CoronavirusStaff update 29 April

Dear colleagues,

This week, the lifting of some of Scotland’s more stringent Covid restrictions has brought a welcome sense of optimism for the summer months ahead. As of Monday 26 April, all parts of the country have moved down to Level 3, enabling travel within the UK to resume. With hospitality, gyms and non-essential shops now open, many of you will be looking forward to a well-deserved bank holiday weekend with family and friends.

The First Minister has indicated that, providing positive Covid cases remain low, a move to Level 2 is in sight and could be in place as soon as Monday 17 May. However, it is critical that we all continue to follow the guidance to enable this to happen. You can read about what the Levels mean for day-to-day activities on the Scottish Government website.

For universities, the position in Level 3 remains that staff should work from home wherever possible. Where this is not possible, there is now scope for some non-essential research to take place in laboratories and research facilities providing that social distancing and risk assessment requirements are in place. The health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff remain our first priority, and we are carefully managing the numbers of students and staff on campus. For this reason, the resumption of non-essential research activity will be coordinated through the Executive Deans.

When I wrote to you earlier this month, I reported on the results and recommendations of our first Staff Wellbeing Survey. I am pleased to tell you that Strathclyde has been named as a finalist in the Best Covid Response category of the Working Families Best Practice Awards. The shortlisting reflects the immense efforts of colleagues across the University in creating a positive and supportive environment, as well as innovative developments including our Rest & Recuperation Days during lockdown periods, and Meeting-Free Fridays. To have made the shortlist is a positive external endorsement of our focus on our people and our socially progressive ethos. The winners will be announced on 27 May.

We saw further success this week at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards. Professor Malcolm Macdonald was named Knowledge Exchange Champion. At the same event, the University and the Strathclyde-hosted Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI) were among the winning partners of the Multiparty Collaboration Award for the development of a pill for early diagnosis of bowel cancer symptoms. Many congratulations to all for these terrific achievements.

Next week marks the beginning of Engage with Strathclyde, our flagship programme of events taking place throughout May. This year, there are more than 60 events, including the ever-popular Images of Research exhibition. Delegates from industry, the public and third sectors, will have the opportunity to find out about our world-class research and how they can collaborate with us. Many thanks to everyone involved. Please have a look at the website and support colleagues’ events.

Finally, many congratulations to our partners Netball Scotland and The Strathclyde Sirens, who are having a great season in the Vitality Super League this year, currently sitting seventh overall. The Sirens beat Severn Stars 45-37 on Saturday, with Strathclyde Sport and Physical Activity student and Performance Sport Scholar Emma Barrie named Player of the match. She and her team mates are great role models and have a very positive impact on women’s sport in Scotland. I know you will join me in congratulating them.

Please have a great long weekend when it comes.

Best wishes,