CoronavirusStaff update 5 Aug

Dear colleagues,

The news that Scotland is to move beyond COVID protection Level Zero is a huge milestone for the whole country. The confirmation given by the First Minister that August 9 will see the removal of many restrictions is the clearest sign yet that, thanks to the vaccination programme, the impact of COVID-19 is lessening significantly.

As the First Minister noted, this is clearly not the end of the pandemic and we have a collective responsibility to exercise care and caution to continue to suppress the virus. Protection measures will still be required, including the wearing of face coverings in all the same indoor settings as is currently the case, unless you are exempt. On physical distancing, even though the law will not require a specific distance, the Scottish Government continues to advise that, especially indoors, people should keep a reasonable distance from other people and avoid places that are crowded.

In keeping with this measured approach, my Executive Team have endorsed the recommendation of the e-First Group to continue with physical distancing across campus.

  • In circulation spaces the current arrangements for 2m social distancing will remain and no adjustments will be made to the signage at entrances and in corridors across campus for the time being; 
  • Activity Spaces such as teaching rooms, laboratories, offices, the library and catering outlets, will operate at 1m+; the plus being additional measures including wearing face coverings;
  • This approach reflects our commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of the Strathclyde community and is aligned with our Student Pledge.

I hope that these safety measures will help to reassure those who are anxious about returning to campus for study or work and will assist colleagues with planning their return where appropriate. 

Find out more about our approach to physical distancing on our website.

One of the key messages from the First Minister’s update is that working from home continues to be advised. Encouragement from the Scottish Government for employers to explore a hybrid model of home and office working fits well with Strathclyde’s commitment to Agile Working. Your line manager and wider departmental management will work with teams to plan a way forward in the coming weeks.   

Elsewhere, I am delighted that the University will host the world’s largest annual youth gathering on climate change on campus later this year. We have been selected as the official host for the UN Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY16), which will be held in partnership with Strath Union.

The event will take place in October 2021, ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow the following month. COY16 is designed to help prepare young people for their participation in COP26 and to ensure that the voice of youth is heard.

As we welcome COY16 to Strathclyde, it is clear that students and young people are inspiring ambassadors for sustainable development and this event gives them an exciting platform to showcase this. The actions and outcomes of COY16 are crucial to the negotiations at COP26 and the University is proud to play its part in this significant contribution to COP26 delivery.

Finally this week, three collaborations between Strathclyde and businesses partners have been shortlisted for UK-wide awards. The projects have been nominated in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) ‘Best of the Best’ Awards, which celebrate KTPs. These three-way collaborations between business, academic and research teams and qualified graduates, are designed to drive innovation for UK businesses and organisations.

Strathclyde’s nominations are:

  • Best Knowledge Transfer Partnership – Declan Bryans, KTP Associate with Strathclyde’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and manufacturing company Mersen UK Holytown;
  • Engineering Excellence Award – Fraser Stewart, KTP Associate with Strathclyde’s Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, and diver support company Fathom Systems (JFD);
  • Konstantinos Tsitsilonis, KTP Associate in Strathclyde’s Department of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering, and manufacturing company Datum Electronics.

Strathclyde has a rich and successful history of working with organisations of all sizes and sectors on innovative projects that deliver impact through KTPs and this is well-deserved recognition of our strength in this area. I wish all our short-listed colleagues every success.

Please enjoy your weekend when it comes and thank you again for your on-going efforts on behalf of Strathclyde. 

Best wishes,

Jim