 March

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from across the University. 

1. Upcoming Staff Town Hall

All staff are invited to attend an online information and Q&A session with the Principal and Senior Leadership Team on 22 April 2021 from 9.30 to 11am. Updates will be provided on the remainder of this academic year and the key areas of focus for 2021/22, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions. You can find out more and sign up on the staff news website.

2.University confirms its commitment to researchers 

A two-year action plan has been developed to embed the principles of the Researcher Development Concordat, improve Edinburgh’s research environment and culture and support researcher careers.

The plan includes ways to develop support; resources and information for researchers and managers of researchers; and actions on improving recognition for research staff at the University. You can read the Concordat Action Plan on the University website.

3. More study space opening

More study spaces will be opening over the next few weeks in response to the easing of restrictions and in anticipation of strong student demand during the forthcoming revision and exam period. Beginning with Murchison House on 6 April, more than 500 additional spaces will be available by 26 April. More details are available on the University website.

Planning for the next academic year

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The Adaptation and Renewal Team (ART) was formed early in 2020 to shape the University’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. As thoughts turn to September and the 2021/22 academic year ahead Barry Neilson, Director of Strategic Change, explains how the University’s approach will develop.

In December 2020 the University Executive approved a recommendation to stand down the Adaptation and Renewal Team. This is not because we think the response to the pandemic is over but to revert key decision making to existing established mechanisms.

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Need to know – 16 March

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from across the University. 

1. The national day of reflection – 23 March 2021

Next week on 23 March, one year on from the start of the first lockdown, there will be a national minute’s silence at midday to remember all those who have lost their lives since the beginning of the pandemic. At 8pm there will also be a national doorstep vigil where people are encouraged to light up their doorsteps, and public buildings and monuments will also be lit up.

We would encourage you all to join in this moment of reflection, and please feel able to take the minute to reflect, and if possible, delay meetings and teaching by a minute.

2. Staff volunteers for paired activities project

During last year’s winter break, more than 400 members of staff volunteered their time to take part in paired activities with students, with the aim of helping students in Edinburgh to feel supported and part of a community.

Following the success of this project, the University has decided to expand the project for the rest of the academic year.

To support this, the Student Wellbeing team is looking for staff who are willing to volunteer their time to take part in paired activities over the coming months. Volunteers will be asked to commit one or two hours a week to meet with a student in Edinburgh for an activity such as a walk, run or cycle.

We know that staff will have their own challenges and commitments this year, but those who can spare some time can sign up using the online availability form.

3. Staff Covid-19 FAQs updated

Colleagues in HR have reviewed our Staff Covid-19 webpages and updated them with the latest information and guidance, including the extension to the furlough scheme, taking time off work for vaccination appointments and encouragement to take annual leave. Find the latest information on the Coronavirus webpages.

Need to know – 2 March

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from across the University. 

1. Standing up against racism

All members of our community should feel safe in expressing opinions and holding open and frank conversation on online forums, including on social media. Over recent weeks we have been made aware of a number of incidents where inappropriate language has been aimed at members of our BAME community and sadly this has included abuse aimed at our new Rector, Debora Kayembe. We condemn all racism and stand united against racism and the University regards any incident of this nature as a serious matter.

For more information on what we’re doing to promote anti-racism and a positive culture which celebrates difference, challenges prejudice and ensures fairness and includes details on how to report any concerns you have regarding racism within the University, visit our Race Equality webpages.

2. Zoom security guidance

Although we are very familiar with using Zoom and Microsoft Teams, you may have seen recent reports about a University Society Zoom meeting being disrupted by unwanted attendees. The University has an enterprise version available for all staff and students and using this rather than a personal version is a good way to help keep everyone safe if you are setting up a call.  

There are more details on how to use Zoom or Teams on the University website, where you will also find general guidance on keeping safe online including social media protection and staying safe while learning and teaching online.

3. Planning for the academic year 2021/22

Following the UK Government’s Covid-19 response and the Scottish Government’s announcement last week on the roadmap for easing Covid-19 restrictions, we have reviewed the potential impacts on existing decisions and planning assumptions.  

The recent announcements have added more complexity to our planning assumptions for the next academic year, and particularly any assumptions around the requirements for physical distancing. The Academic Strategy Group has discussed this further and a newly established planning and implementation group, with College and School representation, is reviewing the position.

4. Brexit Information Sessions resources

Resources from the Brexit Information Sessions that were held earlier this month are now available. They include the slides that were presented, FAQs and a series of case studies that show various new immigration scenarios. You can view the resources on the Global section of the website.

Divestment from fossil fuels complete

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As part of the University’s journey to become carbon neutral by 2040, last week saw the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Mathieson, announce that our divestment from fossil fuels is now complete.

In the video below the Principal shares more about what this means and how the University is working towards the aims of our Climate Strategy.

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EI lights a Beacon for data-driven entrepreneurship

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Edinburgh Innovations (EI), the University’s commercialisation service, is helping drive data-driven entrepreneurship as part of the fight back against Covid-19 with a funded programme of business-boosting activities.

The Data-Driven Entrepreneurship Beacon Programme, running to July 2021, is designed to drive and support entrepreneurship among staff and students, working with a range of partner businesses.

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Further updates to HR policies

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Over the last year or so, the University has refreshed some of its HR policies to make sure they’re clear and up to date.

The disciplinary, grievance and capability policies are the latest to be refreshed, as well as our employment-related appeals procedure.

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Need to know – 16 February

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from across the University. 

1. Easter respite days

The University is offering two respite days in early April to ensure as many staff as possible have the opportunity of taking a long weekend over Easter.

These two days are to be taken on Friday 2 and Monday 5 April 2021. We are aware that 2 April is a teaching day and that there will be some staff required to work on these days to keep the essential work of the University running. Those staff will be able to take equivalent time off before the end of April 2021, as agreed with their line manager. In order to keep things simple, these days are not required to be recorded in People and Money. You can find more information on the coronavirus FAQs webpage.

2. Latest communications to Students

Communications will be sent to students this week concerning Semester 2 updates, rent pauses and lease breaks for those in University accommodation, and a live Q&A session with the Principal and senior leaders on 24 February. For anyone wishing to read these communications, they will be posted on the student coronavirus news webpages.

3. 2021 Graduations

Affected students have been informed that the University has taken the difficult decision to cancel all in-person graduation ceremonies in 2021. Students will be invited to an in-person celebration when we are able to resume these in line with Scottish Government Covid-19 guidance. Visit the 2021 graduation webpage for more information.

Need to know – 2 February

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from across the University. 

1. Updated fraud and bribery policies

The University has updated a number of important policies and procedures relating to anti-bribery, fraud and whistleblowing and to counter a global rise in fraudulent activity such as cybercrime. All the information you need, including FAQs, a summary of the key changes, how to ask a question and how to accurately report fraudulent activity can be found on the Staff News webpages.

2. Assessment: Covid-19 mitigation measures

Senate Academic Policy and Regulations Committee (APRC) has agreed measures to respond to the pandemic’s ongoing impact on students’ ability to study normally. These will ensure that students receive consistent outcomes at all levels of study, while retaining the integrity of the University’s awards.

UG and PGT students have been emailed the new measures and detailed information is available online on the University website.

3. New toolkit for community building

A new toolkit has been designed to support staff, helping you understand, create and facilitate communities in your online courses and programmes. It includes a range of resources as well as examples of good practice and case studies. Visit the toolkit on the Staff webpages.

Resources for Interdisciplinary Researchers

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Whether you are just beginning to branch out into interdisciplinary research or you’re comfortable exploring other disciplines, this kind of research is becoming more widely practised throughout the University. No matter what stage of your interdisciplinary project you’re at, Edinburgh Research Office is there to help. Here Jonathan Rans, Strategic Research Executive, shares the new online resources that are now available to support interdisciplinary research across the University. 

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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.

Brexit and EU Research Funding – January 2021 update

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Now that the EU and the UK have reached an agreement on their future relationship, Áine Ryan, International Research Funding Manager in Edinburgh Research Office, writes about what this means for UK-based researchers’ access to EU funding.

We finally have some clarity about the UK participation in future EU research funding programmes, primarily Horizon Europe. As part of the agreement reached between the UK and the EU, the UK has announced that it will associate to Horizon Europe. Association will give UK-based researchers and businesses access to funding under the programme on equivalent terms as organisations in EU countries.Europe and surrounding areas seen from space.

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