I hope this message finds you and yours well.
With the First Minister this week announcing a continuation of the temporary lockdown, and with the potential for further extension at the next review point, it seems that we will be facing restrictions for at least a few more weeks yet. It is clear that the measures are having an impact on the infection rate which is very welcome news.
In addition, many of us will know family members or friends who have received their first dose of the vaccine. With the deceleration of the infection rate and the acceleration of the vaccination programme, real progress can be seen and this provides a positive focus for us all.
For progress to be made and to minimise the risk of spreading the virus we all need to follow the guidance and keep ourselves, our families and our community safe. That means that the ‘stay at home’ message remains clear, unless for essential purposes, as outlined in the legislation. As the UK travel arrangements changed at the weekend, we updated all of our students on what this may mean for them and their international travel plans.
With the closure of schools continuing until at least the middle of February, the University continues to support those who have caring responsibilities, with flexibility being to the fore in balancing work and home commitments.
Please also remember that if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, if you have received a positive test or if you need to self-isolate, please let us know using our COVID-19 online form.
As in previous weeks, I encourage you to focus on your health and wellbeing and I was delighted to see a fantastic example of this week’s Inside Strathclyde. Mandy Reeman-Clark, Business and Finance Manager, SCILT/CISS, shares her health and wellbeing journey, including how danceSing, a programme incorporating singing, dancing and fitness, has played a huge role in keeping her motivated and active throughout the pandemic. Her innovative approach to wellbeing was a real inspiration and it has made an active difference to her personal and professional life.
Away from the pandemic, the delivery of Vision 2025 continues and this week our latest Strathclyde Global Talent Programme recruitment campaign – a significant investment in our Strathclyde people – has been launched. This year we are asking all those involved in the campaign to attract as diverse a range of applicants as possible.
Faculties will be appointing up to a total of 20 new professors and 20 Chancellor’s Fellows to further strengthen our academic community. These posts will be across all of our Faculties, cover many discipline areas and will add to the 160 Chancellor’s Fellows and 58 Reader and Professorial GTAP appointments made over recent years.
Our people are the reason we have seen such success in the delivery of our strategy and we are committed to maintaining our supportive culture, our values-led ethos and investing for the future. I very much look forward to seeing who will join us through the latest round of this very successful scheme.
I am also delighted to tell you that yesterday, we became one of the first five universities in the UK to sign a pledge to support access to Higher Education for the Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showman and Boater (GTRSB) communities.
The Pledge recognises that people from GTRSB communities are under-represented in HE, and underlines our commitment to creating an open and welcoming environment for all. We are already introducing a range of measures to help us better understand – and break down – barriers to access and ensure GTRSB communities can be confident that their culture and learning needs are both understood, and indeed celebrated. You can read more about the measures we’re putting in place on our website.
Finally, this week I was pleased to see the announcement of Strathclyde’s involvement in the innovative and leading-edge trial of the UK’s first national distribution network to use drones to transport essential medicines, blood, organs and other medical supplies throughout Scotland.
Working with 13 organisations, including Glasgow Airport and leading air traffic control provider NATS, the University is playing a key role in the project which will demonstrate how autonomous drone technology can enhance access to essential medical supplies, particularly in rural parts of Scotland.
Strathclyde is a founding member of the UK Aviation Research Consortium and we are delighted to play a central role in this exciting project, applying our expertise from across multiple disciplines. We look forward to demonstrating the potential value of drone delivery of medical supplies for the public, NHS, the economy, social equality and for the aviation manufacturing industry in Scotland.
Yet again, this is an example of Strathclyde’s approach to research and innovation having a very real and practical application to those in our community; this is ‘useful learning’ in action.
Please make the most of your Rest Day this week and have an enjoyable weekend.