CoronavirusStaff update: 2 April

Dear Strathclyde colleagues,

As we near the end of our second week of this new way of working, I hope you are adjusting and settling into more of a routine, whether you are keeping vital services operating on campus or are working from home.

I’m delighted to launch a new online support resource today that is designed to help you adjust to these new ways of working and support you in maintaining a healthy balance in the current situation.

Colleagues from across the University have worked together to collect a wealth of valuable material and expertise. As an organisation, we are home to thousands of talented, resourceful and innovative people and it has been inspiring to see their expertise come together so quickly.

This week we are introducing:

  • successful remote & agile working
  • ways to stay physically well
  • support around positive mental health & wellbeing
  • how to stay connected & safe online
  • guidance for managers on remote & agile working
  • free access to online learning

All this information can be found on our new online Wellbeing and Working from Home Hub.

The hub is an online area of support which will continue to grow in the days and weeks ahead as we regularly update it, while Inside Strathclyde will be used to highlight new sections and information as they are developed. I hope you can start to benefit from the content right away - I plan to follow a lot of the guidance myself.

I look forward to hearing your views on the content of our new online hub, and it would be fantastic to know more about your ideas for new content.

I would also like to take the time to thank those of you who got in touch with me in response to my communications over recent weeks. I have read every one of them and I am now working with Executive Team members to get a response to you. The vast majority of the comments were positive and encouraging, and I was delighted to read the examples of how people are adjusting to new ways of working, with many commenting that we have provided good support for this transition.

We will also use your questions and comments to update the information on our staff and student Covid-19 information pages.

It is incredibly heartening to see that so many colleagues from across the University are directly involved in the UK-wide response to the current emergency. Much of this work is in partnership with the NHS, the Scottish Government and the UK Government.

For example, a team of 15 AFRC colleagues volunteered to work as part of our National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) team. They are providing seven days a week cover working closely with the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland and manufacturers across the UK High Value Manufacturing Catapult network. Our talented colleagues are providing technical advice on manufacturing considerations for key equipment and supplies to assist the frontline healthcare efforts – including ventilators, oxygen systems, sanitisers and personal protective equipment.

Professor Chris Robertson, from Maths and Stats, is a key member of the Scottish Government COVID-19 Advisory Group, which is considering the scientific and technical concepts that are key to understanding the evolving COVID-19 situation and potential impacts in Scotland.  In related activity, colleagues from the Faculty of Science are working with Health Protection Scotland to provide expertise in modelling of the spread of the pandemic.

The Strathclyde-hosted Digital Health and Care Institute has also agreed five key projects with the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland, while many departments have been donating PPE equipment and other essential items. There is more detail on this inspirational effort within this week’s Inside Strathclyde.

I am also privileged, in my role as President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, to help lead the UK Engineering response to the crisis. Royal Academy Fellows are being mobilised to respond to key themes identified by the National Health Service and the Office of the Chief Scientist, Sir Patrick Vallance. 

The University will be communicating more broadly on our contribution to the COVID-19 response over the coming weeks and once again, I would encourage you to think about how your area may be able to make a contribution in what is a huge effort.

Many of you have also expressed an interest in playing a part in your local community, and I know that many of you are already helping in a range of ways. Next week, I will share our updated guidelines on volunteering which will help inform many of your positive plans and suggestions.

Once again, I hope many of you can take tomorrow as your day of rest and can spend time focussing on yourself, your family and your loved ones to help with the pressures of the current situation.

Best wishes,